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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

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

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.
C 137 E/230 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

The suspension of employment contracts, in particular for economic reasons, is not specifically covered by
Community legislation. Nevertheless, decisions such as those referred to by the Honourable Member must
be preceded by the effective informing and consulting of workers’ representatives in accordance with
Directive 2002/14/EC (2). However, Portugal, like all other Member States, is not obliged to incorporate
this Directive into national law until 23 March 2005.

(1) OJ L 161, 26.6.1999.

(2) Directive 2002/14/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2002 establishing a general
framework for informing and consulting employees in the European Community, OJ L 80, 23.3.2002.

(2003/C 137 E/260) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3592/02

by Camilo Nogueira Román (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(13 December 2002)

Subject: Classification of Galicia as a fisheries-dependent area

Since recent events have once more highlighted the major importance to Galicia of its maritime and
fisheries resources, will the Commission now take the necessary action to ensure that Galicia is classified as
a fisheries-dependent area, and that this designation under the common fisheries policy has the requisite

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(24 January 2003)

As indicated in the Commission’s joint answer to written questions E-2097/02 and E-2096/02 (1), the
concept of fisheries dependence appears in article 4.8. of Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 (2) which
defines the general objectives and tasks of the Community Structural Funds and the Financial Instrument
for Fisheries Guidance (‘FIFG’) as an eligibility criterion for Objective 2 regions. This concept was
introduced in this regulation after Spain and Portugal had become Member States and thus taken into
account when these two Member States and the Commission drew up the list of areas eligible under
Objective 2, in conformity to article 4.3 and 4.4 of Council regulation (EC) No 1260/1999.

With respect to the tanker ‘Prestige’ which shipwrecked off the coast of Galicia in November 2002, the
Commission has closely followed this catastrophy and its impact on the fishing fleet of Galicia and for the
whole fishery sector.

To help alleviate the consequences of this disaster, the Commission proposed to the Council certain
modifications to the existing legal framework for structural interventions in the fishing sector to support
the fishing fleet and the aquaculture sector in that area in order to provide financial aid.

As a result of this proposal, the Council adopted on 20 December 2002 Regulation (EC) No 2372/2002
instituting specific measures to compensate the Spanish fisheries, shellfish industry and aquaculture
affected by the oil spills from the Prestige (3).

(1) OJ C 28 E, 6.2.2003, p. 182.

(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds,
OJ L 161, 26.6.1999.
(3) OJ L 358, 31.12.2002.