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C 151 E/204 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 22.5.

2001

(2001/C 151 E/237) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3720/00


by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission
(30 November 2000)

Subject: Trade in cigarettes

The Commission’s legal dispute with two American tobacco manufacturers has focused interest once more
on the import and export of cigarettes.

There is a degree of uncertainty about the extent of the cigarette trade (including smuggling). I should
therefore be glad if the Commission could answer these questions:
1. How many cigarettes were confiscated in the various EU Member States in 1997, 1998 and 1999?
2. Which were the five most confiscated makes of cigarettes in the EU, in order of importance, in 1997,
1998 and 1999?
3. Which Member States exported cigarettes to Cyprus in 1997-1999 (data broken down by year,
Member State and number of cigarettes)?
4. Which Member States exported cigarettes to Yugoslavia in 1997-1999 (data broken down by year,
Member State and number of cigarettes)?
5. From which countries were cigarettes imported into the EU in 1997-1999 through the port of
Antwerp? (data broken down by year, Member State and number of cigarettes)?
6. To which countries outside the EU were cigarettes exported from the Belgian Federation in 1997-
1999? (data broken down by year, Member State and number of cigarettes)?

Answer given by Mrs Schreyer on behalf of the Commission


(18 January 2001)

The Commission is collecting the information it needs to answer the question. It will communicate its
findings as soon as possible.

(2001/C 151 E/238) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3721/00


by Bartho Pronk (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(30 November 2000)

Subject: Family allowances as an obstacle to freedom of movement

Border workers are sometimes faced with discrepancies between the legislation in their country of
residence and their country of work. One notable case is the legislation on family allowances. The German
child allowance rules are based on the country-of-residence principle, while the Netherlands General Child
Allowances Act (AKW) is based on the country-of-employment principle. The underlying rule of European
coordination law is that the border worker should receive whichever of the amounts payable under the
two schemes is the higher.

In practice, however, the following cases have arisen. A German border worker who works in the
Netherlands has for some years now received the Dutch benefit under the AKW, topped up with a benefit
under the German child allowance scheme, adding up to a total amount of family allowances equal to the
amount he would have received in child allowances if he had worked in Germany. However, after a few
years his wife also went to work in the Netherlands and the body paying the benefit has decided that there
is no longer any entitlement to the German top-up family benefit.

1. Is the action of the German government compatible with the regulation or with other parts of the
EU Treaties?

2. Does the Commission consider that this action may constitute an obstacle to the free movement of
workers?
22.5.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 151 E/205

3. To what extent is it relevant that in this case both parents are border workers? Does the Commission
consider that such a distinction is legally admissible?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission


(23 January 2001)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E-2668/00 by
Mrs Oomen-Ruijten (1).

(1) OJ C 136 E, 8.5.2001, p. 73.

(2001/C 151 E/239) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3734/00


by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission
(30 November 2000)

Subject: Conversion costs of the euro

Will the Commission please estimate what the conversion costs of the euro (for slot machines, software
changes, production of notes and coins etc.) are likely to be for each Member State participating in the
euro area?

Will it also cite alternative estimates available from national central banks, public authorities, academics or
private research groups including business organisations?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission


(18 January 2001)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E-2741/00 by
Mrs Villiers (1).

(1) OJ C 89 E, 20.3.2001, p. 219.

(2001/C 151 E/240) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3737/00


by Christopher Huhne (ELDR) to the Commission
(30 November 2000)

Subject: Television licences

1. Will the Commission state whether a licence, fee or tax is levied for the use of television in each
Member State, and also state what the current rate of such a levy is in each Member State, in both national
currency and in euro?

2. Are there any exemptions in Member States for blind people?

Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission


(22 January 2001)

The Commission has asked the Member State concerned for information regarding the facts raised to by
the Honourable Member. It will inform him of its findings.