You are on page 1of 2

21.8.2001

EN
EN

Official Journal of the European Communities

C 235 E/245

(2001/C 235 E/288)

WRITTEN QUESTION P-0753/01

by Giovanni Procacci (ELDR) to the Commission

(7 March 2001)

Subject: Management of public procurement in Italy in the area of road crash barriers

The regulations in force in Italy governing the official approval of crash barriers, in particular the decree of 18 February 1992 No 223 issued by the Minister for Public Works, as amended by the decrees of 15 October 1996, 3 June 1998 and 11 June 1999, do not yet incorporate the European standards approved by the CEN in April 1998, which should have been implemented by Italy before October 1998.

Article 4 of the ministerial decree was preceded (about six months earlier) by a circular issued by ANAS (State Autonomous Road Company) allowing the issuers of calls for tenders to request data relating to crash tests carried out by one of the only two institutes authorised to perform such tests. Tenders which fail to supply such data are disqualified. As a result, qualified small- and medium-sized businesses with a proven record are not free to take part in the tendering process since they must first provide crash test results which they are sometimes obliged to purchase at considerable expense from the few companies that hold crash test results. Furthermore, these companies decide, at their discretion and on the basis of the value of the contract, whether or not to provide crash test data, thereby selecting who may or may not take part in the tendering process.

Can the Commission:

1. say whether the ministerial decree in question complies with European regulations;

2. investigate whether the conditions exist for free and fair competition in the management of public contracts in the road crash barrier sector in Italy, in order to avoid monopoly situations which lead to the bankruptcy and disappearance of many small- and medium-sized companies in the sector?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(2 April 2001)

The Commission is aware of the matter raised by the honourable Member. On 6 December 2000 it sent the Italian authorities a letter asking for information, so that it would have the facts that would allow it to assess the compliance of the Italian regulations on crash barrier approval with requirements under Community law.

The matter was also discussed at a meeting with the Italian authorities in Rome on 19 December 2000. The authorities assured the Commission at that time that they would collaborate fully in providing the information that was sought in connection with this matter.

(2001/C 235 E/289)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-0779/01

by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(13 March 2001)

Subject: Language discrimination in the European Union

In its reply to Written Question E-4100/00 ( 1 ), the Commission says that Community rules on the freedom of movement of workers prohibit not only discrimination on grounds of nationality but also covert discrimination which in effect produces the same result if apparently neutral criteria are applied.

However, the Commission believes that there is no discrimination if requirements concerning knowledge of languages are based on the nature of the vacancy to be filled. Accordingly, in some situations it may be legitimate to require candidates to have a very high standard of knowledge of languages.

C 235 E/246

Official Journal of the European Communities

EN
EN

21.8.2001

Referring to case C-281/98 (… the fact that it is impossible to submit proof of the required linguistic knowledge by any other means … must be considered disproportionate in relation to the aim in view) fails to address the fundamental question raised in E-4100/00.

It is not clear from the Commission’s reply whether the native speaker criterion is an infringement of the non-discrimination clause. Furthermore, case C-281/98 was not concerned with this criterion but with the requirements for possession of a language certificate.

In the Commission’s view:

1. Is the native speaker criterion for staff recruitment in the Member States of the European Union

a violation of the principle of non-discrimination? If not, how does the Commission reconcile this condition with the principle of non-discrimination?

2. Is the native speaker criterion for staff recruitment in the Member States of the European Union

a violation of the freedom of movement of workers in the Community? If not, how does the

Commission reconcile this condition with the freedom of movement of workers in the Community?

( 1 )

OJ C 174 E, 19.6.2001.

Answer given by Ms Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(18 April 2001)

As was pointed out in the Commission’s answer to Written Question E-4100/00 from the Honourable Member ( 1 ), in certain situations, depending on the nature of the post to be filled, it may be justified to require applicants for a job to have a very high standard of knowledge of languages.

However, the fact that it is impossible to submit proof of this knowledge of languages by any other means than that the applicant is a native speaker of the language concerned could be considered disproportionate in relation to the aim in view.

It follows that the native speaker criterion could be considered to be discriminatory and thus incompatible with the Community rules on the freedom of movement of workers in the Community.

( 1 )

OJ C 174 E, 19.6.2001.

(2001/C 235 E/290)

WRITTEN QUESTION P-0783/01

by Brian Crowley (UEN) to the Commission

(7 March 2001)

Subject: Moving to international exhaustion for trade marks

As the Commission is aware, the European Parliament has expressed its support for continuing work on exhaustion of trade marks. Many Member States have also called on the Commission to carry out further work on this issue in the belief that the existing regime of ‘Community’ exhaustion allows companies to charge higher prices to Europeans than they do elsewhere. Does the Commission share the view that the introduction of ‘international’ exhaustion could be to the benefit of the consumer by leading to lower prices, for example, in such key consumer sectors as clothing, footwear and sports goods, that it would be consistent with the increasing globalisation of trade and the growing use of e-commerce and will the Commission therefore reconsider its decision not to make proposals for changing the trade mark regime?