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C 235 E/196

Official Journal of the European Communities



(2001/C 235 E/230)


by Nicholas Clegg (ELDR) to the Commission

(15 February 2001)

Subject: Regulatory impact assessments

What regulatory impact assessment studies were carried out by the European Commission prior to the presentation of the Physical Agents Directive and the Electronic Waste Directive? Could the Commission make these impact assessments available? If they do exist, why were impact assessments not carried out?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(26 March 2001)

The proposals for Directives on electric and electronic waste (WEEE) and on restriction on hazardous substances in electric and electronic waste (RoHS), have been adopted on 13 June 2000 ( 1 ). An accompanying 55-page explanatory memorandum has been made available to the public ( 2 ).

This explanatory memorandum contains a detailed assessment of the justification of the proposals and reference to all the studies on which these proposals are based. Information is also contained as regards the environmental problems addressed, the internal market and international aspects, subsidiarity and propor- tionality aspects, economic assessment (benefits and costs) and consultation aspects as well as data and the scientific basis. The Annex to the explanatory memorandum contains, inter alia, a specific assessment of the impact of the proposals on business, with special reference to small and medium-sized enterprises, and also a memorandum on scientific evaluation.

( 1 ) ( 2 )

OJ C 365 E, 19.12.2000. COM(2000) 347 final.

(2001/C 235 E/231)


by Myrsini Zorba (PSE) to the Commission

(15 February 2001)

Subject: Abolition of the European Prize for Literature

The European Prize for Literature was abolished at the end of 2000 with no prior provision for its replacement.

We believe that during the five years of its existence 1995-2000 the prize made a significant contribution to mutual understanding between European nations. It gave new literary voices a chance to be heard and achieve recognition throughout the Union, voices which, under different circumstances, would have remained trapped within their linguistic confines, particularly given the dominance of the major languages on the literary market.

When and in what manner does the Commission intend to replace the European Prize for Literature, which has made a substantial contribution to promoting cultural convergence between European nations, an essential condition for political integration within the Union?

Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 2001)

European prizes for literature and translation, known as the Aristeion Prizes, were introduced in 1993 on the initiative of the Ministers responsible for Cultural Affairs ( 1 ). Decision 2085/97/EC establishing the ‘Ariane’ programme in support of books and reading, adopted on 6 October 1997 ( 2 ), noted the existence of these prizes and provided for their financing.



Official Journal of the European Communities

C 235 E/197

Contrary to the legislators’ intentions, the secretariat and organisation of the Aristeion Prizes was provided each year by that particular year’s European City of Culture, in collaboration with the Commission. This rotational system did not help to give the Prizes the high profile that had been hoped for and in fact engendered differences in management and organisational shortcomings that prevented the Prizes from becoming well-known. Furthermore, with the enlargement of the Community to 15 Member States, the participation of the EFTA countries and the applicant countries in the cultural programmes and, as from 2000, the nomination of several European Cities of Culture at a time, the system of organisation of these Prizes became obsolete.

Accordingly, once the ‘Ariane’ programme ended the Aristeion Prizes were abolished.

At present the Community, through the ‘Culture 2000’ programme, which is the single financing and programming instrument for cultural cooperation, provides for the awarding of grants for ‘Special cultural events with a European or international dimension’, including European prizes in the various cultural spheres: literature, translation, architecture, etc. In other words, instead of having the Commission organise prizes, which accords neither with the spirit of the programme nor with the principle of subsidiarity, the Council and Parliament, in the Decision establishing the ‘Culture 2000’ programme, have opted instead to encourage initiatives which correspond to the real needs of the different artistic sectors, and which above all are promoted and organised by professionals in the sphere of culture.

In 2000, for example, in connection with the implementation of the programme, the Commission chose the Mies van der Rohe Foundation for the creation of an EU contemporary architecture prize. Similar initiatives may be launched in future financial years for the creation of other cultural prizes, including prizes for literature, in accordance with Decision 508/2000/EC ( 3 ) establishing the ‘Culture 2000’ pro- gramme.

( 1 ) ( 2 ) ( 3 )

Resolution of 18 May 1989 (OJ C 183, 20.7.1989). OJ L 291, 24.10.1997. OJ L 63, 10.3.2000.

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by Juan Naranjo Escobar (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(15 February 2001)

Subject: Criticism of exclusive dealership arrangements in the automobile sector

At the recent international conference on the automobile industry held in Madrid, extensive criticism was levelled at the current vehicle distribution system, which gives too great a role to suppliers in the production line. Arguments were also put forward for a distribution system which would abolish the requirement for exclusive dealerships for individual car makes, unlike the system in force at present, and which would encourage free competition in the market.

Does the Commission believe that the existing distribution system in the automobile sector in the European Union is a barrier to free competition in the Community market? What arguments can the Commission bring to bear in favour of the new system proposed for this sector?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(23 March 2001)

The current Regulation (EC) No 1475/95 of 28 June 1995 ( 1 ) applicable to motor vehicle distribution and servicing agreements expiring on 30 September 2002, grants to the industry a block exemption from Community competition rules. In contrast to what may have been said to the Honourable Member, car manufacturers are obliged to allow their dealers to sell more than one brand, provided that dealers respect certain strict conditions specified in that Regulation ( 2 ).