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C 137 E/34 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

(2003/C 137 E/038) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1890/02


by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(1 July 2002)

Subject: Regional coding of DVD players

Following my written questions regarding the regional coding of DVD players in June 2000 (E-1509/00,
E-1510/00 (1)) and the decision to investigate this further in June 2001, could the Commission please
provide an update on work being carried out on this subject and any advances that have been made.

(1) OJ C 53 E, 20.2.2001, pp. 157-158.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(6 September 2002)

As the Honourable Member is aware, the Commission opened an investigation into the digital video disc
(DVD) regional coding system in June 2001. The position of the major film production companies is that
the basic purpose of this system is to allow them to protect their copyrighted intellectual property and the
traditional pattern of releasing their films at different times in different parts of the world, as well as to
protect against piracy.

The Commission understands the Honourable Member’s concerns (as outlined in his written question
E-1510/00) that this system may prevent consumers from benefiting from DVDs at potentially cheaper
prices. In the course of its investigation, the Commission has obtained significant amounts of information
relating to the establishment and ongoing operation of the regional coding system from a broad range of
film studios, DVD equipment manufacturers, and commercial retailers. The Commission is now
completing its analysis of the file with a view to ascertaining the system’s compatibility with the
Community competition rules.

(2003/C 137 E/039) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1897/02


by Brice Hortefeux (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(1 July 2002)

Subject: Competitiveness

According to figures published in the annual report on competitiveness, the gap in relation to the United
States is steadily widening, which suggests that the European Union is liable not to achieve the economic
objectives set in the Lisbon strategy, i.e. the aim of becoming the most dynamic area in 2010.

EU labour productivity was 0,5 % in 2001, whereas it is 1,2 % in the US despite the recession.
The European Union is particularly lagging behind in the information and communication technologies
sector. It is also faced with a worrying shortage of skills. Educational standards are no doubt rising among
European citizens, but not rapidly enough in comparison with the United States and Japan.

In view of these alarming developments, what strategy can the Commission adopt to help remedy the
shortcomings and reverse this negative trend?