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26.1.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/37

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(9 March 2000)

At present the Commission is not in a position to act vis-à-vis Switzerland as regards the draft law in
question.

However, the Commission is well aware of the unsatisfactory legal situation of Community nationals
working in Switzerland. It therefore negotiated a wide-ranging agreement on the free movement of persons
with Switzerland to align the Swiss provisions with the acquis communautaire in this area, including that
on social security and pension rights.

The agreement was signed on 21 June 1999 and will come into force after the Parliament has given its
assent and it has been ratified by the contracting parties.

Once the agreement has come into force, the Commission will closely monitor its implementation by
Switzerland and raise any difficulties in the joint committee to be established under the agreement.

(2001/C 26 E/050) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0403/00
by Werner Langen (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(8 February 2000)

Subject: Effects of the abolition of duty-free sales

The European Council meeting in Cologne on 4 June 1999 decided that the European rules on duty-free
sales should be allowed to expire on 30 June 1999. The decision followed heated discussion as to its
probable impact. In particular, it was argued that the abolition of duty-free sales would result in drastic job
losses.

In view of the foregoing:

1. Does the Commission have any information concerning the impact of the abolition of duty-free sales
on the employment market?

2. Does the Commission have any information concerning the impact of that decision on specific regions
and sectors (coastal areas, airports, tourism, duty-free retail trade etc.)?

3. Is the Commission aware whether, and in which Member States, compensatory measures have been
applied to the regions or sectors affected; if so, what is the extent and nature of such measures?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(9 March 2000)

For information about the impact of the abolition of intra Community duty-free sales on employment, the
Commission would refer the Honourable Member to the replies given to Written Questions E-1999/99 by
Mr Davies (1) and E-2135/99 by Mr Staes (2).

As for regional and sectorial impact, the Commission has not received any information to suggest that the
abolition has had any significant impact on specific regions or sectors. It is currently seeking to establish
whether Member States might have applied any compensatory measures in response to specific problems
that they might have experienced.

(1) OJ C 203 E, 18.7.2000, p. 109.
(2) OJ C 225 E, 8.8.2000, p. 57.