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C 137 E/154 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

(2003/C 137 E/175) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3072/02


by María Rodríguez Ramos (PSE) to the Commission

(25 October 2002)

Subject: Uncontrolled dumping of coal waste in the municipality of Ponferrada (Spain)

For many years there has been a slag heap in the middle of a built-up area of Ponferrada. It is a veritable
mountain, which, together with another dump also situated in the town, amounts to 4 million m2 of coal
waste. At the end of February, after a questionable procedure, the town council awarded the contract for
its removal to Pongesur, a firm that has dumped the same waste 500 m from its original location and in a
plantation of black poplars, also in the town, where trees have been felled in order for the dumping to take
place. No planning permission has been granted for the dumping, and no environmental impact
assessment has been carried out. The work is being done by unsuitable lorries which, as they travel
through the town centre, are emitting an uncontrolled cloud of coal waste.

Do these activities conform to Directive 1999/31/EC (1) on the landfill of waste?

Can they take place without a prior impact assessment?

(1) OJ L 182, 16.7.1999, p. 1.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(2 December 2002)

The dumping of coal waste is regulated by Council Directive 75/442/EEC of 15 July 1975 on waste (1)
(as amended by Council Directive 91/156/EEC of 18 March 1991 (2)) and Council Directive 1999/31/EC of
26 April 1999 on the landfill of waste.

Pursuant to Article 4 of Council Directive 75/442/EEC, Member States must ensure that waste is disposed
of without endangering human health or the environment and must take the necessary measures to
prohibit the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste. The Directive further obliges
Member States to ensure that undertakings carrying out disposal operations have a permit and are subject
to periodical inspections by the competent authority.

If the waste is hazardous, it must be handled in accordance with the requirements of Council Directive
91/689/EEC of 12 December 1991 on hazardous waste (3).

Council Directive 1999/31/EC, which came into effect on 16 July 2001, lays down additional requirements
for the permitting, design, operation, closure and after-care of landfills. Existing landfills, which are those
that were already authorised or in operation on 16 July 2001, have to be adapted to the requirements of
the Directive. Operators of existing landfills have to present a conditioning plan to the authorities by
16 July 2002.

Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and
private projects on the environment (4) (as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997 (5))
requires an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to be carried out for waste disposal installations and
landfills dealing with either hazardous or non-hazardous waste. The Directive refers to Directives 75/442/
EEC and 91/689/EEC in relation to relevant definitions (i.e. whether waste qualifies as hazardous) for those
projects that would always require an EIA. For other waste disposal installations the EIA Directive requires
an EIA if the Member State determines (according to certain selection criteria) that the project is likely to
have significant environmental impact and thus requires a full EIA. The EIA Directive requires that projects
that are likely to have significant environmental effects are made subject to a development consent and an
EIA in accordance with the Directive.
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/155

The Commission has the task of ensuring the correct application of Community law, in the light of the
powers conferred on it by the EC Treaty. As the guardian of the EC Treaty, it will take the necessary
measures in order to ensure the observance of Community law in this case.

(1) OJ L 194, 25.7.1975.


(2) OJ L 78, 26.3.1991.
(3) OJ L 377, 31.12.1991.
(4) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.
(5) OJ L 73, 14.3.1997.

(2003/C 137 E/176) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3075/02


by Ulpu Iivari (PSE) to the Council

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Double taxation of orchestras

Under Community legislation and in particular Article 49 of the EC Treaty, Member States are forbidden to
restrict the freedom to provide services by means of double taxation. Avanti!, a Finnish chamber orchestra
financed mainly by public funds, was subjected to double taxation in Germany, in the Land of Schleswig-
Holstein, when it performed at the Schleswig-Holstein music festival in August 2001. It had to pay tax to
the Land on its appearance fees, even though, in accordance with the taxation agreement between
Germany and Finland, it produced evidence supplied by the Finnish authorities to the effect that its
activities were subsidised, the tour that it was making had been publicly funded, and it functioned as an
employer, in other words it paid the musicians’ wages, from which it deducted tax, and was responsible for
the employer’s contributions. The orchestra has already been in correspondence with the Land tax
authorities about the double taxation for nearly two years, and there is no end in sight.

Does the Council consider that cases of this kind impede the operation of the internal market? What will it
do to improve its operation and specifically to tackle the problems linked to double taxation?

Reply

(18 February 2003)

It is not for the Council to comment on the application of a Member State’s tax provisions. Furthermore,
the Council would remind the Honourable Member that Article 293 of the EC Treaty provides that
Member States shall, so far as is necessary, enter into negotiations with each other with a view to securing
for the benefit of their nationals inter alia the abolition of double taxation within the Community.

(2003/C 137 E/177) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3084/02


by Jonas Sjöstedt (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(28 October 2002)

Subject: Slimming agent Letigen

There has been a heated debate in Denmark over whether to ban the slimming agent Letigen owing to
numerous complaints about these pills. Swedes have also reportedly crossed the Sound to Denmark to
obtain Letigen.

In other Member States, however, these slimming pills are banned. What rules then apply in the internal
market? Should Letigen be authorised throughout the Union because it is authorised in one Member State?
Or if Letigen is such a health hazard as its critics in Denmark claim, should it really be possible to sell it in
one Member State when it is banned in the majority of the Member States?