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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/151

criticism that transferring funds to the rural development pillar will introduce the principle of
cofinancing through the back door? What does it believe will be the impact on the Member States’
agricultural budgets, given the major differences in budgetary terms and in financial effort which exist
between, for instance, Portugal and Germany?

 What estimates can the Commission supply concerning the redistribution of agricultural expenditure
between the Member States, on the basis of the proposal on modulation included in the interim

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(27 November 2002)

When the Member of the Commission responsible for Agriculture and Fisheries went to Portugal in early
October 2002 to discuss the Commission’s proposals on the Mid Term Review (MTR) of the Common
Agricultural Policy (CAP), he explained that Portugal would benefit from the expansion of rural
development policy and that it could count on more money from the Union’s agricultural budget.

This statement referred to the expected effect of the dynamic modulation scheme proposed in the
Communication on the MTR that the Commission adopted in July 2002 (1) With the system of franchise,
the majority of Portuguese farms would not be affected by the reduction in direct payments. By contrast,
as the proposed redistribution key includes a cohesion component, Portugal would benefit from increased
Community funding for rural development. The principle of co-financing rural development expenditure is
not new. The Commission proposes to increase the rate of Community co-funding for some measures like
agri-environmental schemes.

The statement of the Member of the Commission responsible for Agriculture and Fisheries is based on a
first assessment of the redistributive effect of dynamic modulation This assessment used figures from
various Union sources: European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, Farm Accountancy Data
Network and from the European Farm Survey.

It would not be appropriate to provide figures about the possible impact of modulation at this stage.
The Commission needs first to take into account the results of the European Council of Brussels which
took place on 24/25 October 2002.

Heads of States and Governments reached an agreement that marks a major step forward in the process of
enlargement and that should allow the Union to close negotiations with the ten candidate countries in
December 2002. One key element of the agreement is the introduction of a long-term financial ceiling for
expenditure related to direct payments and markets. By contrast, no new ceiling has been fixed for rural
development expenditure. Heads of States and Governments have even stressed the requirements
concerning producers in least favoured regions.

The Commission is convinced that the new long-term framework for agricultural expenditure requires a
clear perspective for the future development of the CAP. The needs and challenges identified in the MTR
remain unchanged. It is in this overall context that the Commission will table concrete proposals in the
form of legal texts by the end of 2002 or very early January 2003.

(1) COM(2002) 394 final.

(2003/C 137 E/172) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3056/02

by Massimo Carraro (PSE) to the Commission

(18 October 2002)

Subject: State aid for Alitalia

On 29 April 2002 the Commission received a request from the Italian government to grant further state
aid to Alitalia in order to recapitalise the company.
C 137 E/152 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

Does the Commission not consider that the granting of such aid to Alitalia breaks the competition rules
and causes severe damage to private airlines?

What does the Commission think of the possibility of other Italian companies taking over a certain
number of services from Alitalia on a completely private basis?

Does the Commission not believe that this could provide an excellent solution, as in addition to complying
with free market principles it would avoid the spending of public funds on pointless attempts to rescue

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(15 November 2002)

On 19 June 2002 the Commission approved two financial measures concerning Alitalia. Firstly, it declared
the payment of the third tranche of EUR 129 million of the restructuring aid approved in 1997 to be
compatible with the EC Treaty. Secondly, it decided that the increase in capital, totalling EUR 1,4 billion at
most and which is to be submitted to the company’s shareholders, does not constitute State aid.

With specific regard to the increase in capital, notified on 29 April 2002, to which the Honourable
Member refers, the Commission finds that the State’s participation accords fully with the market economy
investor criterion. The operation involves both private and public shareholders, and the private sector is
making a significant contribution (38 %). Indeed, the Italian State has undertaken not to take part in the
recapitalisation without the 38 % guaranteed by non-shareholding banks. The Commission’s favourable
decision regarding Alitalia is thus based on a detailed examination of the Italian airline’s situation and does
not compromise Commission policy on State aid for the restructuring of airlines, which is based on the
‘one time last time’ principle.

As to the Honourable Member’s second point, regarding the possibility of other Italian companies coming
forward to take over a number of services from Alitalia, the Commission can only welcome increased
competition in the air transport market.

(2003/C 137 E/173) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3064/02

by Torben Lund (PSE) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Fatalities in connection with the slimming aid Letigen: questionable approval procedure

The Danish consumer magazine T+T discloses in its issue No 28, October 2002 how the slimming aid
Letigen may have caused numerous deaths, and that the Danish Medicines Agency approved the product
on highly questionable evidence. Slimming aids whose content of stimulants of the central nervous system
is similar to Letigen are prohibited in the rest of the EU, and investigations from the USA clearly show that
slimming aids with the same structure and composition as Letigen can have serious side effects.

I would therefore ask the Commission to comment immediately on the basis for the Danish Medicines
Agency’s approval of Letigen. Will the Commission state why products with the same content can be
simultaneously permitted in some countries and prohibited in others? We must assume that a Dane and a
Swede, for example, are both equally sensitive to a dangerous product like Letigen. Because Letigen is
prohibited in Sweden, many Swedes have bought the product in Denmark  the problem cannot therefore
be regarded as a national matter. What measures does the Commission propose to take against the Danish
Medicines Agency in the interests of public health both in Denmark and the rest of the EU?