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C 235 E/184 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.8.

2001

undertakes to make the application in accordance with the contract. SMEs could be saved trouble and the
Commission could be spared the need to receive and consider tens of thousands of pages of documents
each year. The time taken to process payments could be reduced from the current 60 days to 30.

Applicants should be given a single fax number or e-mail address to which all inquiries about Craft matters
could be sent, and these should be answered within seven days. The rules governing SME Specific Measures
Cooperative Research (CRAFT) should be simplified and updated.

How will the Commission improve the above situation?

Answer given by Mr Busquin on behalf of the Commission

(16 March 2001)

The Commission has already implemented steps to improve the situation with regard to several of the
issues raised by the Honourable Member, and is actively pursuing further improvements.

Concerning the time delays in notifying proposers of the evaluation results, a ‘Quick Information’
procedure was introduced in May 2000, by which proposers are informed of the results as soon as 6-8
weeks after the cut-off date.

To accommodate small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs’) contacts with the Commission’s research
programmes, a ‘Single Entry Point’ has been established. Its central help-desk is handling all requests, either
directly or by sign-posting callers to the most appropriate services for the particular issue. This help-desk
has a policy of responding within 24 hours.

With regard to the contractual deliverables of Exploratory Awards, an activity report is indeed needed to
confirm that the contractual work has been executed or, if applicable, to explain any deviations from it.
Nevertheless all efforts are made to minimise any additional work this may cause for the SMEs.

Further simplifications of SME-specific project types have a high priority in the preparation of new and
improved measures for the upcoming Sixth research and technological development framwork pro-
gramme.

(2001/C 235 E/216) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0352/01


by Karin Riis-Jørgensen (ELDR) to the Commission

(6 February 2001)

Subject: Cooperation agreement between Lufthansa and SAS

The cooperation agreement between Lufthansa and SAS was originally approved on condition that it
would benefit consumers financially. This has not happened, however, and it has instead substantially
restricted competition, as the two airlines, which formerly competed against each other, have eliminated
competition as a result of their close cooperation.

The agreement has had two disadvantages in particular, namely higher fares and fewer departures, both of
which are bad news for consumers, and thus conflicts with the whole underlying aim of the special
authorisation granted by the Commission six years ago.
21.8.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 235 E/185

Will the Commission therefore explain:

1. What its views are regarding the way cooperation between the airlines has turned out and the patently
obvious disadvantages the cooperation agreement between Lufthansa and SAS has had for consumers?

2. Whether, in the light of the disadvantages of such cooperation for consumers, it should not have
intervened long ago (even though the formal conditions of the authorisation have not been infringed)?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(22 March 2001)

On 16 January 1996, the Commission took a decision granting an exemption under Article 81(3)
(ex Article 85) of the EC Treaty for the co-operation agreement between Lufthansa and SAS until
31 October 2002. The exemption was granted under a number of conditions as set out in this decision.
These conditions were meant to facilitate entry into the routes operated jointly by Lufthansa and SAS and
included, for instance, the obligation to freeze the number of frequencies on certain routes in the case of
entry and to make sufficient slots available for new entrants.

The Commission closely follows the implementation of the co-operation agreement and the parties are
required to provide annually a number of data and other information to the Commission. Such
information includes the number of frequencies, the average price charged and the capacity at which
parties operate on a number of routes. The overall picture resulting from these data is rather mixed. While,
for instance, on some routes the number of frequencies operated by the parties have increased, on others
they have been reduced.

The Commission has no indication that the parties have not complied with the imposed conditions. The
Commission is also unaware of any change in the facts which formed the basis for deciding to grant an
exemption. Thus, there are no justifications for the Commission to withdraw the exemption.

However, the Commission takes note that so far no new entry has taken place on the routes in question.
After the expiry of the six-year period in 2002, the Commission will have a new opportunity to investigate
the effects of the co-operation agreement. The alleged effects on departures and fares and the fact that so
far no new competitor has entered the market, will certainly be taken into account in such an
investigation.

(2001/C 235 E/217) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0357/01


by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(6 February 2001)

Subject: UEFA rules in contravention of European Treaties

The European football federation (UEFA) bans clubs with financial links from playing each other in UEFA
competitions (the cup and the champions league). Ajax and Germinal Beerschot of Antwerp are probably
the first victims of this ban. On Tuesday, 16 May 2000 the Dutch club acquired a 51 % majority stake in
the Antwerp club.

Is the UEFA ban on clubs with financial links playing each other in contravention of the European
Treaties? If so, what action will the Commission take to put a stop to any contravention of the Treaties by
the UEFA ban?