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12.6.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/63

Reply
(6 February 2003)

The Council has no knowledge of the facts referred to by the Honourable Member.

In general, the Council fully supports the UN’s efforts, whether undertaken at its New York headquarters or
in the field through Minurso. It notes that the United Nations Security Council has decided to extend the
mandate of Minurso until 31 January 2003. In this connection, it encourages any confidence-building
contacts between the Parties, including at the human level, aimed at reaching a lasting solution that fully
respects human rights. It encourages Morocco to continue the efforts it has made to comply with human
rights, including civil rights, in Western Sahara and to go on cooperating with the ICRC to try to
determine the whereabouts of ‘disappeared’ Sahrawis.

(2003/C 137 E/071) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2261/02


by Ari Vatanen (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(17 July 2002)

Subject: Leasing of motor vehicles: Does Case C-451/99 mean that Finland is likewise not permitted to levy
motor vehicle tax other than for the period of the lease?

Case C-451/99 of the Court of Justice of the European Communities concerned the following matter:
an Austrian business brought a leased motor vehicle into Austria from Germany, but was required to
reregister the vehicle within three days and pay the environmentally based motor vehicle tax in its entirety.
Giving judgment on 21 March 2002, the Court of Justice ruled that an EU Member State must not prevent
the conclusion of a lease contract with a leasing company operating in another Member State. A Member
State would be preventing such leasing if it required a roadworthiness test to be performed in the country
of use when the vehicle had already undergone such testing in the Member State where the leasing
company was established. It would be preventing such leasing if it compelled the lessee to take out vehicle
insurance in the country of use. And above all, it would be preventing such leasing if it levied vehicle tax
in full even though the vehicle might only remain in the country for a short time.

The Finnish customs service requires leased vehicles to be registered in Finland from the first day, and
vehicle tax to be paid in full, irrespective of the period for which the vehicle is being brought into Finland.
The customs service also considers that Case C-451/99 cannot be applied to Finland, because in its
opinion Austria’s tax system differs from Finland’s. The Finnish State relies on the assertion that in Austria
tax is based not only on the purchase price of the vehicle but also on its fuel consumption. However, this
fact surely cannot be of any significance, since the main point is that in both Finland and Austria a vehicle
can only be registered after a large one-off payment of tax has been made.

However, all that matters from the point of view of the functioning of the common market and the
interests of EU citizens is that preventing trade by means of discriminatory taxation is prohibited,
irrespective of the basis on which this is done.

Is the difference between the vehicle taxation systems in Finland and Austria essential for the purpose of
the application of the case law in Case C-451/99?

Is the Finnish customs service violating any prohibition by refusing to apply the legal principle
demonstrated by Case C-451/99?

Can Finland require motor vehicle tax to be paid in full on a leased vehicle which is not intended to
remain in Finland throughout its period of use?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission


(24 September 2002)

Reference is made by the Honourable Member to the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European
Communities of 21 March 2002 in case C-451/99. In that case, the Handelsgericht Wien (Austria)
requested a preliminary ruling on a question on the interpretation of Articles 49 to 55 and Article 28 of
C 137 E/64 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

the EC Treaty. That question was raised in proceedings between Cura Anlagen GmbH, a company
established in Austria, and Auto Service Leasing GmbH, a company established in Germany and without a
place of business in Austria, concerning the performance of a vehicle leasing contract concluded between
those two companies.

The legislation concerning taxation of motor vehicles has not been harmonised. The taxation of cars is
different in many respects in Austria and Finland and in depth research would be needed to establish the
differences between the two systems. However, it may be noted that the car taxation in Finland does not
vary on the basis of how long the vehicle is registered in Finland. Likewise the Austrian ‘Normverbrauch-
sabgabe’ does not change according to the duration of registration.

In case C-451/99 the Court ruled that the provisions of the EC Treaty on the freedom to provide services
(Articles 49 to 55 of the EC Treaty) preclude legislation of a Member State requiring an undertaking
established in that Member State which takes a lease of a vehicle registered in another Member State to
register it in the first Member State in order to be able to use it there beyond a period that is so short that
it makes it impossible or excessively difficult to comply with the requirements imposed and imposing
payment, in the Member State of use, of a consumption tax the amount of which is not proportionate to
the duration of the registration of the vehicle in that Member State.

The Commission takes note of the information on leased cars provided by the Honourable Member and
will consider it in its ongoing examination of the compatibility of the Finnish rules on car taxation with
Community law and, in particular, Article 49 of the EC Treaty. It stresses, however, that although the
Finnish car taxation and the Austrian taxation system examined by the Court of Justice appear to have
some similar features, the matter needs further study.

(2003/C 137 E/072) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2264/02


by Michl Ebner (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(24 July 2002)

Subject: Data on the status and number of gamekeepers

Can the European Commission indicate whether it possesses any data about the status and number of
gamekeepers and accredited gamekeepers in the individual Member States and whether it has any sources
from which to obtain such data?

(2003/C 137 E/073) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2265/02


by Michl Ebner (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(24 July 2002)

Subject: Harmonisation measures and gamekeepers

In most of the Member States of the European Union, gamekeepers are employed to protect the
environment, the countryside, the interests of hunters and hunting. They frequently work without any
remuneration.

Accredited gamekeepers care for and protect flora and fauna. They are experts in their field. By taking
well-judged care and protection measures, they contribute to the maintenance of a balance between the
various animal species. They lecture in schools and in public establishments and, in so doing, introduce
their audiences to the delights of nature. Sometimes, however, they are obliged to intervene in the natural
order when, for example, they have to put a beast in the forest  or, more likely, on the roads  out of its
misery. Sometimes, they have to take action when the numbers of a particular species become excessive
and the animals begin to cause damage.

In some Member States, e.g. Belgium, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and
Luxembourg, national and regional associations of gamekeepers have been established to look after the
interests, protection and training of accredited gamekeepers.

Can the Commission indicate whether any measures to achieve harmonisation in the sphere of
gamekeeping exist, have been taken or are to be taken?