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C 160 E/152 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 4.7.

2002

Reply

(25/26 March 2002)

The Honourable Member is referred to the reply given to her oral question No H-0626/01 in which the
Council pointed out that it was taking action against such exploitation in the territory of the European
Union but was unable to do so outside that territory.

The proposal for a Council framework decision on combating the sexual exploitation of children and child
pornography to which the Honourable Member refers is still under examination. At the Council meeting
[Justice and Home Affairs and Civil Protection] on 6 and 7 December 2001, broad consensus was reached
on definitions and on the acts to be made criminal offences. Work is continuing on that basis and should
shortly result in a political agreement.

(2002/C 160 E/191) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3617/01


by Mario Borghezio (NI) to the Commission

(8 January 2002)

Subject: Godless euro

Given that the roots of European culture are clearly Christian and that, as the Holy Father stated on the
occasion of the 1200th anniversary of the crowning of Charlemagne, there is not the slightest mention of
God, the supreme source of human dignity and fundamental rights, in the Charter of Fundamental Rights,
will the Commission explain why the designer of the euro banknotes has carefully avoided any graphic or
other reference to Christianity or even God?

Would the Commission not agree that such a reference should have been seen as indispensable, given the
current process of globalisation, which, regrettably, is gradually wiping out our traditions and our
European historical, cultural and religious identity?

Would the Commission not agree that it should reconsider the banknotes’ design?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(14 February 2002)

According to the EC Treaty Article 106, the European Central Bank (ECB) has the exclusive right to
authorise the issue of banknotes within the Community. The ECB and the national central banks may issue
such notes, and are also responsible for the designs on the notes. The Commission is therefore not in a
position to reply to this question, as the matter is out of its competence.

(2002/C 160 E/192) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3624/01


by Karin Riis-Jørgensen (ELDR) to the Commission

(8 January 2002)

Subject: Subsidies for the Rosyth-Zeebrugge ferry route

In its answer to Question H-0757/01 (1), the Commission gave an assurance that it would ensure that
selection of, and support for projects under the PACT and Marco Polo programmes would be subject to
the most stringent assessment as regards any distortion of competition such projects might cause.
4.7.2002 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 160 E/153

According to the Commission website, EUR 500 000 of aid has been granted under the PACT programme
for a new roll-on/roll-off service between Scotland (Rosyth) and the European mainland (Zeebrugge,
Belgium). The UK authorities have also announced that they intend to support the same ferry route by
granting a further £12 million under the Freight Facilities Grant Scheme, which has apparently not been
approved yet.

However, there are already ferry routes across the North Sea, starting from places as close as Newcastle
and Hull, which are not subsidised.

Will the Commission therefore state how it will ensure that the European and UK subsidies for the planned
route between Rosyth and Zeebrugge do not distort competition with the nearby, non-subsidised routes
across the North Sea?

If this cannot be ensured, will the Commission see to it that the subsidies are not paid?

(1) Written answer of 2.10.2001.

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(7 February 2002)

The Honourable Member is rightly pointing out that a PACT grant has been accorded to Superfast Ferries,
amounting to € 500 000, in connection with starting a new service between Rosyth and Zeebrugge.
According to the subvention contract between the Commission and Superfast, this money will be used for
adaptation of the ships and terminal facilities to the requirements of providing an efficient intermodal
service. In view of the innovative nature and quality of the service, its fast transit time and the high
standard of the ships employed, an important modal shift from congested roads to maritime traffic is
expected. The Commission would like to point out the modal shift towards environment-friendly transport
was identified as an EU priority by the Göteborg European Council.

The issue of potential competition between services from the other British ports and the new service has
been scrutinised during the evaluation of the project. Possible unacceptable distortions of competition
resulting from the grant could not be detected. In the unlikely circumstance that such distortions of
competition would nevertheless arise from the PACT grant, in the future, the contract gives the
Commission the necessary monitoring and intervention powers to redress the situation.

Concerning the aid given by the British Government under the ‘Freight Facilities Grant (FFG) Scheme’, the
Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that it has taken the decision, on 19 December
2001, not to raise objections against this State aid measure. However, it has to be clarified that Superfast
Ferries is not a recipient of aid under the scheme, as cleared by the Commission. The extension of the FFG
scheme will allow aid to operators of port freight handling facilities for coastal/short sea shipping for
reasons of modal shift. In addition, the notified Port of Rosyth project will only include aid to freight
facilities, which will be open to any interested operator on non-discriminatory basis. The fees to be
charged for the use of this infrastructure will be based on commercial terms.

At the same time, the FFG scheme provides for several measures, which prevent potential distortion of
intra-community competition between ports. There must be a traffic shift from road to maritime transport,
in order to achieve road mileage savings with corresponding environmental benefits. A mere shift of traffic
between two ports without corresponding road mileage savings would thus not be allowed under the FFG
scheme. A market analysis has to be carried out when a project submitted for aid is evaluated. Finally, the
Commission will be kept informed of the implementation of the scheme through annual reports provided
by the British authorities.