You are on page 1of 2

C 110 E/158 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

A survey conducted by the European Commission has revealed that the volume of counterfeit products
placed on the EU market increased by 39 % in the period 2000-2001.

Could the Commission therefore indicate:

1. What instruments it will adopt to intercept counterfeit products at the EU’s external borders?

2. Whether all the requisite preventive measures to combat fraud have been adopted, as is laid down in
Article 280 of the EC Treaty?

3. Whether any initiatives to harmonise European legislation in the field of the protection of industrial
and commercial property rights are envisaged?

(2003/C 110 E/178) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3070/02


by Roberta Angelilli (UEN) to the Commission

(25 October 2002)

Subject: Counterfeiting of Italian fashion wear

In recent years the counterfeiting of Italian fashion wear has attained frightening proportions. In their two
latest actions alone, which were conducted last summer as part of the ‘Vie Libere’ operation, the Italian
state police seized 48 000 counterfeit articles of clothing. This phenomenon threatens to drive many Italian
companies out of business, as they have seen their profits shrink and have lost market share. A figure of
between two and five million euros has been estimated, with a loss to the Italian treasury of 8,2 % in
income tax and 21,3 % in VAT.

It is becoming increasingly common to find the counterfeited versions of the products sold in bona fide
shops for sale nearby at drastically lower prices.

A survey conducted by the European Commission has revealed that the volume of counterfeit products
placed on the EU market increased by 39 % in the period 2000-2001, and that these had an overall value
of two billion euros.

Could the Commission therefore indicate:

1. What instruments it will adopt to intercept counterfeit products at the EU’s external borders?

2. Whether all the requisite preventive measures to combat fraud have been adopted, as is laid down in
Article 280 of the EC Treaty?

3. Whether any initiatives to harmonise European legislation in the field of the protection of industrial
and commercial property rights are envisaged?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-3069/02 and E-3070/02
given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(19 December 2002)

It is true that the counterfeiting and piracy of goods protected by intellectual property rights currently pose
a major problem for both producers and consumers throughout the EU.

1. The Commission attaches very great importance to protecting intellectual property rights both within
the Union and at its external borders. In view of the 39 % increase in the volume of counterfeit and pirated
goods intercepted by customs administrations at the external borders, and which are listed in the 2001
report, coupled with very strong pressure from economic operators, the Commission has prepared a
proposal for a draft Community regulation aiming to improve customs controls in order to combat
counterfeiting and piracy at the EU’s external borders.
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/159

The Commission is also continuing to work closely with the Member States and right holders on customs
checks at the Community’s external borders by means of operational measures.

2. The European Commission’s European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is responsible for managing the
Customs Information System (CIS) established by Regulation 515/97 on customs cooperation. This system
will become operational from 15 January 2003 and will also be used to combat counterfeiting at the
external borders through mutual assistance between the customs authorities and OLAF. The Commission
also intends to propose a regulation on administrative cooperation between all the competent national
authorities and the Commission (OLAF), as provided for in particular by the Commission’s overall anti-
fraud strategy of 28 June 2000.

3. After the development over the years of a broad set of legal provisions on substantive intellectual
property law (including patents, trade marks, designs and copyright), the Commission is currently
preparing a proposal for a directive harmonising the means of enforcing all types of intellectual property
rights in the Union which should be adopted early in 2003. This initiative was announced in the
Commission Communication entitled ‘Follow-up to the Green Paper on combating counterfeiting and
piracy in the single market’ of 30 November 2000 (1).

Efforts must also be made to raise awareness among all those involved and to mobilise them in combating
these phenomena, in particular through preventive measures upstream. For this reason the Commission
intends to address this issue in the near future at a meeting of the forum on the prevention of organised
crime.

(1) COM(2000) 789 final.

(2003/C 110 E/179) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3074/02


by Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Towards sustainable agriculture for developing countries  conference to be held by the
Commission’s Research D-G, 30-31 January 2003

As announced on its Research D-G’s Internet pages, the Commission intends to hold a conference with the
title: ‘Towards sustainable agriculture for developing countries: options from life sciences and biotech-
nologies’, on 30 and 31 January 2003.

On what legal basis (programme, budget line) is this conference being held, and at what overall cost?

What preparations have been made in terms, in particular, of European Parliament participation, content
selection and substantive inclusion of risk analyses?

How, and by what criteria, were contributors, contributions and participants selected?

Answer given by Mr Busquin on behalf of the Commission

(19 November 2002)

The conference ‘Towards Sustainable Agriculture for Developing Countries: Options from life Sciences and
Biotechnologies’ is organised as a ‘Life Sciences Discussion Platform’, to allow an open and inclusive debate
on the potential for life sciences to provide new insights into persistent problems that affect our modern
society.

The budgetary line to support this conference is the one of the ‘Quality of Life’ Programme, under the Fifth
Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (RTD). The cost to be borne by the
Commission is estimated to amount to EUR 600 000, within the same range as the cost incurred by earlier
similar events. The Commission, through Directorate General (DG) Research and several associated DGs, is
therefore taking responsibility for the overall organisation. The programme has been designed by the
European group of Life Sciences (EGLS).