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C 142/136 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.5.

1999

budgetary headings and disbursed since 1995 for pilot projects and other measures or as direct
payments to research institutes, universities, undertakings and other bodies in the State of Tirol;

2. the number of jobs created or saved with the help of these funds?

(1999/C 142/177) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3466/98


by Daniela Raschhofer (NI) to the Commission

(24 November 1998)

Subject: Allocation of EU funds to Vorarlberg (Austria)

With regard to the allocation of EU funds to the State of Vorarlberg, can the Commission provide
information as to:

1. the total amount of EU structural fund appropriations provided, with a breakdown by fund and by
individual Community programme and/or initiative, and the amount of EU funds charged to other
budgetary headings and disbursed since 1995 for pilot projects and other measures or as direct
payments to research institutes, universities, undertakings and other bodies in the State of Vorarlberg;

2. the number of jobs created or saved with the help of these funds?

(1999/C 142/178) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3467/98


by Daniela Raschhofer (NI) to the Commission

(24 November 1998)

Subject: Allocation of EU funds to Vienna (Austria)

With regard to the allocation of EU funds to the State of Vienna, can the Commission provide information
as to:

1. the total amount of EU structural fund appropriations provided, with a breakdown by fund and by
individual Community programme and/or initiative, and the amount of EU funds charged to other
budgetary headings and disbursed since 1995 for pilot projects and other measures or as direct
payments to research institutes, universities, undertakings and other bodies in the State of Vienna;

2. the number of jobs created or saved with the help of these funds?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-3459/98, E-3460/98, E-3461/98, E-3462/98,
E-3463/98, E-3464/98, E-3465/98, E-3466/98 and E-3467/98
given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission

(19 January 1999)

The Commission is collecting the information it needs to answer the question. It will communicate its
findings as soon as possible.

(1999/C 142/179) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3478/98


by Daniela Raschhofer (NI) to the Commission

(12 November 1998)

Subject: Investigation into the state aid for the Lenzing Lyocell plant in the Austrian province of
Burgenland

In mid-October, the Commission announced that it would be carrying out an investigation into the aid
granted by Austria to the Lenzing Lyocell plant in the province of Burgenland.
21.5.1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 142/137

I should like to ask the Commission the following questions concerning the investigation procedure and
the background to its actions:

1. What information or tips resulted in the aid granted being investigated at this particular moment in
time? Where did the information come from that Lenzing GmbH & Co KG Austria had bought the
land on which to build its plant at a price other than the normal market price?

2. Was the aid agreement between the Federal Province of Burgenland, representing WIBAG, and
Lenzing GmbH & Co KG Austria authorised?

3. What substantive objections exist which make an investigation necessary? What amounts were
granted as state aid for the Lenzing plant in Burgenland, and for what purpose?

4. Which parts of the agreement, or which particular types of aid (such as direct payments, guarantees
provided, provision and assignment of infrastructure, etc.), are being investigated to ensure
conformity with EU legislation?

5. What method of calculation and what legal basis underpin the maximum authorised national ceiling
of 40 %? When will the investigation be completed, and when may we expect to know the
Commission’s final decision?

6. What would be the consequences for the Lenzing GmbH & Co KG Austria if it were to be proved that
the aid granted was not in conformity with EU competition legislation?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission

(25 November 1998)

1. Austria forwarded to the Commission application forms for European regional development fund
(ERDF) co-financing on two large-scale investment projects at the Heiligenkreuz business park in
Burgenland. In these documents, Austria referred to the investment of Lenzing Lyocell GmbH & Co KG
(LLG) at the business park, which raised questions related to the application of state aid rules. In the light
of this information and the additional information submitted upon request, the Commission decided on
14 October 1998 to initiate formal investigations. The Commission will inform interested parties by
publishing this decision in the Official journal.

The Commission has so far not drawn a final conclusion whether LLG paid a market price for the land at
the Heiligenkreuz business park. At present, and on the basis of the information available, the Commission
only doubts whether the price of land could be considered as a market price.

2. The Commission has not approved a specific aid contract between Land Burgenland and LLG. The
Commission therefore asked Austria to prove that Land Burgenland provided state aid to LLG under
approved or existing aid schemes.

3. The reasons for the investigation are the following. The Commission has doubts whether Austria
provided all the committed and proposed aid in accordance with approved or existing schemes. Moreover
the Commission cannot exclude that the investment aid may exceed the regional aid ceiling of 40 % net.
Furthermore the Commission cannot exclude that possible guarantees, the price of land at the
Heiligenkreuz business park, possible free of charge company-specific infrastructure development, and
prices for basic process utilities contain state aid elements, and if so, whether these state aids would be
covered by approved or existing schemes.

The Commission understands that, as to the first investment phase, Austria committed to investment aid
measures of ATS ECU 801 million (ECU 57,8 million), environmental aid of ATS ECU 76,3 million
(ECU 5,5 million), and training aid of ATS ECU 10,4 million (ECU 0,8 million). To the second investment
phase, Austria proposed state aid of similar extent. Furthermore, Austria proposed aid if LLG would
transfer a pilot plant and the research and development (R&D) department from another site to the site in
Land Burgenland.
C 142/138 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.5.1999

4. The measures which the Commission is investigating are a grant on purchased land, a grant under the
regional business promotion act of Land Burgenland, the commitment of Land Burgenland for further
investment aid, grants under article 51 a of the labour market promotion act, grants under article 12 (5) of
the environmental state aid act, a dormant partnership capital provided by WiBAG, training aid of Land
Burgenland and AMS investment aids proposed by Land Burgenland for an expansion of capacity and for
a transfer of facilities from another site to the site at the business park guarantees to secure grants and
loans, the price of land at the business park, possible company specific infrastructure development, and
prices for basic process utilities.

5. In order to calculate the aid intensity the Commission compares the present value of granted
investment aid to the present value of eligible investment costs. The legal basis for the regional aid
threshold of 40 % net is the European economic area (EEA) decision on 11 May 1994 (1).

6. State aid granted unlawfully and not compatible with the common market must be recovered from
the recipient. The amounts recovered will include interest calculated on the basis of the reference rates
used to calculate the grant-equivalent for the purposes of regional aids, running from the date on which the
aid was payable to the recipient until the date of actual recovery.

(1) OJ C 199, 21.7.1994.

(1999/C 142/180) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3494/98


by Peter Truscott (PSE) to the Council

(13 November 1998)

Subject: Recognition of qualifications by Member States

What efforts is the Council making to harmonise recognition of workers’ qualifications, between Member
States, especially in terms of the amount of proof required by the Member States to validate the migrant
workers’ qualifications?

Reply

(25 January 1999)

At the present time there is no harmonisation of the proofs required by the Member States to validate
migrant workers’ qualifications. Nevertheless, the Council would like to draw the Honourable Member’s
attention to the fact that, within the European Commission, the Coordinators’ Group on the Recognition of
Diplomas, made up of representatives of the Member States, recently adopted a Code of Conduct intended
to ensure a harmonised assessment of proofs by the coordinators responsible for facilitating the
implementation of the Directives on the recognition of professional qualifications. The aim is to avoid
administrative formalities being used as an indirect obstacle to the free movement of persons.

(1999/C 142/181) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3495/98


by Freddy Blak (PSE) to the Commission

(25 November 1998)

Subject: Amendment of the Staff Regulations

Homosexual EU staff do not have the same rights as their heterosexual colleagues. This is particularly the
case for the rights and perks that the spouses of EU staff normally enjoy, and applies even though
homosexual staff have entered into a registered partnership that corresponds to marriage in their own
country.