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Document 51996AG1209(01)

COMMON POSITION (EC) No 61/96 adopted by the Council on 25 October 1996 with a view to adopting Council Regulation (EC) No .../96 of ... amending Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 on the granting of aids for transport by rail, road and inland waterway

OJ C 372, 9.12.1996, p. 1–5 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

51996AG1209(01)

COMMON POSITION (EC) No 61/96 adopted by the Council on 25 October 1996 with a view to adopting Council Regulation (EC) No .../96 of ... amending Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 on the granting of aids for transport by rail, road and inland waterway

Official Journal C 372 , 09/12/1996 P. 0001


COMMON POSITION (EC) No 61/96 adopted by the Council on 25 October 1996 with a view to adopting Council Regulation (EC) No . . ./96 of . . . amending Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 on the granting of aids for transport by rail, road and inland waterway (96/C 372/01)

THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION,

Having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Articles 75 and 94 thereof,

Having regard to the proposal from the Commission (1),

Having regard to the opinion of the Economic and Social Committee (2),

Acting in accordance with the procedure referred to in Article 189c of the Treaty (3),

(1) Whereas Council Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 of 4 June 1970 on the granting of aids for transport by rail, road and inland waterway (4), provides the Member States with the possibility of developing combined transport by the granting of aid relating to investments in infrastructure, in fixed and mobile equipment necessary for transhipment and in transport equipment specifically geared to combined transport and used only in combined transport or aid concerning the running costs of an intra-Community combined transport service transiting through the territory of third countries;

(2) Whereas the growing requirement for mobility is placing ever increasing demands and pressures on people and the environment; whereas, to take account of the present highly uneven spread of costs and pressures between the different modes of transport, the possibility must be created of support for environment-friendly forms of transport;

(3) Whereas the current overall transport policy has not yet succeeded in creating the conditions for healthy competition between the various modes of transport, and whereas no financial equilibrium has yet been achieved within the railway companies;

(4) Whereas the development of combined transport reveals that the launching phase of this technique has not yet been completed in all regions of the Community; whereas the aid arrangements have accordingly to be extended;

(5) Whereas, consequently, it is appropriate to maintain current aid arrangements in force until 31 December 1997; whereas the Council should take a decision, under the conditions provided for in the Treaty, on the arrangements to be applied thereafter or, if necessary, on the conditions under which these aids should cease;

(6) Whereas the possibility of granting aid for the running costs of combined transport services transiting through the territory of third countries has to be maintained only for Switzerland and the States of former Yugoslavia;

(7) Whereas Decision 75/327/EEC (1), to which Article 4 of Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 refers, was repealed by Article 13 of Directive 91/440/EEC of 29 July 1991 on the development of the Community's railways (2); whereas Article 4 should therefore be deleted;

(8) Whereas the categories of aid authorized for combined transport have been shown to operate satisfactorily and that it is possible, consequently, to simplify checks on these by exempting them from the procedure referred to in Article 93 (3) of the Treaty;

(9) Whereas the laying down of rules relating to aids allocated by Member States for transport is a matter of exclusive Community competence and must take the form of a regulation;

(10) Whereas it is appropriate to amend Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 accordingly,

HAS ADOPTED THIS REGULATION:

Article 1

Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 is hereby amended as follows:

1. Article 3 (1) (e), shall be amended as follows:

- in the first and third subparagraphs, '31 december 1995` shall be replaced by '31 December 1997`,

- in the fourth indent of the first subparagraph, the words 'across austria` shall be deleted;

2. Article 4 shall be deleted;

3. Article 5 (2) shall be replaced by the following:

'2. Aid referred to in Article 3 (1) (e) shall be exempt from the procedure provided for in Article 93 (3) of the Treaty; it shall be communicated to the Commission on an estimated basis at the beginning of each year, and, subsequently, in the form of a report, after the end of the financial year.`

Article 2

This Regulation shall enter into force on the day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

It shall apply with effect from 1 January 1996.

This Regulation shall be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in all Member States.

Done at Brussels, . . .

For the Council

The President

(1) OJ No C 253, 29. 9. 1995, p. 22.

(2) OJ No C 39, 12. 2. 1996, p. 102.

(3) Opinion of the European Parliamented of 29 February 1996 (OJ No C 78, 18. 3. 1996, p. 25), Council common position of 25 October 1996 (not yet published in the Official Journal) and Decision of the European Parliament of . . . (not yet published in the Official Journal).

(4) OJ No L 130, 15. 6. 1970, p. 1. Regulation as last amended by Regulation (EEC) No 3578/92 (OJ No L 364, 12. 12. 1992, p. 11).

(1) Council Decision 75/327/EEC of 20 May 1975 on the improvement of the situation of railway undertakings and the harmonization of the rules governing financial relations between such undertakings and the States (OJ No L 152, 12. 6. 1975, p. 3).

(2) OJ No L 237, 24. 8. 1991, p. 25.

STATEMENT OF THE COUNCIL'S REASONS

I. INTRODUCTION

On 19 July 1995 the Commission forwarded to the Council a proposal for a Regulation, based on Articles 75 and 94 of the EC Treaty, amending Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 on the granting of aids for transport by rail, road and inland waterway (1).

