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C 374 E/132 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.


(2000/C 374 E/156) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0677/00
by Antonios Trakatellis (PPE-DE), Ioannis Marínos (PPE-DE)
and Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Structural changes in the Greek economy  social security and financing of the insurance funds

One of the most crucial problems that the next government of Greece will be called on to resolve concerns
social security and, in particular, the financing of the insurance funds. The funds have accumulated
enormous inherent deficits which threaten their normal financing and the payment of pensions. The
problem has become an explosive issue as, owing to the ageing of the population, the ratio of workers to
pensioners is constantly falling. At present, the total number of pensioners is equal to 60 % of the working
population and represents approximately 25 % of the total population of Greece. Furthermore, the labour
market is inelastic and there is high unemployment of over 11 %.

As the constant delays in taking serious measures to deal with the situation are exacerbating the problem,
will the Commission state:

1. its position on the social security problem and on the Greek Government’s inertia in not taking the
necessary measures and carrying out the reforms which are de facto required,

2. the amount of the accumulated deficits of the insurance funds in Greece, what proportion of the
national debt this represents and how those deficits will be dealt with without raising production costs
and impairing competitiveness, increasing public deficits and creating further inflationary pressure,

3. in which direction the reforms must move to guarantee stable pensions and viable pension schemes,

4. how the insurance funds will be freed from government intervention which, by requiring that capital
be tied up in government bonds and deposits with the Bank of Greece, results in unproductive forms
of investment and use of the capital in the funds, and

5. how provision will be made for workers and pensioners alike in future without further loss of their
income, bearing in mind that between 1985 and 1998 they lost an estimated 18 % of their real

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(26 April 2000)

In the field of social protection, the only binding Community standards are on equal treatment for men
and women and on coordination of Member States’ social security schemes for the benefit of migrant
workers and their families.

The organisation, application and conditions for the granting of the various benefits are national issues,
provided that the above-mentioned Community standards are respected.

However, since 1990, in view of the common challenges facing national schemes, the Commission has
been involved in a process of joint reflection with the Member States. This led to the Council adopting
Recommendation 92/441/EEC of 24 June 1992 on common criteria concerning sufficient resources and
social assistance in social protection schemes (1) and Recommendation 92/442/EEC of 27 July 1992 on the
convergence of social protection objectives and policies (1).

In following up these Recommendations, the Commission adopted a coordinated strategy on the
modernisation of social protection, in particular through its Communication of 14 July 1999 on ‘A
concerted strategy for modernising social protection’ (2), which was confirmed by the recent Council
conclusions of 17 December 1999 making provision for the establishing of a high-level group of Member
States’ representatives to monitor the application of this strategy. The group has been set up on a
28.12.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 374 E/133

provisional basis, and the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Council Decision formalising the its
existence (3). The recent conclusions of the Lisbon European Council of 23/24 March 2000 also follow up
this strategy.

The Commission does not have the information requested under points 2 and 4.

(1) OJ L 245, 26.8.1992.
(2) COM(1999) 347 final.
(3) COM(2000) 134 final.

(2000/C 374 E/157) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0683/00
by Dana Scallon (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Copyright directive

In its answer to question H-0691/99 (1), the Commission said that it feared that a more limited drafting of
Article 5.1 of the Directive on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights in the Information Society could
jeopardise the proper functioning of the networks.

In the meantime, the Council has adopted a political agreement on the proposed e-commerce Directive,
which contains rules exempting intermediaries from liability for content transmitted and hosted on their
networks. including copyright content.

Can the Commission explain why it still needs a wide exception to copyright for internet intermediaries
under Article 5.1, knowing that this exception could conflict with some of the provisions of the
e-commerce Directive, in particular regarding caching?

(1) Debates of the European Parliament (December 1999).

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(2 May 2000)

The exception enshrined in article 5(1) of the proposal for a directive on copyright and related rights in
the information society (1) for certain technical acts of temporary copying made on the networks is a
necessary consequence of the comprehensive definition of the reproduction right, as set out in article 2 of
the same proposal. It provides service and access providers with legal certainty for their activities as it
exempts, where appropriate, certain acts of copying from the scope of the reproduction right. In the
Commission’s view, the exceptions and limitations to the rights under article 5 of the proposal, as
amended by the Commission (2), are not overly wide in scope but ensure an appropriate balance between
the rights of rightholders and the legitimate interests of other groups involved (telecommunication
operators, users, consumers, and others).

The need for such an exception has not diminished with the adoption of a common position on the
proposal for a directive on electronic commerce (3), as the latter instrument does not harmonise copyright
protection on substance but rather, as regards copyright infringements and others, addresses certain
aspects of liability for activities in the network environment.

The Commission has drafted and negotiated both internal market initiatives in parallel taking due account
of each other as the two initiatives are complementary in aiming to ensure a coherent and appropriate
internal market framework for the information society.

(1) OJ C 108, 7.4.1998.
(2) OJ C 180, 25.6.1999.
(3) OJ C 169, 16.6.1999.