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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/129

(98/C 310/173) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0784/98

by Roberta Angelilli (NI) to the Commission
(18 March 1998)

Subject: Italian trading rules

The recent legislative decree regulating trade approved by the Council of Ministers of the Italian Republic of
16 January 1998 (implementing the authorization in Article 4 of Law 59/97) provides for the total abolition of the
licence for small trading concerns of up to 300 m2 (Article 4), abolition of the registration requirement for traders
setting up in business (Article 5) and consolidation of the present 14 marketing tables in just two sectors:
foodstuffs and non-foodstuffs (Article 5(1)).

These rules will lead to anarchy on the market and serious imbalances and will be detrimental to small concerns
that represent about 900 000 small businesses; they will also lead to the loss of some 60 000 jobs. With this
decree, the actual value of the trading licence (which in many cases is high) would be reduced to zero, causing
economic damage to those who acquired it previously and possibly violating Article 85 of the EC Treaty. In fact
new concerns would have an advantage in that they could compete unfairly precisely because they would not
have to meet any costs − as in the past − to set up in business. Lastly, the liberalization granted for areas under
300 m2 will merely lead to an excessive proliferation of mini-markets, stores and discount warehouses in a
country such as Italy in which the average size of trading concerns is around 100 to 120 m2.

1. Do these measures not conflict with Directives 64/223/EEC (1) and 68/363/EEC (2) on wholesale and retail

2. Do they not conflict with the Green Paper on trade (Bulletin of the EU, Supplement 2/97) which calls for
grater liberalization of the sector but stresses the need to protect jobs at the same time?

3. Might they not endanger free competition?

4. What is the Commission’s general reaction?

(1) OJ 56, 4.4.1964, p. 863.

(2) OJ L 260, 22.10.1968, p. 1.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(28 May 1998)

The Commission is conducting a detailed investigation of the problem raised by the Honourable Member and
will inform her of the outcome as soon as possible.

(98/C 310/174) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0787/98

by Doeke Eisma (ELDR) to the Commission
(5 March 1998)

Subject: Threat to the badger (Meles meles) in the United Kingdom

Is the Commission familiar with the Kerb’s report which states that there is as yet no scientific proof that
tuberculosis (bovine TB) is transmitted by badgers to cattle, and with the report’s recommendation that this result
should be tested by exterminating all badgers over a period of five years in ten areas each of 100 km2 and
exterminating badgers in an area of equivalent size where bovine TB has occurred, which is estimated will cost
the lives of 10 000 to 15 000 badgers?

Does the Commission agree that this experiment is highly undesirable?

Is the Commission of the opinion that this experiment runs counter to current policy practice in the UK which is
based on European nature conservation policy and that it therefore violates European nature policy?
C 310/130 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10. 98

Does the Commission feel that it is unacceptable for a native protected species of animal living in the wild to be
exterminated because of its part in the spread of diseases among domestic animals and that such a large-scale
extermination programme contravenes the Berne Convention and European policy on nature?

Is the Commission prepared, therefore, to take action to prevent this experiment, not least because there is no
indication in any country other than the United Kingdom or Ireland of the possibility of bovine TB being
transmitted to cattle by badgers?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(30 March 1998)

The Commission is aware of the Kreb report, which deals with the role of the badger in the epidemiology of
bovine tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis (TB) was once a common disease in humans, often contracted through drinking milk of affected
cows. Intensive testing and culling of reactor cattle under national and Community eradication programmes has
succeeded in making bovine TB almost a thing of the past in most Member States. However, since the early
1970’s, the badger has become involved in a cycle of infection in cattle in some areas of South West England and
Wales. Several eradication measures have been used, including systematic killing of badgers on affected farms
and in the surrounding countryside. The success has varied from area to area. The Kreb report was commissioned
by the United Kingdom in order to take a new look at the epidemiology of TB in this context.
The recommendations of the report are designed to give answers to questions which will help resolve this issue.

The destruction of any animal could not be regarded by anyone as desirable, but there are serious public health
concerns at stake. A successful outcome will also be beneficial rather than detrimental to nature protection, by
eradicating disease from the badger population. Badgers, too, should benefit in the long term.

The badger (meles meles) is included in Annex III of the Bern Convention, which means that it is, in principle,
protected. However, under the provisions of Article 8, derogations are allowed, amongst other reasons, in the
interests of public health and safety. It is also relevant to mention Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of
natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (1) (the Habitats Directive). The badger is not, in fact, currently given
any protected status under this Directive.

Localised action such as proposed is unlikely to have a serious impact on the national population of badgers,
which has been increasing steadily in the United Kingdom, despite the effects of the control measures and
disease, over the last 10 years.

The Commission therefore does not view the proposed action as contrary to Community nature protection
legislation, and would not, in such circumstances, intervene with the United Kingdom on this issue.

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(98/C 310/175) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0788/98

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission
(5 March 1998)

Subject: Sale of World Cup tickets

Given the Commission reply to my earlier question (E-0029/98 (1)) on the subject of the sale of tickets is the
Commission aware that the World Cup is in fact due to take place this June? Does the Commission recall its
statement following Italia 90 and a reply to another question tabled on all-inclusive travel packages
(P-3480/95 (2))? Can the Commission explain why it is so slow in taking action against the French distribution of
tickets given that problems were first raised in June 1997 and will the Commission immediately inform FIFA
who have taken over aspects of ticket allocation that they like the French authorities are not in fact above EU

(1) OJ C 223, 17.7.1998, p. 89.

(2) OJ C 137, 8.5.1996, p. 14.

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