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C 58 E/52

Official Journal of the European Union

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6.3.2004

subsidises German workers who take up jobs abroad by approximately DKK 60 an hour. The individual worker also receives a tax allowance of some DKK 800 a day.

The businessman in question has sent 3 000 e-mails and faxes to Danish firms offering to supply them with German workers in the building trades at an hourly rate of DKK 120. By way of comparison, a firm must pay between DKK 175 and 190 an hour for a skilled Danish worker.

The businessman is doing nothing illegal, he is simply exploiting current German law as the system was introduced by the Federal Institute of Labour. However, this system is severely undermining the Danish labour market in that it is increasing the pressure on a sector in which unemployment is currently rising.

Germany has, in effect, introduced an unfair system in an attempt to export high German unemployment to another Member State, in this case Denmark, thereby undermining the Danish system.

In the light of this situation, what does the Commission intend to do to put an end to this arrangement, which is distorting competition?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(27 May 2003)

The Commission can assure the Honourable Member that it is aware of the fact that employment aid granted by Member States may have a major impact on competition in the common market, although the promotion of employment is a central aim for the economic and social policies of the Community and of its Member States. The Community has developed a European employment strategy in order to promote this objective and as a legal basis for employment aid to be granted by Member States, the Commission has adopted Commission Regulation (EC) No 2204/2002 of 5 December 2002 on the application of Articles 87 and 88 of the EC Treaty to State aid for employment ( 1 ).

As regards the specific measures mentioned by the Honourable Member, they seem to form part of plans and measures already put into effect aimed at reforming the German labour market. Some of these elements are presently under scrutiny by the Commission under State aid law. The Commission will request the German authorities to provide information on the specific measures addressed by the Honourable Member and will assess them if appropriate under State aid rules.

( 1 ) OJ L 337, 13.12.2002, corrigendum OJ L 349, 24.12.2002.

(2004/C 58 E/070)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-1231/03

by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission

(2 April 2003)

Subject: EC Committee on the Driving Licence

1. Who are the members of the medical working groups established under the auspices of the EC

Committee on the Driving Licence, and what powers or decision-making responsibilities do they have relative to European policy on the use of bioptic lenses in driving?

2. Can the Commission confirm whether the relevant working group is now established and

functioning, and what the frequency of its meetings is?

6.3.2004

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Official Journal of the European Union

C 58 E/53

3. Where is the issue of bioptic driving on their agenda, and what, if any, proactive actions or enquiries

are they pursuing on this subject?

4. Do they have any projected timeframe within which they anticipate developments?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(30 April 2003)

While the creation of medical working groups, including one on vision, has been announced to the Driving Licence Committee which approved of the principle, these working groups have not yet been established, nor have terms of reference been fixed or members appointed. The future medical working groups will be evaluating the medical requirements to drive as laid down in Annex III of Council Directive 91/439/EEC of 29 July 1991 on driving licences ( 1 ), which were established in 1991.

The issue of bioptic driving is still in an experimental stage in the Union. So far the use of bioptic lenses has not been allowed, and is not expected to be for the near future, as it should first be thoroughly investigated and discussed.

As the medical working group on vision has not yet been established, it is not possible to affirm if this subject will be an issue on the agenda.

( 1 ) OJ L 237, 24.8.1991.

(2004/C 58 E/071)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-1258/03

by Camilo Nogueira Román (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(3 April 2003)

Subject: Shipbuilding at the Izar-Fene shipyard in the Ría do Ferrol, Galicia

The Galician Parliament recently approved a proposal requesting that the Izar-Fene shipyard in the Ría do Ferrol, Galicia, be allowed to build ships again an activity in which it had reached world-class, building ships up to 300 000 tonnes and that it should be able to continue manufacturing off-shore equipment. The Izar-Fene shipyard, formerly Astano and now part of the Izar company, would thus no longer suffer from the discrimination which led, in different circumstances, to it being banned from building merchant ships, causing a serious economic crisis in the Ferrol region. The need to renew the world fleet for the transport of oil derivatives and dangerous goods, which is particularly urgent given the disastrous effects of accidents such as that involving the ‘Prestige’ off the Galician coast, speaks in favour of such a decision, which would make a significant contribution to the development of both the Ferrol region and Galicia as a whole.

What decision will the Commission take on the request from the Galician Parliament, which reflects the desire expressed by the whole of Galician society?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(23 May 2003)

It may be worth recalling that Fene (ex Astano) shipyard is closed to shipbuilding because this was one of the conditions when the Commission authorised ( 1 ) Spain to grant substantial restructuring aid to the