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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 72 E/91

Assuming entitlement to redundancy payments exists, the Commission notes that the Regulation exempts
payments of normal salaries, including compulsory redundancy payments, from the freezing of funds. If
the employee were entitled to payment of non-compulsory redundancy payments, the Commission would
be empowered to grant an authorisation to use the frozen funds to pay them on proof that not granting
an authorisation would cause damage to the interests of the Community.

(1) OJ L 153, 19.6.1999.

(2001/C 72 E/109) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1634/00

by Theresa Villiers (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(29 May 2000)

Subject: Duty on the transport of fuel across borders

1. Could the Commission please confirm that import duties are paid on the transport of fuel across

2. If so, could the Commission explain why iport duties are imposed on the transport of fuel across
borders whereas they are not imposed in relation to the transport of alcohol across borders?

3. Does the Commission agree that this arrangement contradicts the fundamental principle of free trade
and the single market?

4. Does the Commission have any plans to extend single market principles to the fuel trade?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(14 July 2000)

1. and 2. In the situation described by the Honourable Member, the import duty in question is actually
the excise duty payable on the release for home use of a product subject to excise duty in a Member State.

The taxation of intra-Community movements by Union citizens of products subject to excise duties is dealt
with in Article 8 of Council Directive 92/12/EEC of 25 February 1992 on the general arrangements for
products subject to excise duty and on the holding, movement and monitoring of such products (1).
According to that Article, where private individuals acquire and transport products for their own use, the
principle governing the internal market requires that excise duty be charged in the Member State in which
the products are acquired.

However, Article 9(3) of the same Directive allows the Member States to provide for excise duty to be
chargeable in the Member State of consumption on the acquisition of mineral oils already released for
consumption in another Member State if such products are transported using atypical modes of transport
by private individuals or on their behalf. ‘Atypical transport’ in this instance means the transport of fuels
other than in the tanks of vehicles or in appropriate reserve fuel canisters and the transport of liquid
heating products other than by means of tankers used on behalf of professional traders.

The scope for different tax treatment of acquisitions of mineral oils is in particular due to the hazards of
transporting mineral oils. Since the need to comply with particularly strict safety measures entails the use
of special vehicles, the condition of transport by the private individual, which is a precondition for the
exemption provided for in Article 8, is no longer fulfilled.
C 72 E/92 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 6.3.2001

3. and 4. In view of the answer to questions 1 and 2, the Commission feels that the arrangements
described are not contrary to the principles of the internal market and does not intend to propose that
they be modified.

(1) OJ L 76, 23.3.1992, last amended by Directive 96/99/EC of 30 December 1996 (OJ L 8, 11.1.1997).

(2001/C 72 E/110) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1635/00

by Theresa Villiers (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(29 May 2000)

Subject: VAT proposals

In the light of the Commission’s presentation on VAT to the Ecofin meeting of Monday, 8 May, would the
Commission please answer the following questions:

1. Will the Commission clarify the status of its 1996 proposal, brought forward by Mario Monti, to
move to a common system of VAT with full harmonisation of VAT rules and rates?

2. In the light of the Commission’s admission that this plan is not politically or practically possible, will
it formally abandon all plans for a common system of VAT based on the 1996 Monti paper?

3. If the Commission is not prepared to distance itself from the 1996 proposals, will it please clarify the
following points arising from them:
(a) Will the full implementation of the common system of VAT require all countries to apply a
uniform system of exemptions?
(b) Will it be possible for the UK to retain its system of zero-rating for certain products?
(c) Might there be any circumstances where the proposed new rules of a common system of VAT
would require VAT to be levied in the UK on books, food or children’s clothes?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(5 July 2000)

It should be pointed out from the outset that it is still the Commission’s opinion that the internal market
could and would function better with a VAT system based on taxation in the Member State of origin as
this would be easier to administer (and consequently less costly for business) and less susceptible to fraud
(providing a better guarantee for stable tax revenue). When it adopted the current transitional arrange-
ments, the Council also confirmed its commitment to such a system.

Therefore, it is not in any way the Commission’s intention to abandon the idea of a definitive system of
taxation along the lines described in its 1996 programme for a common system of VAT (1). However, it
must also be recognised that in the current climate the conditions are not propitious for rapid progress
towards the necessary closer harmonisation of VAT rates and legislation, nor is it likely that significant
progress will be made in the immediate future. This is the reason why, in the interest of improving the
functioning of the internal market in the short term, the Commission considers it necessary to reappraise
the programme it put forward in 1996 and to define a viable strategy based on four main objectives:
simplification and modernisation of current rules, more uniform application of current rules and closer
administrative co-operation.

The objective of such an exercise is to create fresh impetus within the Council to achieve the necessary
improvements to the present system as quickly as possible. This will of course only be possible if all
Member States are prepared to consider changes to their national VAT systems and, if necessary, agree to a
reduction of the large number of special schemes or options and derogations, which exist at present.