The European Parliament delivered its opinion on the proposal on 29 February 1996 (2) and the Economic and Social Committee delivered its opinion on 23 November 1995 (3).

Following the opinion of the European Parliament, the Commission forwarded an amended proposal (4) to the Council on 17 July 1996.

On 25 October 1996 the Council adopted its common position in accordance with Article 189c of the EC Treaty.

II. AIM OF THE PROPOSAL

The main aim of the amended Commission proposal, which incorporates two of the six amendments proposed by the European Parliament, is to extend for two years (1996 and 1997) the current mechanism for granting temporary aid for combined transport laid down in Council Regulation (EEC) No 3578/92 amending Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 on the granting of aids for transport by rail, road and inland waterway (5), which has been in force since 31 December 1995. It also contains three amendments to Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70.

The Commission considers that if proper competition between modes of transport is to be restored, aid for combined transport must continue to be authorized given that the inequality in the distribution of infrastructure charges between modes of transport and the inadequate allowance made for external costs is operating against rail and waterway transport, and therefore against combined transport.

III. ANALYSIS OF THE COUNCIL'S COMMON POSITION

The common position adopted by the Council corresponds to the amended Commission proposal.

1. Extension of the current mechanism (first indent of Article 1 (1))

The Council's common position makes provision for the current mechanism laid down in Regulation (EEC) No 3578/92 to be extended until 31 December 1997.

The Member States could thus continue to develop combined transport by granting aid to:

- investments in infrastructure,

- investments in fixed and mobile equipment necessary for transhipment,

- investments in transport equipment specifically geared to combined transport and used only in combined transport,

- running costs of combined transport services transiting through the territory of certain third countries.

2. Combined transport services transiting through Austria

(second indent of Article 1 (1))

Given that, since 1 January 1995, Austria is no longer a third country of transit but a Member State of the European Union, the Council's common position restricts the scope of aid for running costs of combined transport lines transiting through the territory of third countries only to services transiting through Switzerland (taking into account the transit agreement between the Community and that country, which makes provision for such aid as part of the accompanying measures) and through the States of former Yugoslavia (taking into account the particular geographical position of Greece).

3. Deletion of Article 4 of Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70

(Article 1 (2))

Article 13 of Directive 91/440/EEC (1) repealed Decision 75/327/EEC (2) with effect from 1 January 1993. Since Article 4 of Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 refers to the repealed Decision, the Council's common position makes provision for the deletion of that Article 4.

4. Monitoring of aid

(Article 1 (3))

The Council's common position makes provision for simplifying the monitoring of the categories of aid referred to in Article 3 (1) (e) of Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70 by exempting them from the procedure provided for in Article 93 (3) of the Treaty.

Such aid would be communicated to the Commission on an estimated basis at the beginning of each year, and, subsequently, in the form of a report, at the end of the financial year.

IV. EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AMENDMENTS

1. European Parliament amendments taken over by the Commission and adopted by the Council

The Council followed the Commission proposal and adopted the content, if not the wording, of the following European Parliament amendments:

- in the second recital, amendment 1 to include in the Regulation a new recital stressing the need to support environment-friendly modes of transport,

- in the third recital, amendment 2 to include in the Regulation a new recital to justify maintaining the current aid mechanism since the common transport policy has not yet created the conditions for healthy competition between modes of transport and railway companies have not yet achieved financial equilibrium.

2. European Parliament amendments not taken over by the Commission and not adopted by the Council The Council did not adopt:

- amendment 3 to include in the Regulation a recital making provision for aid for combined transport operating costs to be granted not only to certain third countries but also to Member States and therefore stressing the need to develop a new concept for combined transport in the mountainous regions of the Community, and

- amendment 4 to include in the Regulation a recital making provision for the need to pay special attention to combined transport aid to be granted to the new Member States of the Community, namely Austria, Finland and Sweden.

As the Commission stated that it was in the process of recasting Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70, the Council felt that measures such as those in amendments 3 and 4 would be more appropriate in a general review of the Regulation than in the current amendment, which was more of a factual nature. It therefore announced its readiness to examine any proposal that the Commission might submit in that connection.

The Council also rejected amendments 5 and 6 to include in the Regulation a recital and a provision in order to retain Article 4 of Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70, which Article 1 (2) of the common position, in line with the Commission proposal, deleted.

As stated in point III.3, the Article 4 in question ceased to be applicable as from 1 January 1993.

If, as part of the aforementioned recasting of Regulation (EEC) No 1107/70, the Commission were to reconsider the measures contained in the former Article 4, the Council was ready to examine any proposals in that connection.

(1) OJ No C 253, 29. 9. 1995, p. 22.

(2) OJ No C 78, 18. 3. 1996, p. 25.

(3) OJ No C 39, 12. 2. 1996, p. 100.

(4) OJ No C 273, 19. 9. 1996, p. 9.

(5) OJ No L 364, 12. 12. 1992, p. 11.

(1) Council Directive of 29 July 1991 on the development of the Community's railways (OJ No L 237, 24. 8. 1991, p. 25).

(2) Council Decision of 20 May 1975 on the improvement of the situation of railway undertakings and the harmonization of rules governing financial relations between such undertakings and States (OJ No L 152, 12. 6. 1975, p. 3).

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