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C 137 E/52 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.


(2003/C 137 E/058) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2202/02

by Avril Doyle (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(22 July 2002)

Subject: Caroline Lee

Will the Commission ask the French authorities to ensure that an investigation is carried out as a matter of
urgency into the death in suspicious circumstances of an Irish girl and former jockey, Caroline Lee, on
30 November 2000 in Coye-le-Foret, Chantilly, as justice delayed is justice denied?

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(3 September 2002)

The Commission is sorry to hear about the death of Caroline Lee. It is not, however, the role of the
Commission to intervene in such cases. Any investigation is a matter for the French authorities.

(2003/C 137 E/059) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2205/02

by Michael Cashman (PSE) to the Commission

(12 July 2002)

Subject: Price disparity in the travel sector

When air fares are being booked within the EU (to EU and non-EU destinations), the price for the same
flight(s), using the same booking facilities, often varies according to the country in which the payee is
domiciled or where the booking is made.

When booking with a ferry company in the EU, customers are asked if they are resident in the country in
which they are making the booking and are sometimes asked for an address.

Could the Commission state whether this practice contravenes EU policy and could be classed as a barrier
to competition?

Could the Commission outline what steps are being taken to investigate the legality of this practice, how
widespread it is within the travel sector, and what is being done to put an end to it?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(16 September 2002)

The pricing practices described by the Honourable Member might, in certain specific circumstances,
constitute an infringement of European competition rules.

If a company limited some of its fare offers purely on the basis of the payee’s country or residence, it
would effectively be charging different prices for identical services. In certain circumstances, this might be
incompatible with European competition rules. This would be the case if the company had a dominant
position on the route in question, if transport companies had agreed between themselves to apply a
pricing policy of this type or if a transport company prevented its distributors from selling a certain
category of ticket outside the Member State in which they were based.

The Commission is carrying out a careful examination of these practices. In the airline industry, it is
looking into the rules of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) governing the conditions
which travel agents must satisfy in order to gain IATA accreditation and to issue tickets on that basis. In
the maritime sector, it has on several occasions examined pricing and reservation practices of the type