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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/25

otherwise contrary to Community competition rules. It should also be noted that carriage charges
specifically foreseen for printed products imported from the United Kingdom may be designed to cover
additional transport and distribution costs incurred by the wholesaler.

The Commission, which is following closely the evolution of cross-border pricing for newspapers and
magazines within the Union in the light of Community competition rules, will establish contact with the
Irish and UK competition authorities with a view to further assessing the matter.

(1) See review by the OFT,

(2) Commission Regulation (EC) No 2790/1999 of 22 December 1999 on the application of Article 81(3) of the Treaty
to categories of vertical agreements and concerted practices  OJ L 336, 29.12.1999.
(3) Commission Notice  Guidelines on vertical restraints  OJ C 291, 13.10.2000.

(2003/C 155 E/025) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2519/02

by Helena Torres Marques (PSE) to the Commission

(4 September 2002)

Subject: Exclusion of public expenditure from the budget deficit

On 28 August Agence Europe published a report entitled ‘Commission does not intend to modify Stability
Pact rules and takes note of Italy’s suggestions’, which states that:

 Commissioner Pedro Solbes was receptive to the Italian Government’s arguments, according to which
investments should not be included in calculation of the budget if the resulting financial advantages
are greater than the investment costs;

 Germany and Austria already pursue this policy and the Italian Minister proposed that Italy should do

Can the Commission say what steps Germany and Austria are taking in this connection?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(11 October 2002)

The Commission is aware of the suggestions according to which investment should not be included in the
calculation of the budget balance. Some Member States have, for internal purposes, national rules
concerning the role of investment or of capital expenditure with respect to the balance: for instance in
Germany and in the United Kingdom, while this is not the case in Austria.

However, it is important to stress that the rules applied by the Commission in the context of the fiscal
surveillance at Community level are those foreseen by the EC Treaty and the Stability Pact. These rules
foresee that the ratios of the government deficit and of the government debt to gross domestic product
will be used as criteria for the examination of Member States’ compliance with budgetary discipline. In the
Protocol on the excessive deficit procedure annexed to the EC Treaty the deficit is defined as the net
borrowing of the general government, in accordance with the European System of Integrated Economic
Accounts (ESA 95). This embraces all items of public expenditure, including public investment. In this
context, all Member States strictly follow the rules of the EC Treaty.