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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/39

However, most of the football clubs that reap huge financial rewards from the broadcasting of matches
organised by UEFA or FIFA play in stadiums paid for by the State or by local authorities which frequently
grant them substantial subsidies. Should not Community legislation on state aids also apply to the business
activities of these clubs? If not, and assuming that top-level sport is an aspect of society which justifies the
commitment of public funds (if only so as to ensure security at events of this nature), should not sports
associations be subject to a public service obligation with regard to broadcasting rights? In the final
analysis, is it acceptable that only viewers who can afford to meet the financial demands of the private
pay-TV channels should be able to watch sports events which could not take place without generous aid
from the public purse?

(1) OJ C 92 E, 17.4.2003, p. 115.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(12 November 2002)

The Honourable Member questions whether Community legislation on competition should apply to the
business activities of football clubs that play in tournaments organised by the Union of European Football
Associations (UEFA) or the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA). Actually, any entity
that performs an economic activity is subject to competition law in general, and to the rules on state aid in
particular. Football clubs that perform these activities are therefore subject to state aid rules.

However, the financing of a stadium by local authorities does not necessarily constitute state aid. Under
certain conditions, the construction of a venue for public events for different categories of activities may be
considered as funding for general infrastructure and will not come under the provisions of Article 87(1) of
the EC Treaty.

The Commission notes that with regard to entrusting an undertaking with a public service obligation, it is
not the Community but the Member State itself that both assigns to an undertaking such an obligation as
well as defines its scope. Accordingly, if the Member State feels it is necessary that football should be
widely accessible, rather than only by Pay TV, it may entrust broadcasting companies with this task, and
where necessary, provide the compensation needed to perform these tasks.

In addition, Directive 97/36/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 1997 amending Council
Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or
administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities (1)
provides that Member States may take measures to ensure that broadcasters do not broadcast events which
are regarded as being of major importance for society, in such a way as to deprive a substantial proportion
of the public of the possibility of following such events on free television. Several Member States have
adopted such lists which include in all cases some football matches (a summary of the measures taken was
published in the Official Journal (2)).

(1) OJ L 202, 30.7.1997.

(2) OJ C 189, 9.8.2002.

(2003/C 155 E/045) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2668/02

by Proinsias De Rossa (PSE) to the Council

(16 September 2002)

Subject: Deportation of Christina Onasanwo from Ireland to Nigeria

Given that the Council has already stated that ‘Female genital mutilations are acts of violence perpetrated
on women and children which the Council unequivocally condemns as a violation of basic rights’, given
the commitments of all Member States under the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on
C 155 E/40 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.2003

Population and Development and the Plan of Action for the Elimination of Harmful Traditional Practices
Affecting the Health of Women and Children, and UN resolution No 54/133, will the Council intervene
with the Irish Government to drop its order to deport Christina Onasanwo and Bolu Onasanwo to Nigeria
where they are at risk of female genital mutilation as decreed by tribal elders?


(4 March 2003)

The Council is not aware of the case to which the question refers.

(2003/C 155 E/046) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2675/02

by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission

(24 September 2002)

Subject: Dangers for the environment and consumers posed by fish farming

A study carried out by consumer organisations in Portugal, Spain, Belgium and Italy, published in No 228
of the journal ‘Proteste’, confirms the reports, long since published by various sources on the Internet, that
the salmon consumed on the European market entails substantial risks for consumer health, in particular
because of the very high levels of PCBs. The industrial farming of carnivorous fish is today the principal
threat to the sustainable development of fisheries, because of the pressure put on the wild fish on which it
depends for fishmeal supplies, as well as because of sea pollution and the threat to wild fish stocks.

The study also clearly reveals the risks which the practice poses for consumer health.

In view of this, can the Commission say:

1. When it intends to promote legislation to monitor the presence of PCBs in food;

2. Whether it considers that it should reformulate its initiative to revise the CFP in the light of existing
data showing the dangers posed to sustainable development by the farming of carnivorous fish?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(21 November 2002)

The contamination of feed and food by dioxins, furans and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) constitutes a
risk to public health. Therefore measures need to be taken to reduce their level of contamination. The
Commission has developed a comprehensive strategy to reduce the presence of these contaminants in
environment, feed and food which is outlined in a Communication from the Commission to the Council,
the Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee on a Community strategy for dioxins, furans and
polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (1).

With regard to dioxins and furans in fish maximum levels have already been set by Council Regulation
(EC) No 2375/2001 of 29 November 2001 amending Commission Regulation (EC) No 466/2001 setting
maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs (2). This Regulation foresees a revision of the
maximum levels by 31 December 2004 with a view to the inclusion of dioxin-like PCBs. Commission
Recommendation 2002/201/EC of 4 March 2002 (3) establishes the criteria for monitoring dioxins and
dioxin-like PCBs in a wide range of feed and food, including fish.