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C 155 E/54 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.

2003

(2003/C 155 E/060) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2827/02


by Hans Karlsson (PSE) to the Commission

(8 October 2002)

Subject: Distortion of competition by state aid

The internal market is a cornerstone of the European Union. In order for the internal market to operate
and for the Member States to develop the Community, all businesses must compete on roughly equal
terms. At present, however, the terms are not equal because some sectors are receiving state aid. Germany
is one of the countries which the Commission examined this year and which was found to have paid out
unlawful state aid to set up and develop a sawmill. Commission decision 2002/468/EC (1) requires
Germany to recover the state aid granted. Despite that, Germany plans to grant further state aid for a
number of development projects in the German forestry industry, which include the Stendal pulp plant at
Sachen/Anhalt, Klausner Nordic Timber at Wismar and Stallinger GmbH at Munkran.

In view of these plans, what measures will the Commission take to ensure that state aid already paid is
recovered and what initiatives will it take to prevent further payments of state aid?

(1) OJ L 165, 24.6.2002, p. 15.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(22 November 2002)

The State aid, which Member States are allowed to grant, is subject to published rules. Article 87 (2) and
(3) of the EC Treaty foresees exceptions on basis of which State aid may be considered to be compatible
with the common market.

The aid Germany intends to grant or has granted to Zellstoff Stendal, Klausner Nordic Timber and
Stallinger GmbH consists of investment aid based on regional considerations. The rules for such type of aid
are not specific to a certain sector. The three projects are located in Eastern Germany, which is considered
to be one of the less-favoured regions within the Community. In these regions aid can be granted up to a
level fixed by the Commission in order to promote the economic development of these regions by
supporting investment and thus job creation.

In cases where the Commission has found aid granted by a Member State incompatible with the EC Treaty
it orders that the Member State concerned recovers the incompatible aid. The Member State is obliged to
inform the Commission about its efforts on the recovery and the Commission closely monitors the
recovery.

(2003/C 155 E/061) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2864/02


by Charles Tannock (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(11 October 2002)

Subject: The cost of bank transfers and the Commission’s powers to authorise legal proceedings

In his extremely clear and helpful answer to Written Question E-2271/02 (1), Commissioner Bolkestein has
outlined the legal position regarding the permitted charges for cross-border credit transfers.

As the Commissioner will be aware, there has been considerable discussion in the Economic and Monetary
Affairs Committee of the European Parliament about the cost of transfers within the Eurozone and the
widespread practice of double-charging by the receiving as well as the executing bank in the case of OUR
transfers in contravention of the terms of the Cross-Border Credit Transfer Directive (Directive 97/5/EC (2)