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C 110 E/70 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.


organised the Citizens’ Network Benchmarking Initiative, under which authorities and operators studied
good examples of integration in cities like Madrid and Prague. It has supported the development of new
services that using mobile telephones and the internet to provide travel information on the move, tailored
to individuals’ needs and updated in real time.

The Commission will continue to develop these practical tools, and shares the view that in some cases, a
higher level of encouragement or obligation is needed. This is mainly a matter for Member States. The
Community has a role to play in addressing such quality problems where poor standards in one Member
State impede people from another; or where it is important to reinforce public service objectives alongside
market opening in ‘network industries’ like electricity, gas, telecommunications, postal services and public

Accordingly, in its proposal for a Regulation on public services in public transport (2), the Commission has
proposed quality factors that all authorities will be required to take into account  including ticketing and
information  as well as minimum requirements for the information that all operators must make

Later this year, the Commission plans to propose a Regulation on customer rights in passenger rail. This
will address the question of how long distance rail travellers get information and tickets for public
transport in their cities of destination.

The Commission is launching a study of integration in public transport, to report before the end of 2003.
It will cover ticketing and information.

It will examine whether there is a need for Community action to secure adequate standards.

These measures support the Community’s objective of promoting sustainable tourism and offering tourists
alternatives to the use of the car, by encouraging transport companies, tour operators, tourist attractions,
tourism businesses and tourist information services to work together to manage the quality of tourist

The Commission believes that the idea of a standard public transport ticketing and information package
has merit. It wishes to examine it further  recognising that an international standard would need to leave
room for authorities to take account of local conditions and regional or national standards. It will ensure
that this happens as part of the study of integration in public transport.

(2) OJ C 151 E, 25.6.2002.

(2003/C 110 E/073) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2578/02

by Kathalijne Buitenweg (Verts/ALE)
and Monica Frassoni (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(16 September 2002)

Subject: Racism and xenophobia: sale in petrol stations and tourist shops in Italy of bottles of wine with
labels bearing photos of Hitler and Mussolini and Nazi slogans

We fairly regularly receive reports from citizens shocked about bottles of wine being sold in shops in Italy.
The bottles concerned carry labels with pictures of Hitler and Mussolini and slogans such as ‘Ein Volk, ein
Reich, ein Führer!’, ‘Blut und Ehre’ and ‘Führerwein’.

They are not being sold on the black market, but in tourist shops and petrol station shops. The most
recent report we received was of bottles of wine being sold at Agip and Q8 petrol stations in the Trento
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/71

Insofar as we have been able to ascertain, the spreading of propaganda of this kind is prohibited under
Italian law, but in practice action is not always taken by the Italian judicial authorities. This was confirmed
by an ECRI report on the situation in Italy published on 23 April.

The Justice and Home Affairs Council is currently considering a proposal submitted by the Commission for
a framework decision on combating racism and xenophobia (1).

1. Does the Commission intend propaganda of the kind described above to come under the definitions
in the proposed Articles 3 and 4 (in particular 4(e))?

2. Does the Commission agree that material of this kind is prohibited in Italy but that such cases are
not being very actively prosecuted? Did the Commission observe this to be the case when investigating the
situation in the Member States prior to drawing up the proposal? Does this problem also occur in other
Member States?

3. Does the Commission have grounds for believing that implementation of the framework decision
(assuming that the proposed definitions are not amended) will give a new impetus to prosecution? What
can and will the Commission do to prevent the framework decision and national (implementing)
legislation from remaining a dead letter as far as this kind of propaganda is concerned?

(1) COM(01) 664  OJ C 75 E, 26.3.2002, p. 269.

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(30 October 2002)

The Commission roundly condemns all forms of racist, xenophobic or anti-Semitic behaviour, which
constitutes an intolerable violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms on which the Union is
based and which are common to all the Member States. It reiterates its commitment to combating racist,
xenophobic and anti-Semitic phenomena by all the means provided for in the Treaties.

At Union level, on 15 July 1996 the Council adopted a Joint Action concerning action to combat racism
and xenophobia (1), based on Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union. The Joint Action stressed the
need to prevent the perpetrators of such offences from taking advantage of the fact that treatment varies
between Member States by moving from one Member State to another in order to escape prosecution. The
Member States were asked to ensure that certain types of racist and xenophobic behaviour listed in the
Joint Action be penalised or, alternatively, pending the adoption of the necessary provisions, to derogate
from the principle of double prosecution for these offences. The offences listed in the Joint Action include
the public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material containing expressions of
racism and xenophobia.

In November 2001 the Commission adopted a Proposal for a Council Framework Decision on combating
racism and xenophobia (2), which is currently under discussion in the Council. Article 4(e) of the proposal,
which concerns the public dissemination or distribution of tracts, pictures or other material containing
expressions of racism and xenophobia, would be applicable in the case presented here.

As regards prosecution of these offences, the Commission proposal also contains a provision (Article 11)
stipulating that each Member State ought to ensure that investigations into or prosecution of offences
referred to in Articles 4 and 5 are not dependent on the report or accusation made by a victim of the
offence, at least in cases where offences referred to in Articles 4 and 5 (including Article 4(e)) have been

The Commission has no specific information regarding the situation described by the Honourable Member
or similar situations in other Member States. However, it can confirm that, according to the information at
its disposal, the dissemination of the emblems and symbols of organisations and associations which
advocate discrimination or violence on the basis of race, ethnic identity or religion is an offence under
Italian criminal law.

(1) OJ L 185, 24.7.1996.

(2) OJ C 75 E, 26.3.2002.