You are on page 1of 1

C 26 E/12 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.


There is nothing to stop Member States proposing a State aid scheme for certain timber industry activities
under specific circumstances. Schemes in Objective 1 and 2 area could be part-financed by the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF) if proposed under a regional development programme.

(1) OJ L 191, 6.4.1990.

(2001/C 26 E/014) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0061/00
by Josu Ortuondo Larrea (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(20 January 2000)

Subject: Extension of the franchises of private motorway operators in Spain

By means of an amendment to the draft law accompanying the year 2000 budget the Spanish Congress
has recently allowed motorway franchises to be extended before the initial period of operation for which
they were granted comes to an end. This applies inter alia to the franchises held by Aumar (13 years),
Acesa (5 years) and Iberpista. In addition, the government is drawing up a royal decree which will allow
the franchise on the León-Campomanes motorway to be extended by a further 29 years. Extensions are
justified on the grounds that they will lead to lower toll charges and further investment.

Francisco Sosa Wagner, who is Professor of Administrative Law at the University of León, takes the view
that franchises should be extended only if there are guarantees to the effect that the extra business which
they bring to private operators will result in benefits to the general public (1). Furthermore, the reductions
in toll charges must be genuine ones (not fictitious or merely apparent) and the interests of the consumer
must be paramount.

Does the Commission know whether or not the extensions granted by the Spanish authorities are in
accordance with the guidelines laid down in Directives 92/50/EC (2), 93/37/EC (3) and 89/440/EC (4) on the
coordination of the procedures for awarding public services and works contracts?

If not, what action is the Commission intending to take in order to ensure that the Spanish authorities
comply with the above directives and to ensure that the interests of consumers prevail in any assessment
of the benefits stemming from toll motorway management policy in Spain?

Does the Commission think that the reductions in charges which have been used to justify the extensions
are genuine ones and that consumers have therefore benefitted from the operation?

Does the Commission not think that a policy of extending motorway franchises in exchange for further
investment in those motorways could run counter to Community guidelines which are intended to steer
the transport system towards alternative, non-road forms of transport and that it could have an adverse
effect on the drawing up of long-term national transport policy strategies?

(1) See opinion of October 1998, issued at the request of the Barcelona city authorities.
(2) OJ L 209, 24.7.1992, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 199, 9.8.1993, p. 54.
(4) OJ L 268, 15.9.1989, p. 1.

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(25 February 2000)

The Commission has no knowledge of either the new legislation or the draft Royal Decree mentioned by
the Honourable Member.

The Commission will do everything necessary to verify that the Member State complies fully with the
obligations arising from Community law, and the policy on public contracts in particular.