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C 53 E/24 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 20.2.

2001

In this framework the Commission has started the procedure to negotiate the participation of the
Community in the revised European Convention for the protection of animals during international
transport (ETS-65). This will help to ensure an acceptable level of animal welfare protection in Europe
and accelerate the process of harmonisation of legislation on animal protection in the candidate countries.
Furthermore the issue of long distance transport and in particular the importation of horses in the
Community from Central and Eastern countries was discussed and analysed at the 7th meeting of the
working group of chief veterinary officers of the associated countries which was held in Lisbon on
11-14 April 2000.

(1) OJ L 340, 11.12.1991.

(2001/C 53 E/028) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0775/00


by Peter Mombaur (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(13 March 2000)

Subject: Implementing nuclear safety programmes in Central and Eastern Europe

It appears that less progress has been reached in implementing programmes to improve nuclear safety in
Central and Eastern Europe and in the CIS, PHARE and TACIS than had been originally planned. To shed
light on the situation, the Commission is requested to provide Parliament with an updated break-down of
expenditure hitherto, with the amounts made available every year since 1996, and with a communication
on the level of the appropriations approved every year by Parliament and the Council compared with
actual expenditure.

I should also like an explanation of the Commission proposals for organising implementation of the
programme and an indication of technical and administrative responsibilities, including an assessment of
how long it will take to bring the project back in line with the original timetable and plans.

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(23 May 2000)

The Commission is preparing a communication to the Parliament and the Council on nuclear safety in
Central Europe and the New Independent States. This communication will address the actions carried out
in the period 1990-1999 by the Commission, including the status of contracting of PHARE and TACIS
nuclear safety projects and will make proposals for the forthcoming periods. The communication is
planned to be issued within the coming months. As the questions raised by the Honourable Member fall
within the scope of the envisaged communication, it is suggested to await its transmission. As regards the
question of the Honourable Member regarding proposed reorganisation of technical and administrative
responsibilities in the nuclear safety field, this matter is still under internal discussion in the Commission.

(2001/C 53 E/029) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0777/00


by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(16 March 2000)

Subject: VAT and labour in the vehicle repair industry

Under current VAT legislation within the UK an independent vehicle repair company undertaking repairs
on a customer’s vehicle must charge VAT on the entire bill. In recent years, however, insurance companies
have been setting up their own garages to repair their customers’ cars: through this method they do not
have to pay VAT on labour because the garage staff are their own employees.
20.2.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 53 E/25

Does the Commission accept that by exploiting this tax loophole insurance companies are gaining an
unfair advantage over independent vehicle repair companies? Will the Commission subsequently state what
action it proposes to take to rectify this situation?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(2 May 2000)

When an insurance company sets up its own garage in order to repair its customers’ cars and these repairs
are carried out by employees of this insurance company, these supplies by the employee to the insurance
company are outside the scope of value added tax (VAT).

On the other hand, it is indeed the case that if a garage carries out a similar service for an insurance
company, it will have to invoice VAT on the service. The garage does, however, have a right to deduct the
input VAT it incurs on all its investments for equipment, spare parts, etc., which the insurance company,
being a tax-exempt body, is unable to do. For the latter, this inability to deduct the input VAT amounts to
an additional cost element that compensates for the fact that the insurance company does not have to
charge VAT on its labour costs when it has cars repaired by its own employees.

The Commission is aware of this situation, which arises from the fact that insurance transactions are
exempted from VAT under Article 13.B.(a) of the Sixth VAT Council Directive 77/388/EEC of 17 May
1977 on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes  Common
system of value added tax: uniform basis of assessment (1). The Commission is examining the possibility of
moving from exemption to taxation in the assurance sector but has no immediate plans for action in this
area.

(1) OJ L 145, 13.6.1977.

(2001/C 53 E/030) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0799/00


by Sami Naïr (PSE) to the Commission

(16 March 2000)

Subject: Commission communication on its strategic objectives 2000-20005 and work programme for the
year 2000 (COM(2000) 155 final)

1. On the subject of trade relations, the Commission states that its main objective remains ‘seeking
further trade liberalisation as a stimulus to growth and development, by strengthening the rules-based
trading system’.

(a) What specific measures does it envisage, particularly in the context of the WTO negotiations?

2. The Commission is about to launch the first stage consultation of the social partners on adaptability
and modernisation of work organisation and working conditions.

(a) Can it provide details of the measures it intends to promote?

(b) Can it clarify what it means by the ‘modernisation’ of social protection systems?

(c) Does it consider that flexibility and lack of job security is the price that has to be paid for combating
unemployment?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(9 June 2000)

1. The Community wishes to further trade liberalisation and strengthen the multilateral rules-based
system by means of a fourfold agenda for a new trade round.