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C 137 E/40 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.


Because of the lack of the competence there is no Community law concerning a right to vote to third
country nationals or relation between a ‘green card’ and voting rights.

The Community law does not prevent a Member State from deciding to grant citizens of non-Union
countries resident in that Member State the right to vote in elections. The Commission is aware that
certain Member States like for example Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden have granted the
right to vote also to certain non-Union citizens in certain elections. However because this is not a matter
for the Commission, it does not have comprehensive information as regards elections, exact persons
having the voting right or conditions to vote at its disposal.

(1) Council Directive 94/80/EC of 19 December 1994, laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right
to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections by citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of
which they are not nationals  OJ L 368, 31.12.1994.

(2003/C 137 E/045) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2020/02

by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission
(9 July 2002)

Subject: Survey concerning the beer market in Portugal

About a year ago the Commission department responsible for competition launched a public survey
concerning the supposed cartelisation of the Portuguese beer market by the country’s two main producers.

The results of the survey, which was widely publicised in all the media and constituted a campaign of
unheard-of proportions, have not yet been published in Portugal.

Can the Commission say why?

Can the Commission say why it decided to do this in this particular sector in Portugal, and has never done
so in any other sector in the country?

Can the Commission say when it intends to explain its actions to Portuguese public opinion?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(5 August 2002)

The Honourable Member refers to the investigation by the Commission into an alleged cartel in the
Portuguese brewing sector. This investigation started by means of verifications pursuant to Article 14(3) of
the EEC Council Regulation No 17: First Regulation implementing Articles 85 and 86 of the Treaty (1) in
the premises of the two leading Portuguese brewers and their national association. These verifications took
place on 17 and 18 January 2001. The Commission officials were assisted by representatives of the
Portuguese competition authority.

1. and 3. In this case, the Commission is still in the fact-finding stage. They assess the numerous
documents copied during the verifications as well as the companies’ replies to further requests for
information. Should the Commission come to the provisional conclusion that the companies have
infringed the competition rules, it will issue a statement of objections and the companies will have the
possibility to make their opinion known in writing and at a oral hearing. In view of the above procedural
constraints which aim at preserving due process for the companies concerned, the Commission is at this
stage not in position to indicate whether and if so, when, it will take a formal decision and inform the
public at large about its findings.

2. The Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to its annual reports on competition
policy to find numerous sectors outside the brewery industry where the Commission has fined companies
for their participation in cartels.

(1) OJ P 13, 21.2.1962, Portuguese version: Chapter 8, Tome 1, p. 22.