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C 52 E/52 Official Journal of the European Union EN 6.3.


Since levies on manufacturing (‘excise’ duties) are characteristically imposed on industrial products, does
not the Commission consider that the fruits of the earth and agricultural products in general should not be
hit by such objectionable levies?

Does it not consider that, not least after enlargement, the new levy would seriously damage the economy
of this sector further, precisely in those regions which will have fewer opportunities to use structural

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-1245/02 and E-1262/02
given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(20 June 2002)

Council Directive 92/84/EEC, of 19 October 1992, deals with the approximation of rates of excise duty on
alcohol and alcoholic beverages (1). Under its provisions it is necessary for the excise duty rates laid down
in that Directive to be reviewed periodically by the Council. This review shall be based upon a
Commission report taking into account all relevant issues. At present, the Commission is preparing such a
report that might be accompanied by a proposal, if appropriate.

Since the Commission has not yet taken a decision on the subject, it is not possible to comment on its

As regards the question of ‘double taxation’, it has to be stated that the supply of excisable products is, as a
rule, also subject to VAT. Moreover, excise duties are part of the basis of calculation of VAT.

(1) OJ L 316, 31.10.1992.

(2003/C 52 E/061) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1247/02

by Anne Van Lancker (PSE) to the Commission

(24 April 2002)

Subject: Availability of studies and reports produced with European funding

Through various action programmes the Commission provides funds to support European policy in the
Member States. In this way not only Member States but also other authorities and bodies receive European
public funds to produce studies and reports on their policy on such subjects as employment and the fight
against social exclusion. In many cases these studies are not available to the public.

Is the Commission prepared, when granting financial support to produce reports of this kind, to require
the beneficiaries to ensure that studies financed from European public funds must be made available to the

Supplementary answer
given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(31 October 2002)

The Commission would like to confirm that, in certain sectors (structural funds, trans-European networks,
statistics, justice and home affairs), studies and reports funded from the Community budget are produced
at the request of national authorities without the involvement of the Commission. In line with the general
financing agreements, these studies and reports remain the property of the Member States which are the
beneficiaries of the subsidies granted. It is therefore up to these national authorities to ensure distribution
or access where appropriate.
6.3.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 52 E/53

In accordance with the aforementioned agreements, the Commission automatically receives either a full
copy or a summary of such studies and reports. Once they are in the possession of the Commission, these
copies or summaries are covered by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the
Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission
documents (1).

At a more general level, the Commission shares the Honourable Member’s concern for transparency and
tries to ensure that the results of studies funded from the Community budget are distributed as widely as
possible. In view of the diversity of the areas affected, and in order to avoid imposing additional costs and
administrative constraints, to date the Commission has preferred not to make it compulsory to publish and
distribute the studies concerned. In addition, some studies might be covered by the exemptions provided
for by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 while others might be of only local interest or concern a specific

In some cases, and notably in the area of research, priority is given to exploiting and disseminating results.
Furthermore, several Directorates-General include the results of studies and reports on their websites or in
their publications. The Office for Official Publications of the European Communities is currently working
on the creation of a central Internet portal which will be geared specifically to studies and reports of
interest to a highly specialised public. The Commission supports initiatives aimed at ensuring transparency
and facilitating access to studies and reports.

(1) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001.

(2003/C 52 E/062) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1251/02

by Werner Langen (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(6 May 2002)

Subject: VAT rates in the hotel trade

In all the Euro zone countries except Germany, reduced rates of VAT apply to the hotel trade. In Germany,
however, the full 16 % is levied.

Can the Commission answer the following:

1. How are hotel turnovers actually taxed in the EU Member States, in terms both of amounts and of

2. Might it be possible to introduce a uniform rate of VAT for hotel turnovers in the EU?

3. What are the arguments for and against approximating VAT rates for hotel turnovers in the EU?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(27 June 2002)

Under current Community law on VAT (Article 12(3) of Sixth Council Directive 77/388/EEC of
17 May 1977 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes 
Common system of value added tax: uniform basis of assessment (1)), the standard minimum rate of 15 % is
applicable to the supply of goods and to the supply of services.

However, Member States also have the option of applying either one or two reduced rates. Reduced rates
are fixed as a percentage of the taxable amount, which may not be less than 5 %, and apply only to
supplies of the categories of goods and services specified in Annex H to the Sixth VAT Directive.