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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?