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Official Journal of the European Communities

C 235 E/5


(7 May 2001)

The Council would remind the Honourable Member that, in accordance with the conclusions of the Cologne European Council on 3 and 4 June 1999 and the proceedings of the Biarritz European Council on 13 and 14 October 2000, the Council, together with the European Parliament and the Commission, has solemnly proclaimed the draft Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which emerged from the proceedings of the Convention established for that purpose as the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. That proclamation took place in Nice on 7 December 2000.

In conformity with the conclusions of the Cologne European Council, it will now have to be considered whether and, if so, how the Charter might be integrated into the Treaties.

In accordance with the Declaration on the future of the Union issued at the Nice European Council, the question of the status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU will be addressed as part of the follow-up process to Nice.

(2001/C 235 E/006)


by Ari Vatanen (PPE-DE), Konstantinos Hatzidakis (PPE-DE), Charles Pasqua (UEN), Arlindo Cunha (PPE-DE), Hans-Gert Poettering (PPE-DE), Elmar Brok (PPE-DE), Mary Banotti (PPE-DE), Alejandro Agag Longo (PPE-DE) and Arie Oostlander (PPE-DE) to the Council

(13 November 2000)

Subject: The current system of car taxation and its inconsistency with the internal market and free trade

Will the Council please consider, as a matter of urgency, the correction of distortions in car taxation? In several Member States, the tax system treats the importation of cars unfairly, especially when the importer

is a private citizen. The taxes levied on imported cars are frequently not based on the real value of the car,

particularly if the car is a used car. The excessively high taxes act as a barrier to intra-EU trade and prevent the establishment of competitive markets in the European Union. Article 25 of the Treaty establishing the European Community forbids customs duties on imports and exports between Member States as well as

charges having equivalent effect.

What does the Council intend to do in order to correct the distortions caused by arbitrary car import rules in the Member States? What will the Council do to ensure transparent car imports which are in conformity with Community law?

When will European consumers be able to enjoy the benefits of a genuine internal market when buying

a car?


(14 May 2001)

1. The Council would stress to the Honourable Members that the determination of the taxation system

applicable when a car is purchased by a private individual must be viewed in the light of very differing

situations (acquisition within the Community or importation) and of the taxes in question. In this respect,

it would point out that, as Community law currently stands, with the exception of the situation regarding

VAT, there is no common system of vehicle taxes, in particular as regards registration taxes or road taxes.

2. The Council is aware of the problems, in particular regarding double taxation, which may arise from

a lack of coordination of Member States legislation. It would remind the Honourable Members that, under

Article 93 TEC, the Council is indeed empowered to act with regard to the harmonisation of indirect taxation, to the extent that such harmonisation is necessary to ensure the establishment and the

C 235 E/6

Official Journal of the European Communities



functioning of the internal market, but that, to do so, it must receive a proposal from the Commission. To date, it has received no such proposal.

3. However, in its work programme for 2001, the Commission has announced that it intends to submit

this year a communication on the taxation of vehicles in the European Union. The Council would call on the Honourable Members at this juncture to address their question directly to the Commission.

(2001/C 235 E/007)


by Raffaele Costa (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(13 November 2000)

Subject: The euro crisis revising the date for replacing national currencies and reducing the staff of the European Central Bank

Aware that:

the independence of the European Central Bank (ECB) means that its directors should be responsible for the results of efforts to preserve the purchasing power of the euro,

the value of the euro is falling against not only the dollar but also the other major currencies,

the transition from the virtual to the cash euro is a delicate process,

the launching of the final stage may be seriously compromised by the ‘crisis of faith’ currently affecting public opinion, and

a strong signal must be given to the markets in order to bring about a reversal of the trend.


In view of all this, does the Commission not consider that it should ask the Governing Council, the

Executive Board and the General Council to submit to the European Parliament a detailed report on the state of the euro, in particular indicating whether it might be appropriate to revise the dates envisaged for replacing national currencies with the euro?

2. Does it consider that the staff of the ECB should be reduced from 770 to 300 people, which would

be enough to carry out the work required?


inappropriate policies, might be able to demonstrate their dissatisfaction by means of referenda?

Does the

Commission not feel that the

nations in the euro

zone, who are

the victims of

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(14 December 2000)

1. The regular reporting of the European Central Bank (ECB) vis-à-vis the Parliament provides, in the

Commission’s view, an adequate framework for addressing questions related to the euro on which the ECB is competent. The Commission considers that the appropriateness of the date for the introduction of euro banknotes and coins cannot be put in doubt.

2. The Commission does not intend to express a view on the number of staff members of the ECB.

3. The Commission considers that the euro has brought significant economic benefits to the participat-

ing Member States.