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C 110 E/32 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

Would the Commission not agree that moves of this kind must be seen as a form of ‘creative accounting’
aimed at increasing or concealing the size of a public debt which is already extremely high in Italy, to an
extent that is incompatible with the Stability Pact criteria?

In connection with another extremely serious aspect of this matter  namely the danger that the world’s
most extraordinary historic, artistic and natural heritage might be broken up, at least in part  the Italian
President asked the Prime Minister for assurances as to its protection and for the relevant laws to be
tightened up. In his reply of 2 July 2002 the Prime Minister, Mr Berlusconi, acknowledged the basic
constitutional requirement to protect the heritage but rejected the request for further legislation to regulate
the activities of the two companies that had been set up.

Given the widespread alarm that the government’s attitude and these legislative initiatives have caused in
cultural circles, would the Commission not agree that it should ask the Italian Government for an
explanation, in the light of the provisions of Title XII of the EC Treaty (Article 151), the European
Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage and the Convention for the Protection of the
Architectural Heritage of Europe?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission


(15 October 2002)

The question refers to legislation recently adopted by the Italian parliament and setting up two institutions,
‘Patrimonio SpA’ and ‘Infrastrutture SpA’.

Under the Stability and Growth Pact, all Member States are committed ‘to adhere to the medium-term
objective of budgetary positions close to balance or in surplus’.

The budgetary position is defined in terms of the general government deficit, in accordance with Council
Regulation (EC) No 2223/96 of 25 June 1996 on the European system of national and regional accounts
in the Community (1) (also known as ‘ESA 95’) and with Council Regulation (EC) No 3605/93 of
22 November 1993 on the application of the Protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the
Treaty establishing the Community (2) (as amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 351/2002 of
25 February 2002 (3)).

Eurostat is currently scrutinising the nature of the operations to be carried out by these institutions and
will pass judgment on their treatment in the government accounts once the institutions start operating.

Article 151 (former Article 128) of the EC Treaty empowers the Community to take action to encourage
cooperation between the Member States in cultural matters. The question put by the Honourable Member
does not fall under the Community’s jurisdiction but, in line with the subsidiarity principle, is a matter
solely for the Member State in question.

Moreover, the Union is not party to the European Cultural Convention of 19 December 1954 or the
Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe of 3 October 1985; thus it is not for
the Commission to look into any infringements.

(1) OJ L 310, 30.11.1996.


(2) OJ L 332, 31.12.1993.
(3) OJ L 55, 26.2.2002.

(2003/C 110 E/031) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2133/02


by Bartho Pronk (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(17 July 2002)

Subject: Discrimination against international football referees on grounds of age

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) chooses referees for international football matches
from a list compiled by the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA). Article 4 of FIFA’s
rules for international referees stipulates that referees and their assistants must not be older than 45 on
1 January of the year in which they are appointed. Article 4 also stipulates that they must pass a fitness
test and that national organisations are to give FIFA an indication of the quality of the referee or assistant
referee concerned. Irrespective of the legal aspect of the matter, the point of having an age limit is open to
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/33

question if a referee is able to pass the physical fitness test and his performance is adequate. Amsterdam
Court of Appeal has declared a similar age limit for professional referees illegal partly on this ground (Case
no 1034/99, 13 January 2000). It is worth noting that this issue particularly concerns matches played in
the EU with employees from the EU acting as referees or assistant referees.

1. Does not this discrimination on grounds of age violate European law, including Articles 13 and 136
of the Treaty?

2. Both EUFA and FIFA are based in Switzerland. Can UEFA justify its actions by invoking Swiss law
and FIFA guidelines, despite the fact that UEFA decisions and policies have major consequences for an
important sector of the economy in the EU?

3. To what extent is FIFA subject to the provisions of treaties between the EU and Switzerland?

Answer given by Mrs. Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(12 September 2002)

Article 13 of the EC Treaty establishing the European Community enables the Council to take appropriate
action to combat discrimination on a range of grounds, including age. Based on this article, Council
Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal treatment in
employment and occupation (1) prohibits discrimination in employment on grounds of, inter alia, age and
must be transposed into national law by 2 December 2003. In addition, Member States may, if necessary,
have an additional period of three years from 2 December 2003 to implement the provisions of the
Directive on age and disability discrimination. The prohibition of age discrimination laid down in the
Directive has therefore not yet come into force in the Member States.

The Directive does not require the recruitment, promotion, maintenance in employment or training of an
individual who is not competent, capable and available to perform the essential functions of the post
concerned or to undergo the relevant training. Moreover, the Directive provides that there is no breach of
the principle of equal treatment if the difference of treatment, on grounds of age, is objectively and
reasonably justified by a legitimate aim and if the means of achieving that aim are appropriate and
necessary. The Directive goes on to provide a non-exhaustive list of examples of situations where such
differences of treatment may be so justified, though none of these relates to the use of a blanket age limit
as a guide to physical fitness or ability. The Commission believes that where a certain level of physical
fitness is required to carry out a particular job, appropriate tests may be used in the selection of candidates.
The use of fixed age limits could only be used where they were objectively and reasonably justified by a
legitimate aim, be it physical fitness or any other. The justification would need to be assessed on a case by
case basis.

The Court of Justice has made clear in previous rulings (e.g. Walrave [1974] ECR, 1405, para. 28) that
Community law applies to the rules laid down by organisations based outside the Community when they
take effect within the Community. The place where the Union or European Football Associations/
International Federation of Football Associations (UEFA/FIFA) is based is not relevant in this respect.

(1) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000.

(2003/C 110 E/032) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2165/02


by Daniel Hannan (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(18 July 2002)

Subject: Unpaid workers

How many unpaid workers does the Commission employ? How many people working in the Commission
earn less than the minimum wage in their own country?