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2004 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 51 E/149

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(8 July 2003)

In general, the Commission is not informed in advance about shipments of waste within the Community
and it has not been contacted regarding this specific shipment, neither by the Irish authorities nor by the
German authorities.

The Commission does not, therefore, possess any information about this shipment and its contents.

Regarding the application of the proximity principle by the Irish authorities, it should be noted that it is a
principle that Member States may apply  it is not compulsory. On top of this, the principle only applies
to shipments of waste destined for disposal and not to waste destined for recovery.

The proximity principle in this context is laid down in Article 4(3)(a) of the Waste Shipment Regulation
(Council Regulation (EEC) No 259/93 of 1 February 1993 on the supervision and control of shipments of
waste within, into and out of the Community (1)).

(1) OJ L 30, 6.2.1993.

(2004/C 51 E/166) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1872/03

by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission
(6 June 2003)

Subject: Transparency requirements

Will the Commission state how many quoted companies in each Member State currently provide quarterly
accounts? Will it further estimate how many of those companies in each Member State publish such
quarterly updates without the assistance of their auditor (even if such auditor approval is now required by
regulation)? Will it further estimate the additional cost  for companies of different sizes and complexity
 of preparing quarterly updates with the assistance of an auditor?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(3 July 2003)

The Commission recently presented a proposal for a Directive on the harmonisation of transparency
requirements with regard to information about issuers whose securities are admitted to trading on a
regulated market (1). This proposal is part of the Financial Services Action Plan. The European Council
called for its adoption by April 2004 in the conclusions of the last European Council in Brussels on
21 March 2003.

One of the objectives of the proposal is to upgrade the existing interim financial reporting requirements
for companies whose shares are admitted to trading on regulated markets in Member States. For this
purpose, the proposal envisages to make mandatory a more detailed half-yearly financial report for the
first six months of a financial year and less detailed quarterly financial information for the first and third

The Honourable Member sought for statistical information on various issues related to the proposed
quarterly financial information.

The Commission has the honour to reply as follows:

Number of companies currently providing quarterly financial information

 The Commission assumes that the question refers to issuers whose shares are admitted to trading on a
regulated market in Member States and who publish quarterly financial reports or more limited
quarterly financial information, and not also to those companies who produce quarterly accounts for
internal purposes without publishing them.
C 51 E/150 Official Journal of the European Union EN 26.2.2004

 As the Commission already pointed out in its proposal, it estimates that about 1100 publicly quoted
companies (2) out of 6 000 in Europe (= 18,3 %) provide quarterly financial reports of high
international standards, i.e. they publish financial statements.

 In its proposal, the Commission also stated that there are much more companies in Europe which
provide less detailed quarterly financial information, which is composed of only net turnover, profit
and loss before or after tax (or only operating results). Following the question of the Honourable
Member, the Commission carried out an informal inquiry amongst stock exchanges, national
regulators and  in one case  the association of security issuers in the Member States, the
Commission estimates that more than 2 500 (= 41 %) out of 6 229 issuers (= domestic issuers except
for Belgium, Denmark and the United Kingdom) publish either financial statements on a quarterly
basis or at least quarterly financial information referred to above.

This figure does not cover:

 all third country issuers (in particular from the United States) whose shares are admitted to
trading on a regulated market in the Union;

 all domestic French issuers. There are no figures available, save for CAC 40 where 12 companies
provide quarterly financial reports. All 796 French issuers are, however, required by law to
publish net turnover on a quarterly basis.

With regard to the situation in all the Member States, the breakdown of the estimated figure of more
than 2 500 issuers is as follows:

Total number of Issuers providing quarterly reports or

Member State
(domestic) issuers at least quarterly information

Belgium (1) 125 43

Denmark (2) 197 127
Germany 525 429
Greece 344 344
Spain 273 273
France 796 (3)12
(+ 784 only net turnover)
Ireland 70 1
Italy 279 265
Luxembourg ( ) 45 8
The Netherlands 179 75
Austria 110 90
Portugal 57 55
Finland 143 135
Sweden 350 340
United Kingdom ( ) 5 2 736 ( )350

15 Member States 6 229 2 547

(+ 784 French issuers = 3 331)
(1) Not covering Nasdaq Europe.
(2) This figure covers not only domestic, but also foreign issuers.
(3) 12 in CAC 40 at Paris. However, the actual number of companies providing quarterly financial information is
certainly much higher.
(4) In addition, 193 foreign share issuers are admitted to trading in Luxemburg; 118 thereof provide quarterly
reports or at least quarterly financial information.
(5) Contrary to the other Member States, this figure also covers not only domestic issuers, but also foreign issuers
whose shares are admitted to trading on regulated markets.
(6) 32 issuers in the FTSE 100, 17 issuers under the United Kingdom Listing Rules requiring quarterly reports
from companies with a trade record of less than three years.
26.2.2004 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 51 E/151

Estimated number of companies publishing quarterly reports or information without the assistance of their auditor,
estimated costs for the assistance by auditors

 The Commission proposal does not contain a provision making the proposed quarterly financial
information subject to an audit or an auditor’s review. No Member State currently requires such an
involvement of auditors in the case of quarterly reports either. The Commission is therefore not in a
position to provide the requested estimates.

(1) COM(2003) 138 final.

(2) Bloomberg data of June 2002, as mentioned in the Commission proposal.

(2004/C 51 E/167) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1875/03

by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission

(6 June 2003)

Subject: On-site visits

Will the Commission estimate the number of occasions over the last year in which Member State
regulators availed themselves of powers to conduct on site visits prior to the approval of a prospectus?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(1 July 2003)

The Commission has not sought to estimate the number of occasions of on-site visits prior to the approval
of a prospectus because it does not believe this number will allow it to draw conclusions on the usefulness
of on site inspections.

The Commission believes this number is very small and perhaps close to zero. However, it should be
mentioned that the Commission has checked how many competent authorities have the powers to carry
on-site inspections in the context of the approval of a prospectus. At the request of the Commission, the
Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) has sent a questionnaire to its members, covering this
issue. Six competent authorities from five Member States have this power (Spain, Italy, the Netherlands,
Portugal and Finland). The Danish Financial Services Authority (FSA) has the power to carry on site
inspections limited to financial institutions. However, it must be noted that some other competent
authorities, notably in France and in the United Kingdom, do have this kind of power, directly or
indirectly, in a more general context related to enforcement either of market abuse or of other disclosure

(2004/C 51 E/168) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1879/03

by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission

(6 June 2003)

Subject: Price alignment in the euro-area

Will the Commission examine the evidence of any price alignment for similar goods and services within
the euro-area compared with the EU as a whole and the non-euro EU Member States? How significant has
this alignment, if any, been? How much further is it likely to go?