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C 137 E/228 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

According to Article 11(1) of the agreement, Israel shall establish a national GLP monitoring system during
a transitional period of a maximum of two years, starting after the entry into force of this Agreement.
According to Articles 11(2) and 11(3), the Community shall acknowledge the establishment and
satisfactory entry into operation of the national GLP monitoring system in Israel before the transitional
period may be terminated.

Since Israel has fulfilled the requirement, the Commission has acknowledged this by Commission Decision
2002/227/EC of 13 March 2002 on the acknowledgement of the establishment and satisfactory entry into
operation of the Israeli good laboratory practice (GLP) monitoring system (2). On this basis, the MRA with
Israel on GLP entered into its operational phase on 1 May 2002.

(1) OJ L 263, 9.10.1999.


(2) OJ L 75, 16.3.2002.

(2003/C 137 E/258) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3570/02


by Jonas Sjöstedt (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(12 December 2002)

Subject: Private imports of wine into Sweden

The Swedish Government maintains that all orders of wine to be imported into Sweden must go through
Systembolaget and must be subject to Swedish VAT, Swedish alcohol tax, transport and Systembolaget’s
mark-up.

Newspaper reports claim, however, that the Commission wrote to the Swedish Foreign Minister in early
November 2002 saying that the provisions of the Swedish Law on Alcohol which prohibit individuals
from acquiring alcohol abroad and having it transported to Sweden by an independent agent constitute an
obstacle to trade in the Community.

The position of the Swedish Government and Parliament is that all remote sales must go through
Systembolaget. The Court of Justice has also given much consideration, from the point of view of policy,
to Systembolaget’s retail trading monopoly in a judgement given in Case C-189/95.

What are the Commission’s intentions in terms of policy with the abovementioned letter to the Swedish
Government?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(30 January 2003)

The Commission can confirm that a letter of formal notice was sent at the end of October 2002 to
Sweden expressing the view that certain provisions in the Swedish Law on alcohol, according to which an
individual residing in Sweden cannot order alcoholic beverages for private use from producers or retailers
in other Member States and have them transported to Sweden, hinder intra-Community trade and may
therefore infringe Articles 28 and 30 of the EC Treaty.

Systembolaget has been granted responsibility for the retail sale of wine, strong beer and spirits in Sweden.
In the ‘Franzén’ case (Case C-189/95) the Court of Justice stated that, according to the information
provided to the Court, the existence and the operation of a domestic monopoly on retail of alcohol
beverages, such as Systembolaget, was compatible with Article 37 (now Article 31). However, the Court
continued and said that other provisions of the domestic legislation which, although not strictly speaking
regulating the functioning of the monopoly, nevertheless have a direct bearing upon it such as the
licensing system, should be examined with reference to Article 30 of the EC Treaty (now Article 28). In
order to comply with the Court’s judgement in relation to these paragraphs, several changes regarding the
licensing system were introduced in the Swedish legislation.
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/229

It should be noted that the Court did not express itself as to whether Sweden is entitled to ban or hinder
private import of alcohol for personal use from producers or retailers established in other Member States.
The Commission is of the opinion that private individuals should not be hindered from purchasing wine,
strong beer or spirits for personal use directly from a producer or wholesaler based in another Member
State and have it sent to Sweden on similar conditions as to the rules on private transport of alcoholic
beverages and sales thereof in the monopoly outlets, Systembolaget.

The Commission is awaiting the answer from the Swedish authorities.

(2003/C 137 E/259) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3572/02


by Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(13 December 2002)

Subject: Community support for the companies belonging to the ARA e GRANIT international consortium

The directors of the Portuguese companies belonging to the ARA e GRANIT international consortium and
based in Avintes/Vila Nova de Gaia and in Seia/Guarda are forcing their workers to accept temporary lay-
offs: they are instructed to stay at home for two weeks at a time without knowing when and under what
terms the company will require them to make up the lost working hours. This is quite unacceptable and it
constitutes an infringement of the workers’ rights.

The director of the Seia-based ARA company recently revealed that the latter’s productivity rates are as
high in Portugal as they are in Germany.

In Avintes, entry was denied to 18 workers who, despite being placed under pressure, refused to sign the
agreement.

In view of the above, would the Commission provide the following information:

 Has the consortium received Community financial assistance in any EU Member State? If it has, how
much money is involved and where and when was it made available?

 What action should in the Commission’s view be taken in order to protect the rights of the
companies’ workers?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(24 January 2003)

In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999
laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds for the period (2000-2006) (1) assigns the
responsibility for implementing and monitoring European Social Fund (ESF) assistance to the Member
States.

Therefore, the decision to approve projects submitted by private companies for Community funding is the
responsibility of the Member State, through the power assigned to the managing authorities for the various
operational programmes.

To answer the question posed by the Honourable Member, the Commission had to rely on the information
supplied by the Portuguese authorities. The Commission has been informed by the Instituto de Gestão do
Fundo Social Europeu (IGFSE) that it has no record of any ESF funding for the companies belonging to the
international group Ara e Granit.