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98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 386/167

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(8 July 1998)

The post of Deputy Director-General is provided for by Chapter VI (Article 53) of the Euratom Treaty, which lays
down that ‘the Agency shall be under the supervision of the Commission, which shall ... appoint its Director-
General and Deputy Director-General’.

Since the signing of the Euratom Treaty, the Commission has noted that the role of the Agency has been scaled
down to such an extent that its list of posts includes only 24 permanent posts, eight of them in Category A.

The post of Deputy Director-General, which has never featured in the organisation chart, must be created before
the Commission can fill the post.

So far, the Commission has not made this change to the Agency’s Directory.

(98/C 386/230) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1916/98

by Astrid Thors (ELDR) to the Commission
(9 June 1998)

Subject: Competition issues with a view to electronic and other means of payment

In view of the rapid development of means of payment, including cards and electronic facilities, when will the
Commission state its position on whether the situation with regard to competition between firms providing credit
card or electronic payment services is satisfactory?

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission

(8 July 1998)

The Commission is currently finalising an examination of the rules of two major international credit card
schemes, as to their compatibility to Community law. These rules were notified to the Commission in order to
obtain a negative clearance or an exemption within the meaning of Article 85 of the EC Treaty. In addition to
these notifications the Commission is also examining several formal and informal complaints, in particular the
complaint made by the European retailers organisation Eurocommerce, directed against one or more elements of
these international credit card schemes.

The Commission hopes to take a formal decision in these two cases in the second half of 1998. When the
Commission has stated its views on these pending individual cases, it intends to issue shortly after a notice in
which its position with regard to the main competitive issues in payment card systems will be clarified in a more
general context.

(98/C 386/231) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1941/98

by Lyndon Harrison (PSE) to the Commission
(11 June 1998)

Subject: Public holidays

Given there are only 50 days a year, clear of national, public holidays, where the whole of the European Union
and its single market is open for business, will the Commission indicate what it might do to improve the business
environment by rationalizing the timing of such public holidays across the Union?

Does the Commission agree that such measures should not detract from the holiday complement currently
enjoyed by Europe’s workforce?