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C 110 E/136 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

Does the Commission not consider that the exclusive sale by pharmacies of over-the-counter drugs, which
could be sold via other channels, and the fixing of quotas on pharmacy numbers in order to guarantee the
income levels of pharmacists, are blatant examples of distortion of competition rules?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(12 December 2002)

The Commission notes first of all that the Honourable Member’s questions concern issues of a general
nature which involve most Member States. As it has already stated in answer to a previous written
question on the monopolistic system of regulating chemists’ shops in Italy (1), the Commission is of the
opinion that national measures such as the monopoly position enjoyed by chemists for sales of over-the-
counter medicinal products, and geographic and demographic criteria determining the opening of
chemists’ shops, ‘are not contrary to the principle of freedom of establishment provided for in Article 43 of
the EC Treaty insofar as they are applied in a non-discriminatory manner and are in proportion to their
purpose’.

The Commission is also of the opinion that according to the relevant case law of the Court of Justice (2),
allowing a product to be sold exclusively by pharmacies would not prevent access to the national market
of pharmaceuticals from other Member States and would not, therefore, infringe Article 28 of the EC
Treaty. This also applies to the limiting of the number of pharmacies and their national distribution, unless
their distribution is likely to compromise the satisfactory supply of pharmaceuticals to consumers, in
which case they could prove incompatible with Articles 28 to 30 of the EC Treaty.

However, the Commission needs more information in order to make a full analysis of the various rules on
this subject, particularly from the points of view of Articles 28, 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty. It therefore
intends to send a request for information soon to the Italian authorities specifically regarding the points
mentioned by the Honourable Member.

As regards the application of competition rules, even though on the surface it might appear that the
measures referred to constitute unfair competition, Community competition rules do not apply. Article 81
of the EC Treaty would apply only if the practices referred to by the Honourable Member resulted from
the independent decisions or agreements of the Order of Pharmacists, which is not the case. As for
Article 82 of the EC Treaty, it would have to be shown that pharmacists are collectively in a dominant
position. However, given that the structural links between them are insufficient, pharmacists cannot be
considered as occupying a collective dominant position within the meaning of Article 82 of the EC Treaty.

In any event, the Commission is aware of the situation identified by the Honourable Member and will
continue to monitor developments. The Commission will, in particular, take action against any conduct
contrary to Articles 81 and 82 of the EC Treaty.

(1) See the Commission’s answer to written question E-3247/98 by Mr Caccavale, OJ L 320, 6.11.1999.
(2) Judgment of 29.6.1995.

(2003/C 110 E/155) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2965/02


by Konstantinos Hatzidakis (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Television station providing information to farmers

Funds were made available under the Second Community Support Framework and on the initiative of the
Greek Minister for Agriculture to set up a television station designed to provide Greek farmers with
information relating to their work.
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/137

Since, to my knowledge, no such station is operating as yet, will the Commission say:

1. What amount of funding was provided, and when, for the operation of the station?

2. Why the station is not in operation and what developments there have been in this respect?

3. Whether it is satisfied with the management of the funds concerned and, if not, what steps it will take
to ensure transparency in the administration of those funds?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(29 November 2002)

1. A pilot action was planned within the context of the ‘National Operational Programme 
Development of the Agricultural Sector’ under the 2nd Community Support Framework (1994-2000) for
Greece, concerning the digitalisation of the Ministry of Agriculture’s existent data on rural development
and the purchase of a limited number of decoders. This action was implemented by the Ministry of
agriculture after great delays only in the summer of 2001.

2. The creation of a station and the establishment of a rural television development programme,
including the purchase of 20 000 decoders and satellite antennas (10 000 for collective entities and 10 000
for a selected group of individuals) was proposed by the Ministry of Agriculture during the 3rd
Community Support Framework within the context of the ‘National Operational Programme  Rural
Development (2000-2006)’. Already at an early stage, this action faced major programming and
implementing difficulties and was withdrawn from the programme upon the Commission’s request in
spring 2002. No expenditure has been made for this action during the 3rd CSF. The corresponding
measure will be eliminated from the ‘National Operational Programme  Rural Development (2000-2006)’
while the initial amount foreseen for this action will be reallocated in other actions within the context of
the modification of the programme that is already underway.

3. The Commission will consider the outcome and management by the Ministry of agriculture of the
first pilot action on digitalisation and will decide on the financial follow-up within the context of the final
report of the ‘National Operational Programme  Development of the Agricultural Sector’, which has not
yet been submitted by the Greek authorities and the closure of the 2nd Community Support Framework
(1994-1999) for Greece.

(2003/C 110 E/156) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2968/02


by Jens-Peter Bonde (EDD) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Open competition COM/A/6/01  Administrators (A7/A6) in the fields of external relations and
management aid to non-member countries

Could the Commission answer the following points regarding the recruitment competition COM/A/6/01
and in particular specify:

 How many candidates were finally included in the reserve list?

 How many citizens from each Member State were finally included in the reserve list?

 How many candidates that have or have had a contract with the European Commission or any other
EU Institution came to the interview (exam f)?

 How many candidates that have or have had a contract with the European Commission or any other
EU Institution were finally included in the reserve list? (Please specify for each Member State.)