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1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 118/63

(1999/C 118/076) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2375/98

by Eryl McNally (PSE) to the Commission

(27 July 1998)

Subject: Exploitation of single travellers

Having already felt the need to establish a support group − STAG − Single Travellers Action Group −
which already has a membership of 4 000, a constituent of mine has written to express concern that the
issue of single travellers is still very much ignored. Single travellers continue to be exploited by travel
companies charging higher prices for single travellers, for example, and national consumer groups do not
appear to offer any protection.

Bearing in mind the increasing number of people living alone, does the Commission envisage submitting
any proposals to prevent these inequalities from occurring and thus protect the single traveller on a
European level? What degree of protection does Europe currently offer?

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission

(20 October 1998)

Council Directive 90/314/EEC of 13 June 1990 on package travel, package holidays and package tours (1),
aims to approximate the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to
packages sold or offered for sale in the territory of the Community. The directive is designed to protect
consumers who buy package travel in the Community.

Article 2.4 of the Directive defines the consumer as the person who takes or agrees to take the package
(‘the principal contractor’), or any person on whose behalf the principal contractor agrees to purchase the
package (‘the other beneficiaries’) or any person to whom the principal contractor or any of the other
beneficiaries transfers the package (‘the transferee’). Therefore the Community text does not make any
distinction between travellers, single or not, and its provisions apply to all of them.

In the absence of more detailed information about possible inequalities, the Commission does not see in
which way single travellers are disadvantaged. Generally speaking a higher price for single travellers is
one of those principles accepted by the mechanisms of the market, because single travellers cause higher
accommodation and travelling costs and this has an obvious repercussion in prices.

(1) OJ L 158, 23.6.1990.

(1999/C 118/077) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2384/98

by Giovanni Burtone (PPE) to the Commission

(17 July 1998)

Subject: Compatibility with the Treaty of measures to defer payment of tax and reduce the tax liabilities
of Sicilian firms

Following the earthquake that struck eastern Sicily on 13 December 1990, the Italian Government allowed
firms situated in the communes affected to suspend payment of, inter alia, social security contributions
and VAT.

In the next few days, the firms in question must pay back the relevant instalments of their deferred tax bills
for 1990, 1991 and 1992.

Immediate repayment of these deferred taxes would lead to the collapse of many firms as a result of the
economic depression that has affected the Region from 1990 to 1998, as shown by a reduction in turnover
which has had a drastic effect on Sicily’s economic situation.