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12.6.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/87

financial base outstripping its competitors. Given that under Community law European football must be
considered a single market, it is clear that to place a Spanish club in a privileged situation of this kind will
affect not only other clubs in Spain but also their counterparts in other EU Member States, since all have
to use the same market in goods and services, whether to acquire sporting material or to engage the
services of players and trainers. What is at issue here is not the right of football clubs to exist, irrespective
of their prosperity level or resources, but the fact that the circumstances surrounding the transfer or sale of
the property in question reflect a particular political and administrative preference, in breach of the rules
of fair competition.

This operation could be considered an ‘aid granted by a Member State’ to Real Madrid. This would be
contrary to Community law, given the provisions of Article 87 of Title VI of the EC Treaty, which states:
‘Save as otherwise provided in this Treaty, any aid granted by a Member State or through State resources
in any form whatsoever which distorts or threatens to distort competition by favouring certain
undertakings or the production of certain goods shall, insofar as it affects trade between Member States,
be incompatible with the common market.’ A cloak of legality has been thrown over a state aid by
disguising it as a planning measure. The irregularity may reside, not in the desire of a sports club to obtain
the reclassification of a site belonging to it, but in the fact that this reclassification by means of a planning
agreement has had an outcome which excessively favours the main owner involved, i.e. Real Madrid, and
therefore cannot be fairly compared with other operations in the planning and sporting spheres.

Does the Commission intend to examine the legitimacy of this operation, which could have the effect of
substantially undermining and distorting free competition within an economic sector  i.e. sport and,
specifically, football  which is highly globalised in character? If so, will the Commission take the
necessary steps with a view to correcting this distortion, pursuant to Article 88 of the EC Treaty?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(26 September 2002)

As regards the possible infringement of state aid rules in the case at issue, the Commission reminds that,
as confirmed by the case law of the Court of Justice, only advantages granted directly or indirectly through
state resources are to be considered aid within the meaning of article 87 of the EC Treaty (1).

The Commission notes that the new qualification of the terrain in question does not appear to involve any
direct or indirect transfer of resources by either the city of Madrid or the Autonomous Community of
Madrid. The fact that the new qualification confers an advantage to Real Madrid is as such not capable of
conferring upon it the character of state aid within the meaning of article 87 of the EC Treaty.

Accordingly, on the basis of the information available, the Commission considers that sufficient grounds
do not exist for investigating the case under the state aid provision of the EC Treaty.

(1) Case C-379/98, Preussen Elektra AG v. Schleswag AG, 13 March 2001, ECR I-02099.

(2003/C 137 E/099) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2503/02


by Kathalijne Buitenweg (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(3 September 2002)

Subject: Proposal for a framework directive on data retention

In response to a report by Statewatch concerning the existence of a proposal for a framework directive on
data retention, the Danish Presidency issued a press release on 22 August 2002 denying that it had put
forward such a proposal. It has not, however, denied that such a proposal exists.
C 137 E/88 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

Can the Council confirm the existence of a proposal for a framework directive on data retention, probably
entitled ‘Draft Framework Decision on the retention of traffic data and on access to this data in connection
with criminal investigation and prosecution’? And, if so, could it reveal from what government the
proposal emanates and what is the status of the proposal? Has the proposal been discussed by any Council
body and, if so, on what dates, and have any conclusions been reached?

If the Council denies the existence of such a proposal, does it have an explanation for why a document
with this title can be found on the Statewatch web site?

The Danish Presidency acknowledges that preparatory work is being carried out in connection with
European legislation on data retention. Does the Council agree that decisions in this area can encroach
deeply on citizens’ privacy, and that changes to the law governing privacy can create alarm, as has again
been reflected in recent weeks in much of the media coverage? Does the Council also agree that it is
advisable to hold a public debate on this issue before putting forward a proposal, not to mention before
reaching a political agreement? How does the Council intend to conduct such a debate?

Reply

(6 February 2003)

As to the question by the Honourable Member whether there is any proposal for a Framework Decision
on the retention of traffic data, the Council can assure the Honourable Member that there is at present no
initiative from a Member State or any proposal from the Commission regarding a draft Framework
Decision on the retention of traffic data before the Council of the European Union. The Council has no
responsibility for the websites of individuals.

On 24 June 2002 however, the Danish Presidency introduced draft Council conclusions on information
technology-related measures concerning the investigation and prosecution of organised crime with a view
to adoption by the Council. On 8 July 2002 the Presidency presented those draft Council conclusions to
the competent Council working party. At the working party meeting on 16 September 2002,
the Commission gave information on the legal situation within the European Union in this respect.
The Danish initiative was subsequently discussed at the working party meeting on 16 October 2002.

The proposed Council conclusions on information technology-related measures concerning the


investigation and prosecution of organised crime, when adopted, would as such not directly affect the
privacy of the citizens of the European Union.

Preparatory Council bodies are currently carrying out the examination of the Danish initiative with a view
to concluding in the near future.

(2003/C 137 E/100) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2524/02


by Elizabeth Lynne (ELDR) to the Commission

(11 September 2002)

Subject: The situation in Colombia

Figures published by Amnesty International show that in 2001 alone 4000 civilians were killed in the civil
war in Colombia. Every day innocent people are caught up in the fighting and thousands of people are
leaving the country to get away from the cycle of violence that continues to engulf the country. These acts
of violence are not only perpetrated by rebels but also by government-protected paramilitary groups, as was
revealed by a recent UN investigation into an incident in Bojaya on 2 May that left 117 civilians dead.

Given the long-standing situation in Colombia, what action does the Commission intend to take to resolve
the crisis?