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C 31/112

Official Journal of the European Communities



However, Directive 86/613/EEC of 11 December 1986 on the application of the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity, including agriculture, in a self-employed capacity, and on the protection of self-employed women during pregnancy and motherhood ( 2 ) places a requirement on the Member States to observe the principle of equal treatment for self-employed persons as regards access to an economic activity.

3 and 4. The Commission invites the Honourable Member to provide more detailed information on the situation in question so that it can assess whether the practices criticised are compatible with Community law.

The Commission would also like to draw the Honourable Member’s attention to the fact that Article 169 of the EC Treaty does not give the Commission the right to institute infringement proceedings against the Member States in cases where Community law has been violated by private bodies. On the basis of the information currently available to the Commission, it appears that the Spanish authorities cannot be accused of any infringement. Persons who consider themselves victims of a violation of the principle of equal treatment should themselves bring an action before the national courts. If there are any doubts as to how provisions of Community law should be interpreted, the national courts may apply to the Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling, as provided for in Article 177 of the EC Treaty.

( 1 ) Case 126/86 Giménez Zaera [1987] ECR 3697 (Article 2); Case 78/90 Sociétés Compagnie Commerciale de l’Ouest, ECR I-1847 (Article 3). ( 2 ) OJ L 359, 19.12.1986.

(1999/C 31/152)


by José Apolinário (PSE) to the Commission

(30 June 1998)

Subject: Support for the creation of an energy agency in the Algarve region

In the context of the project for creating an energy agency in the Algarve region, and given the existence in the past of operational obstacles to the realization of this project, can the Commission explain what possibilities exist for supporting this initiative in the Algarve?

Answer given by Mr Papoutsis on behalf of the Commission

(3 September 1998)

In the context of the action to set up regional and urban energy agencies under the SAVE II programme, the Commission received a proposal to set up an agency in the Algarve. The proposal was put forward jointly with the Spanish Province of Huelva. All the proposals sent in were evaluated in accordance with the SAVE II Committee’s procedures, ensuring maximum transparency and discipline. Unfortunately, this particular project did not make it onto the list of energy agencies to receive funding in 1998.

(1999/C 31/153)


by Edith Müller (V) to the Commission

(30 June 1998)

Subject: Democracy and Civil Society Awards

On 18 May 1998 the EU and the US announced a series of Democracy and Civil Society Awards. Fifty winners, including associations and individuals from 26 countries, received $20 000 each.

Who nominated candidates for these awards, and who selected the winners? How much of the total prize money of $1 000 000 came from the EU budget, and from which budget heading? Was this a one-off initiative, or will it become a regular event?

Why were there no prizewinners from Kosovo?



Official Journal of the European Communities

C 31/113

Answer given by Sir Leon Brittan on behalf of the Commission

(20 July 1998)

The democracy and civil society awards are a highly successful and visible example of transatlantic co-operation in support of democracy and civil society around the world.

Nominations were made jointly by the United States and Member State embassies and Commission delegations in the eligible countries. Following examination by officials of the Commission, the Member States and the American administration, the recommendations were considered and endorsed by the senior level group meeting in the framework of the new transatlantic agenda. The Community and United States summit on 18 May 1998 gave the formal endorsement of the selection.

Half the prize money was from the Community budget (ECU 209,510 from budget line B7-701, and ECU 245,946 from budget line B7-700).

There are no plans for the event to be repeated, since it was conceived as a way of celebrating events which themselves are not annual, namely 50 years of the Marshall Plan and 40 years of the EC Treaty.

There was a prize winner from Kosovo and indeed there were three award winners from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with one of them, Mr. Gazmend Pula, an outspoken advocate of human rights in Kosovo. Mr. Pula has played a valuable role in attempting to widen the debate and open up the possibilities for dialogue between Serbs and ethnic Albanians, at a real risk to himself. On 18 May 1998 Mr. Pula and five other prizewinners participated in the summit, where they received their awards from the Presidents of the United States and the European Commission, and from the British Prime Minister.

(1999/C 31/154)


by Gunilla Carlsson (PPE) to the Commission

(30 June 1998)

Subject: Commercial imports of used cars

In Sweden it is practically impossible to import used cars on a commercial basis for sale to the consumer.

This is surely a breach of the principles of free movement.

Is the Commission aware of this situation? What steps does it intend to take to remove the obstacles and facilitate such imports?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(3 August 1998)

Complaints have been lodged with the Commission concerning obstacles to the registration in Sweden of used cars which have been previously type-approved and registered in other Member States. These obstacles were a result of requirements under Swedish rules for exhaust emission certificates in order for cars which had been previously registered and type-approved in other Member States to be registered in Sweden. Discussions have taken place between the Commission and the Swedish authorities concerning the compatibility of these Swedish rules with the rules on the free movement of goods in Articles 30 to 36 EC Treaty and the case-law of the Court of justice as explained in the Commission’s interpretative communication on procedures for the type-approval and registration of vehicles previously registered in another Member State ( 1 ). The Commission has been informed that the Swedish rules have been modified in order to allow for the registration in Sweden of some of the vehicles in question without requiring any additional Swedish emission certificates. For certain year models of cars produced before 1993, discussions continue between the Commission and the Swedish authorities so that certain modifications of the relevant Swedish rules can be introduced.

Furthermore, complaints have been lodged with the Commission concerning other requirements in Sweden with regard to the road safety of vehicles and limitations to the number of cars which may be registered per person and year. In the Commission’s view, such limitations would have effects on the possibilities to import used cars on a commercial basis for sale to consumers in Sweden. These complaints have been discussed with the Swedish authorities and are currently being examined by the Commission to assess the compatibility of the Swedish rules with Articles 30 to 36 of the EC Treaty.