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3.7.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/57

The decision was taken on 5 August 2002 in the absence of a quorum, after which the policy was sent out
and the decision submitted for confirmation.

It is clear that FN Herstal would be entitled to obtain the money for the 5 500 Minimi machine guns even
if the Belgian government were to withdraw the export licence.

Consequently, the arrangement must constitute the granting of State aid to an enterprise.

Will the Commission investigate whether this State aid complies with the relevant European directives?

If so, can the Commission indicate the grounds on which that conclusion was based?

If not, can the Commission explain what measures will be taken to call the Belgian government to order?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(30 October 2002)

As far as export aid is concerned, the Commission has no knowledge to date of any state aid granted to
FN Herstal. It has no information to suggest that the Belgian agency Ducroire/Delcredere acted differently
from a private insurance company, since it does not have precise information on the terms and content of
the contract concluded between Ducroire/Delcredere and FN Herstal.

At this stage, the Commission would none the less stress that the interventions referred to by the
Honourable Member relate exclusively to compliance with the terms of the export credit insurance
contract. These terms are in line with Council Directive 98/29/EC of 7 May 1998 on harmonisation of the
main provisions concerning export credit insurance for transactions with medium and long-term cover (1).
The Directive explicitly allows this type of guarantee and requires Member States to set up in their
countries a private or public export insurance scheme that covers, among others, political risks. Among
the risks to be covered by the export credit insurer, the Directive cites a decision to ban exports taken by
the Government of the country of the insurer. It can thus be concluded that the intervention granted by
Ducroire/Delcredere is in accordance with the Directive.

(1) OJ L 148, 19.5.1998.

(2003/C 155 E/064) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2883/02


by Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(14 October 2002)

Subject: Community support

Less than a year after another identical situation, almost a thousand workers employed by the
multinational footwear company Rohde in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, are again facing the prospect
of being laid off for three weeks. The situation is especially serious given the very low wage levels in
Portugal, and not even these low wages will be paid during this period.

The management’s justification, based on an alleged lack of orders, is not credible given that work has
remained at an extremely high level. The business association Appicaps itself states that Portugal again
stands out against the remaining Community countries with footwear exports reaching a new historic
high, increasing by 36 % according to INE figures, a trend which has continued in 2002.
C 155 E/58 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.2003

Bearing in mind that the company has received around EUR 500 000 in state incentives,

can the Commission provide information on any Community support which the German multinational
Rohde has received in Portugal and in other EU Member States, and on the measures adopted with a view
to safeguarding the rights of its workers?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(21 November 2002)

With regard to protection of the rights of the workers concerned, the Commission would refer in
particular to Council Directive 98/59/EC of 20 July 1998 on the approximation of the laws of the Member
States relating to collective redundancies (1).

This Directive has been largely transposed into national law in Portugal. Although an infringement
procedure (2) is currently under way against Portugal to ensure that this Directive is fully transposed into
national law, it does not seem that Portugal’s non-compliance can in this particular case affect the rights
guaranteed to workers under Community law.

It is therefore up to the relevant national authorities to check whether they are properly implemented in
this case.

The Commission can inform the Honourable Member that, to its knowledge, Rohde has not received any
Community funding, and certainly not from European Social Fund money for Portugal.

(1) OJ L 225, 12.8.1998.


(2) Case C-55/02 pending before the Court of Justice of the European Communities.

(2003/C 155 E/065) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2884/02


by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(14 October 2002)

Subject: Lack of adequate enforcement of rules protecting the welfare of farm animals during transport

1. Is the Commission aware that in a report, which appeared in ‘European Voice’ of 19 September
2002, Commission’s animal welfare spokeswoman Beate Gminder was quoted as saying that the
Commission would take infringement action against Member States which did not adequately enforce
rules protecting the welfare of farm animals during transport?

2. Does the Commission agree that findings reported in the article referred to above demonstrate that
unacceptable breaches of the law have occurred and continue to occur, for example in the failure to
respect statutory rest periods for animals undertaking long journeys and in the failure to provide access to
drinking water?

3. Does the Commission dispute or accept the findings of the Eurogroup for Animal Welfare to the
effect that the incidents recorded in the article are not isolated abuses but part of a widespread pattern of
inflicting unnecessary suffering?

4. Does the Commission now plan to take infringement proceedings, or to conduct further
investigations which may lead to such proceedings? If not, what alternative course of action does it
propose to ensure that the law is respected and that animals are not forced to suffer unnecessarily?