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2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 374 E/151

The mandate given to the Commission in 1997 and confirmed in 1999 covers ‘essentially all’ products
exported by the LDCs. At present 99 % of LDC exports enter the Community market freely. All non-
agricultural LDC exports have free access to the Community. An initial measure in December 1998
introduced arrangements equivalent to the Lomé Convention for all LDCs (2). The Commission is drawing
up additional proposals which will be put before the Council when they are ready. Only then can a
quantitative evaluation be made.

These proposals will concern additional unilateral concessions for agricultural exports from the LDCs to
the Community market. It should be noted that under the current mandate which covers virtually all or
‘essentially all’ agricultural exports the LDCs will have greater quota and tariff free access for agricultural

The few agricultural products which will not be fully liberalised under the Commission proposal to the
Council will be covered by preferential access arrangements.

As the Member of the Commission responsible for trade told Parliament in March, other developed
partners do not provide anything like the same access, although their markets are much more attractive to
LDCs primarily because the rate of penetration of their products on these markets is extremely small.

(1) Debates of the European Parliament (March 2000).
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 2820/98 of 21 December 1998, OJ L 357, 30.12.1998.

(2000/C 374 E/179) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0776/00
by Christoph Konrad (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(16 March 2000)

Subject: Subsidised filling station prices in the Dutch border region

1. Is the Commission aware that in the area of the Netherlands bordering Germany there are state
subsidies for a two-stage reduction (between 0 and 10 km and between 10 and 20 km from the border) in
fuel sales prices?

2. What is the Commission’s view of the fact that these subsidies mean that in some cases the fuel sales
prices are below the delivered price of wholesalers on the German side of the border?

3. Is it true that these subsidies were abolished on 1 March 2000?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(10 May 2000)

1. The Commission has already taken a decision on the aid referred to by the Honourable Member.

On 3 June 1998 it launched an investigation under Article 88(2) (former Article 93(2)) of the EC Treaty
into the state aid granted by the Netherlands to Dutch filling stations in the region bordering on
Germany (1). It took its decision on 20 July 1999 (2).

The decision stated that the aid provided to 450 filling stations was incompatible with the common
market and must be repaid. Subsidies to 183 smaller filling stations were covered by the ‘de minimis’ rule
and did not constitute s aid.

For further details, the Commission would refer you to the published texts.

2. As in the above-mentioned case, the Commission would point out that aid is incompatible with the
common market if it distorts competition and affects trade between Member States. It noted the distortions
of competition referred to by the Honourable Member in its decision and took them into account.
C 374 E/152 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.2000

3. The Dutch Government has informed the Commission that the scheme was abolished on
1 February 2000.

(1) OJ C 307, 7.10.1998, p. 10.
(2) OJ L 280, 30.10.1999, p. 87.

(2000/C 374 E/180) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0781/00
by Roger Helmer (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(16 March 2000)

Subject: Food Authority

During the Committee on the Environment’s question-and-answer session of 23 February 2000 on the
proposed establishment of a ‘Food Authority’, Commissioner Byrne made it clear that he believes that the
proposed authority should not deal solely with food standards, but also should address nutritional and
dietary issues. He added the rider, ‘so that the Food Authority is not merely telling scare stories from an
ivory tower’. Furthermore, Commissioner Byrne stated that the Food Authority should draw on advisory
research that may have been commissioned by outside organisations in the Member States.

With these points in mind, could the Commission please comment on this obvious opportunity to address
positively the issue of fortification. More particularly, does the Commission support the need to authorise
and regulate disease-risk reduction information on food packs providing customers with positive health-
related information about food?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(3 May 2000)

As mentioned in the white paper on food safety (1), adopted by the Commission on 12 January 2000, a
proposal for a Parliament and Council directive on on fortified food is foreseen for September 2000.

At present, the Commission is studying the issue of food fortification in depth with a view to preparing
such a proposal. It is difficult at this stage to inform the Honourable Member about the proposal’s
orientation as work is still in a preliminary phase.

Regarding the views of the Commission on claims concerning reduction of risk of disease, the Honourable
Member is invited to refer to the answer given by the Commission to Written Question E-232/00 by
Mrs Thomas-Mauro (2).

(1) COM(1999) 719 final.
(2) OJ C 303 E, 24.10.2000.

(2000/C 374 E/181) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0786/00
by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Council

(16 March 2000)

Subject: Judicial cooperation on paedophilia

The introduction of a policy on cooperation in the field of justice and home affairs under the Treaty of
Maastricht was a vital step forwards in the European project.

It is indeed difficult to understand why, in a Europe of complete freedom of movement and establishment,
justice should remain subject to rigid borders.