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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/15

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission

(19 February 1998)

The Commission shares the view of the Honourable Member that the last and future enlargements of the
Community, as well as the further development of the Community relations with Russia within the new
framework created by the partnership and co-operation agreement, all contribute to enhancing the importance for
the Community of the northern parts of Europe. These issues are already being addressed by a wide range of
Community policies and Community instruments both internally and in relations with neighbours. The
frameworks resulting from the Community agreements with each of its neighbours in the region, and the fora
created by the Baltic and Barents regional co-operation initiatives, play an important role in this regard. Through
regional policy and external assistance programmes, the Community supports the region’s development. This
will continue to be an important and integral part of the work being done in these existing frameworks. With this
in mind, the Commission will prepare an interim report on this subject to the European Council.

Moreover, the European Conference, as stated by the European Council, will be a multilateral forum for political
consultation, intended to address questions of general concern to the participants and to broaden and deepen their
co-operation on foreign and security policy, justice and home affairs. It will also examine other areas of common
concern, particularly economic matters and regional co-operation, the latter being of relevance to the issue raised
by the Honourable Member.

(98/C 304/22) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4186/97

by Bárbara Dührkop Dührkop (PSE) to the Commission
(21 January 1998)

Subject: Academic qualifications for A/LA grade competitions

Because of the great diversity of university qualifications in the European Union as a whole and the different
study periods required, applicants are finding it difficult to understand what qualifications are needed in order to
be eligible for A/LA grade competitions.

What selection criteria does the Commission use to determine eligibility for employment as an A/LA grade
official in the European civil service?

Is it true that eligibility for such posts is restricted to those holding the highest university qualification in each
Member State? If so, what legal provision governs this requirement?

Is it true that the Commission has accepted applications for A/LA grade posts from candidates holding a
‘Fachhochschuldiplom’, even though this is not the highest university qualification in the Member State
concerned? On what grounds does the Commission accept such applications?

Why does it not accept the Spanish qualification of ‘Ingeniero Técnico’ for applications for A/LA grade posts?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(10 February 1998)

Under the EC Treaty the organisation of education and education policy are not areas of competence specifically
assigned to the Community institutions. Given the range and variety of qualifications, opportunities for study,
university diplomas and centres and universities which issue qualifications and diplomas officially recognised in
each Member State, the Commission has to determine whether or not a diploma is acceptable for admission to the
civil service on the basis of the specific legislation of the Member State where the applicant claims to have
obtained the qualifications.

According to Article 27 of the Staff Regulations, the Commission’s recruitment policy is directed to securing for
the institution the services of officials of the highest standard of ability, efficiency and integrity, recruited on the
broadest possible geographical basis from among nationals of Member States.In addition, officials must
C 304/16 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

be selected without reference to race, creed or sex. Accordingly, in response to the Honourable Member’s
question regarding access to category A/LA, applicants are required to hold university degrees giving admission
to doctoral studies.

With respect to the Honourable Member’s question concerning applicants holding a ‘Fachhochschulen’ diploma,
the Commission bases itself on the 1976 German ‘Hochschulrahmengesetz’ (HRG, governing ‘Universitäten,
Pädagogische Hochschulen, Kunsthochschulen, Fachhochschulen’); this Act defines university level diplomas
(Hochschulabschluss) without making a distinction between the different types. Therefore the Commission
admits applicants holding German diplomas issued after a minimum of eight semesters to sit A/LA competitions.

The Spanish diplomas ‘Ingeniero Técnico’ and ‘Arquitecto Técnico’ or ‘Diplomado’ are first level studies which
do not give admission to doctoral studies. According to the 1990 Ley Orgánica de Ordenación General del
Sistema Educativo (Logse) the qualification of ‘Ingeniero Técnico’ is obtained after completing three academic
years. Therefore they are not considered eligible for admission to A/LA competitions.

Finally, although the Commission is well aware that the Community civil service is independent of the national
civil services, it is also aware that the Spanish qualification of ‘Ingeniero Técnico’ does not give applicants
admission to A grade competitions for the Spanish civil service. For this applicants must hold the ‘Licenciatura’
or equivalent, not ‘Ingeniero Técnico, Diplomado o Arquitecto Técnico’.

(98/C 304/23) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4212/97

by Bryan Cassidy (PPE) to the Commission
(21 January 1998)

Subject: Judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 26 October 1996 in the case of Elida Gibbs Limited
(Case C-317/94)

This ECJ judgment appears to be frustrated by its non-application in Germany and its partial application in
France and Greece.

Is there any rule in Germany which prohibits certain types of promotion scheme, such as the use of
manufacturers’ money-off coupons or manufacturers’ cash-back offers? If so, what is the logic behind the
prohibition and is such a prohibition acceptable in the Single Market?

If there is such a rule and it is not acceptable, what action has been taken by the European Commission, and under
what provisions of the Treaty?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(10 March 1998)

There are very strict rules in Germany governing the granting of discounts and premiums.

The Zugabeverordnung (Order governing free gifts), which is dated March 1932, prohibits with very few
exceptions the giving of any gift of whatever kind in connection with the sale of a good or service. The
exceptions concern, for instance, packaging or gifts of insignificant value (of less than 50 pfennigs or so). The
Rabattgesetz (Law on rebates), which dates from November 1933, prohibits discounts of more than 3%.

According to the information in the Commission’s possession, the logic applied at the time by the legislature was
twofold: to protect consumers by encouraging them to base their buying decisions on the intrinsic qualities of the
product or service and on its price, and to ensure fair trading by preventing practices deemed likely to distort
competition. In the 1920s premiums were offered particularly by large stores in Germany and, following the
depression years, it was deemed expedient to protect small and medium-sized businesses by what was intended
at the time as a temporary measure.