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C 310/134 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

(98/C 310/180) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0805/98


by Florus Wijsenbeek (ELDR) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Discriminatory taxation affecting international road hauliers in the countries of Central and Eastern
Europe

Is the Commission aware that, in ten countries in Central and Eastern Europe, countries which are also applicants
for accession to the EU, international road hauliers are faced with a multitude of unjustified and discriminatory
forms of taxation which vary from country to country and range from tax on fuel, road tolls and eco-taxes as far
as ‘taxes on sanitary services and for sending goods’, ‘maintenance taxes for border crossings’ and ‘taxes for the
control of radioactive matter’ (see Agence Europe, 29.1.1998, p. 15).

Is the Commission aware that the Czech Republic and Macedonia apply different rates depending on the
vehicle’s country of origin, thereby discriminating against foreign hauliers?

Does the Commission intend to urge the governments of these Central and Eastern European countries to
abandon these transit taxes and local taxes and every form of discrimination in the application of their rules on
taxation, to bring their taxation system more into line with the EU’s system and to set a realistic level of taxation?

Will the Commission address this problem during the accession negotiations? If so, how will it proceed? If not,
why not?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(27 April 1998)

The Commission is fully aware that Community international transport companies are faced with a number of
discriminatory fiscal measures, varying from country to country, in the Central and Eastern European region.
A recent PHARE project analysing the conditions for the progressive integration of inland transport markets
identified the principal barriers to market access in all inland transport sectors.

The Commission is therefore conscious of the fact that road tax is much lower for national operators in the
CEECs than in the Community and that, except when bilateral agreements are in force, the charging of users is
discriminatory between national and foreign operators.

The 10 accession countries of Central and Eastern Europe are bound by their respective Europe agreements to
adapt their transport legislation progressively to that of Community legislation in order to facilitate mutual access
to markets and to facilitate the movement of passengers and goods. This process is underway and is monitored by
the bilateral sub-committees set up to oversee the implementation of the Europe agreements. It is within this
forum that the Commission is discussing and insisting upon the necessary changes in the CEEC legislation which
will be required before the applicant countries can become members of the Community.

Finally, the Commission is about to launch a specific project on road transport charges in order to provide
decision makers in the 13 PHARE countries with guidelines on how to align their present systems of road
transport charges for motorised vehicles to those in the Community. This study will also cover the former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia which has not signed a Europe agreement with the Community and which has
not presented an application for membership to the Community.

(98/C 310/181) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0806/98


by Frederik Willockx (PSE) and Anne Van Lancker (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: Unlawful practices in connection with applications for subsidies

We have recently been receiving an increasing number of enquiries from all kinds of institutions and
organizations in connection with practices employed by European Business Services.
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/135

That undertaking, which has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, presents itself as a
consultant in matters connected with national and European subsidies. It charges BEF 20 000 (excluding VAT)
for its services, which is refunded to the client if no subsidy is granted within six months. If a subsidy is actually
granted, the client must pay 10% thereof to EBS.

Claiming a proportion of subsidies granted is in total breach of all Community rules.We have been informed that
UCLAF has been notified about these practices. Can the Commission say how the inquiry into this matter is
progressing and what measures it is planning to take?

Answer given by Mrs Gradin on behalf of the Commission


(28 April 1998)

The unit on Coordination of fraud prevention (UCLAF)is currently conducting enquiries in Belgium with regard
to subsidies granted by the Community. It is too early at this stage to draw any conclusions, in particular
concerning the practices described by the Honourable Member. The Parliament, and more precisely its budgetary
control committee, will be kept informed, according to the procedures recently proposed to that committee.

(98/C 310/182) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0813/98


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

Subject: North-West of England Programme Monitoring Committee

Is the Commission aware of the decision by the North-West of England Programme Monitoring Committee on
15 December to allocate £8.1 million to the scheme for an Imperial War Museum in the North, which by the date
in question had already been turned down for Heritage Lottery Funding, and to place in reserve the Manchester
Museums Project requesting £7.6 million to secure an already existing grant of £36 million from the same
Heritage Lottery Fund?

Worthy as the Imperial War Museum in the North scheme is, it now has unfortunately almost no chance of
funding, and is jeopardizing a scheme with a total value of £51 million involving 135 new jobs and 328 indirectly
because of the uncertainties involved.

Will the Commission ask the relevant programme committee to justify their decision?

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission


(14 April 1998)

At its meeting on 15 December 1997 the Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire objective 2 programme
monitoring committee considered four applications for European regional development fund (ERDF) assistance
under measure 19 of the single programming document (SPD) ‘strategic tourism investment’. These applications
sought funding totalling about 36 MECU compared with the 19 MECU available from the ERDF for that
measure.

The projects were assessed on the basis of selection criteria agreed by the monitoring committee at the outset of
the programme. These take into account a number of factors, including value for money in terms of attracting
new visitors to the region and creating jobs. The monitoring committee agreed to support two projects: Xanadu
and the Imperial war museum. It justified its decision on the basis that these projects were best able to meet the
goals set out in the SPD. The two projects were given six months to demonstrate their deliverability within the
lifetime of the programme. After this time the monitoring committee will either confirm their approval of the
projects or consider the other two projects − Union Street cultural quarter and then the Manchester museums
project − which have been placed on a reserve list.