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C 137 E/96 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

The current Presidency, from the outset of its term in office, made it clear that work on the package
remains a top priority; work within the Council has been organised in consequence, allowing for
considerable results to be achieved. At its meeting on 3 October 2002, the Council took note of a
Presidency progress report outlining the current state of play regarding the work in the Council on the
Single European Sky package.

Work is now being carried forward with a view to enabling the Council to reach a political agreement on
the Single European Sky package at its December session in line with the conclusions of the European
Council of Barcelona.

(2003/C 137 E/109) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2594/02


by Antonios Trakatellis (PPE-DE) to the Council

(18 September 2002)

Subject: Illegal immigrants entering Greece via Turkey  breach of the partnership agreement

Greek observers note that Turkey is constantly in breach of the accession partnership agreement, one
consequence of which is a steady stream of illegal immigrants entering the Greek islands where they are
held (e.g. on Leros, Patmos) in squalid conditions, both in terms of accommodation and diet. Their situation
is compounded by the Greek authorities’ lax attitude towards complying with deadlines under the
deportation procedure. Consequently, since naturally Turkey also refuses to allow the illegal immigrants to
return, they remain illegally in Greece and, therefore, on the territory of the European Union.

In the light of this situation, will the Council say:

1. what its position is concerning this influx into the EU of illegal immigrants from Turkey and what
measures it will take given that Turkey should, as an applicant for accession to the EU, comply with
the terms of the partnership agreement;

2. what action it will take to ensure that the Greek authorities respect the deportation procedure
deadlines for the illegal immigrants and what stage has been reached with the readmission agreements
between the EU and Turkey in respect of signing and compliance, and

3. what provision it will make in regard to the protection of the human rights and living conditions of
the illegal immigrants both in their countries of origin and of temporary residence, such as Greece?

Reply

(18 February 2003)

1. The fight against illegal immigration is one of the priorities for European Union action, as recently
affirmed and stressed in the conclusions of the Seville European Council on 21/22 June 2002.

In this area a considerable number of instruments, such as the Comprehensive plan to combat illegal
immigration and trafficking in human beings and the Plan for the management of the external borders of
the European Union, have already been adopted. The implementation of these plans and the identification
of new effective actions and measures to forestall and control this trend are currently being examined in
the competent Council bodies.

2. As regards more particularly the case referred to by the Honourable Member in his question,
the Council is fully aware of the problems posed by the steady influx, in particular into Greece, of illegal
immigrants coming from Turkey. The issue is constantly being raised both at political (EC-Turkey
Association Council in April) and technical levels, as Turkey, under the medium-term priorities of the
Accession Partnership, is asked to ‘adopt and implement the EU acquis and practices on migration
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/97

(admission, readmission, expulsion) so as to prevent illegal migrations’. At a special meeting on illegal


immigration of the EC-Turkey JHA subcommittee in July, Turkey agreed to cooperate on the preparation
of a joint action programme to combat illegal immigration. Technical work with a view to setting up such
a programme early in 2003 has started.

3. In Council conclusions adopted on 16 April 2002, Turkey was quoted as one of the third countries
for which the Commission was invited to submit a brief for the negotiation of a readmission agreement.
In the conclusions of the Seville European Council, the Commission was asked to approve these new briefs
as soon as possible (conclusion No 30). The Commission recently submitted to the Council new briefs
regarding four third countries, including Turkey. These briefs will be examined by the competent Council
bodies with a view to adoption. At the meeting on 15/16 October 2002, the Council considered that these
agreements had proved to be an extremely useful and effective instrument and decided to re-examine this
issue at its meeting in November 2002.

4. When adopting Community acts for the expulsion and repatriation of illegal immigrants, the Council
will comply with obligations resulting from Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union. For their part
Member States are bound  in the exercise of their expulsion powers - by the relevant rules of
international conventions on the protection of human rights and other fundamental principles in relation
to persons within their jurisdiction. Where deadlines have to be met in the framework of expulsion
procedures, these are laid down autonomously under the national law of each Member State.

(2003/C 137 E/110) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2595/02


by Stavros Xarchakos (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(18 September 2002)

Subject: Motorcycle helmets and fines in Greece

Recently, the Greek authorities have been imposing fines and impounding motorcycles ridden by drivers
not wearing helmets. However, Greek motorcyclists protest that the cost of a safe, good quality helmet is
between EUR 300 and EUR 600 in Greece mainly because of the high level of duty and taxes imposed by
the Greek authorities.

What is the Commission’s view of the level of Greek duties and taxes on helmets? What is the precise
amount of tax levied in the other 14 Member States of the Union?

Supplementary answer
given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(17 December 2002)

To reply to the Honourable Member’s question, the Commission has conducted a survey of Member States
besides Greece. Two types of taxation generally apply to motorcycle helmets: VAT and customs duties.

Apart from the United Kingdom, which applies a zero rate of VAT, all the other Member States apply a
normal rate, i.e.: Luxembourg 15 %; Germany and Spain 16 %; Portugal 17 %; Greece 18 %; Netherlands
19 %; France 19,6 %; Italy and Austria 20 %; Belgium and Ireland 21 % (but zero in Ireland for children’s
helmets); Finland 22 %; Sweden and Denmark 25 %.

Application of the normal rate is compatible with the Sixth VAT Directive 77/388/EEC (1), which also has
a clause allowing zero rates to be provisionally maintained subject to certain conditions.

For customs duties, the non-preferential rate applied to imports of products under codes 6506 10 10
(safety headgear made of plastic) and 6506 10 80 (safety headgear made of other materials) is 2,7 %.