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2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 303 E/181

(2000/C 303 E/205) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0352/00

by Olivier Dupuis (TDI) to the Commission

(14 February 2000)

Subject: Italian economic initiative in Serbia

The Saturday, 22 January 2000 edition of the Italian newspaper ‘La Stampa’ carried the following report:
‘Italian firms are breaking the NATO embargo on Serbia  Italian-made goods on sale in Belgrade 
From February, a range of products will be available in the telecommunications, metallurgy, food and
clothing sectors. The Consorzio Europeo Italia comprises not only Italian but also French firms: Paladini,
Bigelli Marmi, Santo Galeazzi Pagassus, Bulbarelli, Atb, Elf Aquitaine, Cacciamali, Samco, Inside Interna-
tional, Il Ponte, Ato Findley and Fineca. The sectors covered range from food to metallurgy, telecommu-
nications and furniture (…)’

Does the Commission not consider that the economic initiative in question flies in the face of the decisions
taken by the European Union and confirmed at the meeting of Monday, 24 January 2000, at which the EU
Foreign ministers decided to maintain intact the economic sanctions imposed on the government in
Belgrade? What action do the President of the Commission and the Commissioner responsible for
competition policy intend to take in their respective fields to oppose any initiative that breaks the embargo
on the Miloseviç regime, while also protecting the market and competition from triangular economic and
commercial operations that infringe Community rules?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(16 March 2000)

Council Regulation (EC) No 1294/1999 of 15 June 1999 concerning a freeze of funds and a ban on
investment in relation to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and repealing Regulations
(EC) No 1295/98 and (EC) No 1607/98 (1) concerns a prohibition to make funds available to the
governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and that of the Republic of Serbia.

The initiative of Consorzio Europeo Italia is said to be intended to promote the sale of Italian and other
Community products, in a tax free zone near Belgrade, primarily to customers from Russia, Ukraine and
Byelorussia, who would need visas for Italy but not for Yugoslavia.

The Commission and the Italian authorities are currently examining whether the above mentioned
initiative, which is apparently not yet implemented to date, would result in investments in the Republic
of Serbia or funds being made available to the governments mentioned above and will keep the matter
under review.

(1) OJ L 153, 19.6.1999.

(2000/C 303 E/206) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0353/00

by Olivier Dupuis (TDI) to the Commission

(14 February 2000)

Subject: Romania: compatibility of draft legislation on the rules applicable to foreign nationals with
Community law

On 25 January 2000, the Romanian Chamber of Deputies’ committees on defence and legal affairs
approved a bill concerning the rules applicable to foreign nationals which provided that foreigners
convicted of organising a political party on Romanian territory, or joining a political party in Romania,
C 303 E/182 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 24.10.2000

should be liable to between 3 months’ and 2 years’ imprisonment or a fine. The Deputies also decided that
the employment of foreigners by institutions whose activities have a bearing on national defence or
security should be punishable by a term of imprisonment of between 6 months and 5 years.

What steps has the Commission taken, or does it intend to take, to urge Romania to honour its own
commitments as a candidate for accession and refrain from adopting legislation incompatible with Union
law? Has the Commission already expressed its opinion on this delicate matter, for example via its
representative in Romania? If so, what  if any  was the Romanian authorities’ response?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(20 March 2000)

The draft law regarding the regime of aliens in Romania, which was adopted by the Senate on
10 September 1998, has not yet been adopted by the Chamber of Deputies. After the draft law was
debated in the Chamber, it was reviewed and several amendments were introduced in the proposal. The
legislation on the same subject which is in force at present is Law No 25/1969 on the regime of aliens.

The Honourable Member refers in the first part of his question to provisions in the draft law containing
restrictions on the political activity of aliens residing in Romania. The Commission would refer to its
answer to the Honourable Member’s written question E-2624/99 (1).

In the second part of his question the Honourable Member refers to provisions in the draft law containing
prohibitions on the employment of foreigners in institutions with activities having a bearing on defence or
national security.

As a candidate country, Romania has an obligation to implement the acquis communautaire and adapt its
domestic legislation to it by the time of accession. Article 39 (ex-Article 48) of the EC Treaty provides that
the principle of equal treatment and the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of nationality are also
applicable to employment in the public sector. However, Article 39(4) leaves room for imposing certain
restrictions. Member States may reserve certain posts for their own nationals but these must be concerned
with the exercise of public authority or responsibility for safeguarding the general interests of the state or
the local authorities.

The Defence Committee changed Article 2, paragraph 2, in the initial draft law in order to narrow the
scope of the restrictions to public employment having an impact on public order or national security.
However, there are also in the draft law restrictions for employment in the private sector. Article 39 (2) of
the draft law stipulates that foreigners may be employed by economic agents or institutions whose
activities have an importance for defence or national security. This right can only be restricted in specific
cases through government decisions. According to Article 39(3) of the EC Treaty, limitations on the free
movement of workers can also be justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health.
These limitations are also applicable to civilian occupations.

According to the draft law as it stands now, breaches of the rules on the restrictions of political activities
and on limitations of employment of foreigners in Article 2, paragraph 2, are punished with imprisonment
between three months and two years or a fine. Infringements of Article 39 can be punished with
imprisonment between six months and five years.

The provisions on the employment of foreigners in the present version of the draft law do not, on a first
assessment, appear to be contrary to Community law. However, the Commission will continue its
assessment and follow the evolution of the draft law closely.

(1) OJ C 280 E, 3.10.2000, p. 87.

(2) Article 40 in the proposal of the Defence Committee.