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8.8.

2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 225 E/201

Treaty rules on competition, it therefore considers, in a positive spirit, whether an agreement or a practice
has cultural objectives and contains cultural provisions which are actually put into practice and may justify
imposing restrictions on competition commensurate with the objectives in mind. These questions are
considered with a view to the possible application of Article 81(3) of the EC Treaty, which lays down that
the Commission may exempt restrictive agreements or practices the advantages of which outweigh the
disadvantages as regards consumers, provided that they simply impose the restrictions indispensable to the
attainment of their objectives and do not eliminate competition in respect of a substantial part of the
products in question. The Commission also takes account of any alterations which the parties may make
to such agreements or practices. Cultural benefits may constitute advantages for consumers under this rule.
Lastly, under Article 151(4) of the EC Treaty, a cross-border book price-fixing agreement cannot be
exempted unless the agreement or practice in question satisfies all the conditions laid down in Article 81(3)
of the EC Treaty, and this presupposes, among other things, that the cultural benefits adduced are clearly
shown to exist.

2. National arrangements for fixing book prices may be based on national legislation or on agreements
between companies, in this case between publishers and booksellers. Different provisions of the EC Treaty
apply to these two possible approaches. Legislation-based systems have to be examined in the light of
Article 28 (the former Article 30), whereas agreements between companies have to be compatible with
Article 81. In both cases, of course, the past rulings of the Court of Justice must be followed.

Where arrangements based on legislation are concerned, any Member State may adopt such legislation
provided it is compatible with the principle of the free movement of goods as laid down in the EC Treaty.
This is a matter for the national authorities.

In this context account must be taken of the Court of Justice’s judgment of 10 January 1985 in Case 229/
83 Leclerc v Au blé vert (1985 ECR 1), where the Court ruled that in the context of national legislation
fixing the price of books, Article 28 of the Treaty prohibited ‘provisions requiring the retail price fixed by
the publisher to be applied to books published in the Member State concerned and re-imported following
exportation to another Member State, unless it is established that those books were exported for the sole
purpose of re-importation in order to circumvent the legislation in question’.

National price-fixing arrangements based on agreements between companies are compatible with the
Community competition rules if they do not significantly affect trade between Member States. In such
situations Article 81 does not apply.

(1) Cf. the Commission’s decisions of 25 November 1981 in VBBB and VBVB (OJ L 54, 25.2.1982) and of
12 December 1988 in Publishers Association  Net Book Agreements (OJ L 22, 26.1.1989) and the judgments
of the Court of Justice of 17 January 1984 in Joined Cases 43 and 63/82 VBVB and VBBB v Commission [1984]
ECR 17, of the Court of First Instance of 9 July 1992 in Case T-66/89 Publishers Association v Commission [1992]
ECR II-1995 and of the Court of Justice of 17 January 1995 in Case C-360/92 P Publishers
Association v Commission [1995] ECR I-23.

(2000/C 225 E/228) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2755/99


by Enrique Barón Crespo (PSE), Miguel Martínez Martínez (PSE)
and Carlos Carnero González (PSE) to the Commission

(18 January 2000)

Subject: Protecting jobs in the Carrier multinational company in Guadalajara (Spain) in the face of
management plans

A delegation comprising the President of the regional parliament of Castilla-La Mancha, the regional
secretaries-general of the CO and UGT trade unions and delegates from the works council at Carrier’s
Guadalajara plant have visited Brussels in order to outline to representatives of the various Community
institutions (Commission, Council and Parliament) their opposition to the closure plans drawn up by the
multinational company’s management for that production centre.

If they were to be implemented, the plans would entail the loss of more than 700 jobs in the company
itself and the indirect loss of several thousand more (a ‘jobs genocide’), which would have an enormous
C 225 E/202 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 8.8.2000

social and economic impact on the province and region, bearing in mind that Carrier is now one of the
main industrial undertakings in Castilla-La Mancha. Furthermore, the closure plans drawn up by the firm’s
managers appear all the more unjustifiable bearing in mind that the company holds a significant market
share and has been extremely profitable.

The institutions in Castilla-La Mancha (starting with the regional government and parliament), the Spanish
Congress of Deputies (in a series of declarations) and the citizens of Guadalajara, who have organised a
variety of demonstrations, have all called for the closure plans to be abandoned and for production and
jobs to be preserved.

Can the Commission answer the following:


 does it consider that Carrier should take account of all social and economic factors in relation to its
plant in Guadalajara and respond to the demands of workers, trade unions, the general public and
institutions and withdraw its closure plans?
 will it take the appropriate steps and approach Carrier to that end?
 does it know whether Carrier has received any state or European aid which would oblige it to act to
protect jobs?
 can it say whether Carrier has complied in this process with the directives on the information and
consultation of bodies representing workers and labour organisations?
 does it take the view that this case, or the earlier Michelin case, strengthen the European Parliament’s
proposals on relocations aimed at preventing socially irresponsible business decisions?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission


(2 March 2000)

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

(2000/C 225 E/229) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2765/99


by Raffaele Costa (PPE-DE), Antonio Tajani (PPE-DE),
Francesco Fiori (PPE-DE), Raffaele Fitto (PPE-DE), Giorgio Lisi (PPE-DE),
Mario Mauro (PPE-DE), Guido Podestà (PPE-DE) and Stefano Zappalà (PPE-DE)
to the Commission
(18 January 2000)

Subject: The case of Silvia Baraldini  payment of a fine

Is the President of the Commission aware of the case concerning the payment, by the Italian Government
which at the time was led by Mr Prodi himself, of the $50 000 fine imposed on Silvia Baraldini?

Apart from the fact that this is an exceptionally serious matter, it should be pointed out that:
 under formal authorisation from an entire Directorate-General of the ministry concerned, the budget
of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was manipulated, without reasons and purposes being given;
 the Italian 1997 Finance Act  a fundamental State law, comprising as it does the sum total of each
individual ministry coming under Tables A and B thereof  was manipulated.

What is the Commission’s view of this matter, which involved a Member State and the United States?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission


(6 March 2000)

The Commission has no jurisdiction to deal with the question asked, which is a matter solely for the
national authorities concerned.