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C 26 E/154 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.

2001

Is this compatible with Community legislation?

Will the Commission take action to prevent the absurd and short-sighted attitude of most Italian credit
institutions, which unjustly appropriate substantial amounts from private individuals, businesses and public
and private bodies?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(16 May 2000)

Community legislation does not contain provisions aimed at regulating the interest that credit institutions
apply to their customers concerning their bank accounts or loans. The level of such interest should be left
to market forces.

The treaties do not provide any basis to propose legislative measures on the matters raised by the
Honourable Member and do not give the Commission any powers of direct intervention in this area.

Therefore, the Commission, the national central banks and the European central bank cannot regulate
directly the level of prices that credit institutions charge for their services, nor the remuneration capital.
These aspects are to be established by each credit institution on the basis of its commercial strategy and
according to the principles of a free market.

Consequently, the Commission does not foresee any initiatives aimed at regulating the practices of the
Community credit institutions toward their customers.

(2001/C 26 E/191) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1091/00
by Inger Schörling (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(7 April 2000)

Subject: Freedom of movement for EU officials

Swedish television recently reported on the case of a woman who had worked for three years at one of the
EU institutions before deciding to return home to Sweden. When she returned, she found that she was not
covered by the social insurance systems at all and was treated as if she had just arrived as an immigrant.
After using up her savings from her time as an EU official, she was forced to live on welfare benefits until
she found a job.

There may be many reasons why well-paid officials return to their countries of origin, and it goes without
saying that everyone must be free to make that choice. However, it does seem wrong that EU officials
should feel compelled to stay put because they have been removed from their national systems without
having any other system to rely on for security.

What steps does the Commission intend to take to make it easier for EU officials, too, to move freely?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(31 May 2000)

Under Community law there is no unified European social security system. Each Member State is
responsible for its own social security system and decides which benefits shall be provided, the conditions
for eligibility and the value of the benefits. In general, national social security schemes do not allocate
unemployment benefits to people who resign from professional occupation.

Officials and other servants of the Communities are protected by a social security scheme instituted by the
Council under Article 15 of the Protocol on privileges and immunities of the Communities. The provisions
governing the benefits of this scheme are contained in the staff regulations.
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/155

Social security schemes for officials of the institutions are not included in the Community provisions for
the co-ordination of Member States’ social security systems under Regulations (EEC) no 1408/71 of the
Council of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons and their
families moving within the Community (1) and no 574/72 of the Council of 21 March 1972 fixing the
procedure for implementing Regulation (EEC) no 1408/71 (2) (3). There are, however, several transitional
arrangements for officials who stop working. A distinction has to be made between officials, temporary
staff and auxiliary staff.

In case of resignation, officials will not receive any unemployment benefit or family allowances and their
accident insurance will stop. They may continue enjoying sickness insurance for a maximum of six months
after resignation in order to be entitled to a national sickness insurance scheme. They benefit from their
acquired pension rights from the age of 50 (or 60) or receive a lump sum at departure in the case of less
than ten years’ service in the European institutions. The official has also the possibility to transfer pension
rights to the pension scheme of an administration or an organisation if an agreement has been concluded
with the Community. Temporary staff have the opportunity, in certain circumstances and in most Member
States, to maintain part of their national social security schemes while in service and while covered by the
social security schemes for officials of the Institutions. At the end of their contract, if they have no
immediate further employment, they will benefit, for a maximum period of two years, from unemploy-
ment and family allowances as well as from sickness cover. In the case of resignation during their contract
the same rules apply as for officials.

Auxiliary staff are not covered by the social security schemes for officials of the European Institutions but
affiliated to the compulsory national social security system of the Member State to whose system they were
last affiliated or that of their Member State of origin. As such they take full benefit of the Community
provisions for the co-ordination mentioned above.

The Commission considers that the rules for Community officials outlined above do not impede their free
movement.

(1) OJ L 149, 5.7.1971.
(2) OJ L 74, 27.3.1972.
(3) Last consolidated version: Council Regulation No 118/97  OJ L 28, 30.1.1997.

(2001/C 26 E/192) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1097/00
by Malcolm Harbour (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(4 April 2000)

Subject: Disposal of Rover Cars by BMW

The Commission will be well aware of the sudden decision by BMW, on Thursday, 16 March 2000, to
dispose of its Rover Cars operation, which will be restructured into a new MG car company and employ
much fewer people.

Could the Commission advise:

1. whether the provision of aid by the UK Government for this restructuring will be deemed to fall under
the Commission’s state aid provisions and therefore be subject to extended review, and

2. whether the sudden withdrawal of supply to contracted Rover dealers constitutes a breach of contract
under the Commission’s block exemption rules?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(10 May 2000)

1. The United Kingdom has notified to the Commission a detailed aid package linked to the planned
investment of BMW in the Longbridge plant. At the time being the Commission investigation of the