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

2003

(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
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/53

described by the Honourable Member. Responding to concerns raised by a consumer, it recently


scrutinised the pricing practices of a cross-Channel ferry operator to ensure that they did not infringe
European competition rules.

It should also be noted that, in some cases, transport companies operating between two Member States
may not be allowed, by virtue of differences in national laws on promotional sales, to make a special offer
available to customers in one of those Member States. As a result of these differences in national
legislation, potential customers in the Member States with the most restrictive laws may be discriminated
against. The Commission adopted in October 2001 a proposal for a harmonisation Regulation that would
abolish restrictions on the value of bonuses and reductions and replace them with transparency
requirements ensuring that consumers are properly informed of the nature of such promotional offers.

(2003/C 137 E/060) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2215/02


by Stavros Xarchakos (PPE-DE)
and Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(22 July 2002)

Subject: Female prostitution

According to the Greek press, a report on child prostitution (drawn up by the Organisation for Security
and Cooperation in Europe in cooperation with Unicef and the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights and recently published in Sarajevo) indicated that 90 % of female
prostitutes coming from south-east European countries were victims of the white slave trade. Furthermore,
according to the International Organisation for Migration, each year over 120 000 young girls and women
seeking employment in other countries fall victim to the white slave trade. It is estimated that over 2 000
children in these circumstances have entered Greece from Albania, mostly boys and girls below the age of
12 who are ‘used’ as beggars and adolescent girls who fall victim to sexual exploitation. According to non-
governmental organisations, 80 % of all victims of human trafficking from Albania are underage girls. As
yet insufficient information is available concerning trafficking and sexual exploitation of underage boys.

Is the Commission aware of this and what are its views on the matter? Can it provide further information
concerning the dimensions of the problem? What measures has it taken, or does it intend to take to
eradicate the problem? Has it consulted the Greek authorities and what information has it obtained from
them?

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(27 September 2002)

The Commission is aware of the difficult situation as regards trafficking in human beings to, from and
through the Balkans. The specific problem of trafficking in children, including Albanian children being
trafficked to Greece, is an issue of particular concern for the Commission. Given the nature of the complex
phenomenon of trafficking, the Commission can not provide further information concerning the
dimension of the problem with trafficking in children from Albania.

The matter of trafficking in human beings has been raised in several fora, e.g. the High Level Steering
Group of June last year that in its conclusions urges for a greater determination to tackle the problem if
Albania is to demonstrate that it shares the political and human values of the Union and is able to manage
its borders effectively. The matter is also included in the Stabilisation and Association report on Albania
adopted by the Commission in April 2002. Furthermore, the Union, and the Commission in particular,
participate actively in the workings of the multilateral organisations concerned to monitor and address the