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C 374 E/140 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.

2000

Reply
(18 May 2000)

1. The Council of 31 January 2000 decided to set up a High-Level Working Group on taxation in order
to answer to the political will expressed in the conclusions of the European Council  held in Helsinki,
10-11 December 1999, with regard to the tax package (see paragraphs 34-38 of the Presidency
conclusions). The Council also agreed that the political importance accorded to the Group should be
reflected in the appointment by each Member of the Council and the Commission of a high-level
representative.

2. The Group has been set up within the framework of the Council. Its work is therefore subject to the
Council’s Rules of Procedure. The Council will inform the European Parliament in the usual way on the
outcome of discussions.

3. The Group has held meetings on 25 February 2000 and 3 April 2000. It considered specifically how
the principle of an exchange of information could be implemented most effectively in the framework of
the compromise put forward by the Presidency and the Commission on 7 December 1999.

4. The Group is expected to finalise its work in time so that the Council can report to the European
Council in June 2000 at the latest.

(2000/C 374 E/165) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0713/00
by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission
(17 March 2000)

Subject: Ethnic entrepreneurship

Can the Commission give a breakdown of the value of ethnic entrepreneurship by Member States over the
past five years? Will the Commission in future include a section on ethnic entrepreneurship in its annual
report on SME’s?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission
(28 April 2000)

Reliable statistics on ethnic entrepreneurs and on the importance of ethnic entrepreneurship in the
Community are not yet available.

In order to obtain information on the problems and potential of ethnic entrepreneurship in Europe a study
on young entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, co- entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs from ethnic mino-
rities has been launched (open call for tender No 98/S 137-92958/EN (1). Once completed the Commission
will analyse and disseminate the results.

Prior to the launch of the study mentioned above and within the framework of the third multiannual
programme for SMEs (1997-2000), the Commission published a call for proposals on assistance for craft
enterprises (2). The objective of this call was to provide assistance to these enterprises with a particular
focus on measures in favour of women entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs and enterprises made up of
disadvantaged groups. One of the pilot actions financed under this call was ‘The ethnic minority business
network’ (EMBNeT). Its main objective is to assist ethnic entrepreneurs to overcome business obstacles and
regulation constraints. The final report is due by 30 June 2000.

Finally, in its forthcoming report on the coordination of activities in favour of SMEs and the crafts sector,
under the section on promoting the spirit of enterprise and support to target groups, the Commission will
report on action undertaken in favour of specific target groups including ethnic minorities.

(1) OJ S 137, 18.7.1998.
(2) OJ C 117, 15.4.1997.