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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/43

Article 91 of the 1998 Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 establishes a
system for the exchange of information on the acquisition of firearms which supplements Article 13 of
Council Directive 91/477/EEC. Moreover, the Decision of the Executive Committee of 28 April 1999 on
the illegal trade in firearms (SCH/Com-Ex (99)10) sets out the forms to be used for the exchange of
information between Member States on seized firearms.

Council Directive 91/477/EEC does not apply to commercial transfers of weapons and ammunition of war.
The possibilities for the Community to act in that field are limited by Article 296 of the Treaty.

The Council would, moreover, point out that at its meeting on 15 April 2002 it adopted conclusions on a
list of concrete measures with regard to the implications of the terrorist threat on the non-proliferation,
disarmament and arms control policy of the European Union. Under those conclusions, the European
Union as such and its Member States undertook to promote, in particular, implementation of the United
Nations Programme of Action on the fight against the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and of
the OSCE document on SALW, and to reinforce, where needed, the multilateral instruments, in particular
by drafting an international instrument on marking and tracing of SALW (inter alia a French-Swiss
proposal) as a priority.

(1) OJ L 256, 13.9.1991, p. 51.

(2003/C 155 E/049) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2701/02

by Mario Borghezio (NI) to the Commission

(26 September 2002)

Subject: Protection of privacy in correspondence from Italian banks

Whereas banks in other European countries generally protect the privacy of their clients absolutely in their
correspondence, Italian banks continue to use envelopes that are clearly marked with the name and/or
logo of the bank itself, for their communications with clients, thus unreasonably giving strangers
information about the relationship that the user has with a certain bank.

Will the Commission ask the Italian banking system to follow European banking practice by using
unmarked envelopes for correspondence with their clients, thereby complying with their duty to protect
their clients’ privacy?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(6 November 2002)

According to the information available to the Commission, the use of envelopes bearing the name and/or
logo of the bank is the normal practice in a number of Member States and in others is followed by
individual banks.

In other Member States, there appears to be a clear trend towards the use of plain envelopes, either for all
correspondence or for sending particular items, such as bankcards.

The Commission would suggest that if a client feels that the use of envelopes carrying the name or logo of
the bank compromises his or her privacy in any way, he or she could request from the bank alternative
means of communication, such as plain envelopes, e-banking services or even the collection of the
documents at the bank.

The Commission is not aware of any Member State where this matter is regulated by legislation and itself
has no plans for action in this area.