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26.1.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/79

(2001/C 26 E/096) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0647/00
by Markus Ferber (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: The artificial lake ‘Lago di Lacina’ in Calabria

Auditors in southern Italy have ascertained that the artificial lake ‘Lago di Lacina’, which appears on many
maps of Calabria, does not exist. Furthermore, in 1999 it was discovered that there are 120 hospitals in
southern Italy on which building work has never been completed and which have never treated any
patients. One of these hospitals is even supposed to have been used by the Mafia to hide weapons. There
are also roads which end in the middle of nowhere and factories which have never started production.

Have these projects received funding from the European Union? If so, what kind of funding and how
much did they receive? Is it possible to demand repayment of the funding?

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(7 April 2000)

As far as the Commission knows, no Community contribution has ever been paid towards the Lacina
reservoir.

As for the other projects cited by the Honourable Member, the details in the question are not sufficient to
be able to identify them and confirm whether they have benefited from Community funds or not, or if any
irregularities have occurred in their implementation.

The Commission is willing to help the Honourable Member further if he can supply more precise
information.

(2001/C 26 E/097) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0649/00
by Carlos Ripoll y Martínez de Bedoya (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Air transport liberalisation

Considerable progress has now been made on liberalising air transport. Airlines, however, still maintain
practices which are against consumers’ interests.

Does the Commission intend to draw up a directive on consumer protection with regard to airlines?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(2 May 2000)

Air passengers already benefit from certain protection under Community legislation involving, for
example, compensation and fair treatment in case of denied boarding, compensation for accidents and
the obligations of organisers of package holidays.

Under its work programme for 2000, the Commission will present a communication on strengthening air
passengers’ rights, to be ready in June 2000. To prepare this, the Commission has sent out a consultative
document, to which there has been a strong response from the many different bodies with an interest in
air transport. The document covers contracts and conditions of carriage, business practices, cabin
conditions and health questions and information and transparency.
C 26 E/80 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.2001

The communication will cover passengers’ rights and treatment in a wide sense. It will consider not only
legislation but also voluntary commitments taken by airlines, after discussion with the Commission and
passengers’ representatives which may sometimes be the most effective course of action.

This is clearly a policy for the medium term. In addition it is essential to raise passengers’ awareness of
their existing rights under Community law, so that they can insist on their respect. The Commission plans
an immediate initiative to do this, involving the publication and display of a charter of air passengers’
rights in airports and in the offices of airlines and travel agents.

It follows that the Commission has ambitious plans to protect passengers’ rights and improve the service
that they receive, with both immediate and medium-term action.

(2001/C 26 E/098) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0652/00
by Carlos Ripoll y Martínez de Bedoya (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Air transport liberalisation

At present many passengers miss their air travel connections because airlines, despite computer link-ups
between them, do not provide boarding cards for connecting flights operated by other airlines, in order to
force passengers to buy the tickets for their whole journey from the same airline.

Another fairly frequent practice is not to book luggage through to its final destination as different airlines
operate different sections of the journey.

Are there any regulations to avoid these abusive practices by airlines?

If not, does the Commission intend to introduce any kind of regulation to protect consumers from these
abusive practices by airlines?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(2 May 2000)

A central aim of Community policy for air transport has been to create a single, competitive market,
which has now been largely realised. This implies that airlines are free to compete and to decide which
services to offer their customers, subject to legislation on safety, the environment, passengers’ rights and
so on.

The Commission is working on the strengthening of passengers’ contractual rights and on the promotion
of voluntary initiatives by airlines to improve their treatment of passengers. It will present a communica-
tion on the subject, to be ready in June 2000. In the meantime, it will launch a campaign to inform
passengers of the rights that they already enjoy under Community law by arranging for the display of a
charter of air passengers’ rights in airports and elsewhere.