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C 46 E/152 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 13.2.


In considering possible legislative proposals on the safety of tattooing dyes, the Commission requested the
opinion of the scientific committee on cosmetics and non food products (SCCNFP). In its opinion of
17 February 2000, the SCCNFP noted the large number of dyes used in tattooing for which the chemical
structure, identity, and toxicological profile are incomplete or unknown, thereby precluding a proper
health risk assessment. In its opinion, the SCCNFP recommended that a systematic effort be undertaken to
amass the needed chemical and toxicological information on tattooing dyes so that a proper risk
assessment can be conducted. In its remit to better protect public health, the Commission is currently
evaluating the options to carry out this task.

As for the azo-dyes mentioned specifically by the Honourable Member, the Commission would also share
the view that in theory azo dyes in tattoos will break down in a similar way as they do in leather goods to
give rise to the carcinogenic amines. Confirming scientific evidence is however lacking at present. The
Commission intends to include this aspect on a priority basis when assessing tattooing dyes.

2. and 3. Tattooing dyes are used for cosmetic purposes yet the route of their administration (injection)
puts them outside the scope of Council Directive 76/768/EEC of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of
the laws of the Member States to cosmetic products (1) which considers that ‘substances or preparations
intended to be ingested, inhaled, injected or implanted in the human body do not come under the field of
cosmetics’. However, tattooing dyes could be considered as general consumer products and hence would
fall under the scope of Council Directive 92/59/EEC of 29 June 1992 on general product safety (2) and
Council Directive 76/769/EEC of 27 July 1976 relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain
dangerous substances and preparations.

(1) OJ L 262, 27.9.1976.

(2) OJ L 228, 11.8.1992.

(2001/C 46 E/175) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1239/00

by Klaus-Heiner Lehne (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(14 April 2000)

Subject: Postal rates in Germany

Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs Müller has instructed the regulatory authority for postal services
in Germany to halt the procedure relating to the expiry at the end of 2000 of the latest increase in postal
rates to DM 1,10 and DM 1,00 per letter/postcard respectively and to grant a longer-term authorisation to
retain these postal rates. The regulatory authority in Germany was already due shortly to complete the
procedure and had the intention of refusing authorisation to retain the postal rate increases. This would
have meant reintroducing a letter rate of DM 1,00 and a rate for postcards of DM 0,80. In the meantime,
the advisory board of the regulatory authority has censured the Minister’s action by 11 votes to 7 as
uncompetitive and has called for this decision to be rectified.

Deutsche Post AG is a company that is also active in the European market outside Germany and is today
one of the largest European companies engaged in the transmission of letters and parcels. The increased
postage rate has up to now served to cross-subsidise less lucrative business sectors of the postal service,
e.g. the parcels sector where there is much private-sector competition.

This prompts the following questions:

1. How does the Commission view this behaviour by the Deutsche Post AG?

2. How does it view the attitude of the Federal German Ministry of Economic Affairs towards the
regulatory authority?

3. Does it intend to investigate this episode in terms of its Europe-wide implications for competition law?

4. What steps will it take if necessary?

13.2.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 46 E/153

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(14 June 2000)

1. The Commission is currently dealing with several complaints concerning alleged cross-subsidisation
of business sectors of the postal service using revenue from the reserved sector (collection, sorting,
transport and delivery of domestic and foreign letters). The complaints are being examined in the light of
the competition rules contained in the EC Treaty. The Commission would point out that this examination
will be meaningful only if carried out on the basis of separate cost-accounting systems for each service in
the reserved sector, on the one hand, and for non-reserved services, on the other. Article 14 of Directive
97/67/EC of 15 December 1997 on common rules for the development of the internal market of
Community postal services and the improvement of quality of service requires the introduction of separate
accounts (1).

2. The compatibility with Community legislation of the attitude of the Federal Ministry of Economic
Affairs towards the regulatory authority must be examined on the basis of the special legal provisions of
Article 22 of Directive 97/67/EC. Should these special provisions not suffice to ensure the operational
independence of the national regulatory authority for the postal service, it will be possible, if necessary, to
resort to the general rules on competition, particularly Article 86 (formerly Article 90) of the EC Treaty.

3. In line with the answer given to the second question, the Commission intends to examine the matter
initially in Article 22 of Directive 97/67/EC, which requires each Member State to designate one or more
national regulatory authorities for the postal sector that are legally separate from and operationally
independent of the postal operators.

4. On the basis of the separate accounts kept for reserved and non-reserved services, the Commission
will look further into the allegation that competition in the non-reserved sector is being unlawfully
impaired by revenue from the reserved sector. It may also prove necessary to examine whether, in view of
the current postal rates for domestic and foreign letters, it is absolutely necessary for the German mail
monopoly to continue in its present form in order to preserve a universal service.

(1) OJ L 15, 21.1.1998.

(2001/C 46 E/176) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1241/00

by Elizabeth Lynne (ELDR) to the Commission

(14 April 2000)

Subject: Provisions of the working time directive

Could the Commission explain the provisions of the Working Time Directive with regard to ‘voluntary’
work. If a worker is implicitly expected to work longer hours than the 48 hours per week maximum
through understaffing elsewhere, but this work is not contracted, how should this be covered by the
Working Time Directive?

Could the Commission also explain how the provisions of the Working Time Directive specify the
necessary measurement? If, for example, a worker has forty timetabled hours per week, but must do a
large amount of work in his/her own time, how should those unmeasured hours be taken into account in
the implementation of the directive?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(29 May 2000)

Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organisation of
working time (1) (‘Working Time Directive’) does not recognise the notion of ‘voluntary work’. Article 6(2)
of the Directive lays down that ‘Member States shall take the measures necessary to ensure that, in keeping
with the need to protect the safety and health of workers: the average working time for each seven-day
period, including overtime, does not exceed 48 hours.’