|Vol.7, No.42, 15.11.01, p25
THE European Commission says low demand for its weighty texts - and not the desire to stitch up markets - is the excuse for "a monopoly" of agents distributing EU documents and brochures across the Union.
The denial from culture chief Viviane Reding follows claims by UK Independence Party MEP Jeffrey Titford that the EU was "complicit in an anti-competitive trading situation" because it had authorised only one commercial agent for the supply of its literature in the UK.
He said that was because the terms of the EU's publications agency's (EUR-OP) deal with the UK's Stationery Office meant the latter was the only source for public libraries and other information points seeking free or subsidised access to the EU documents.
This was in contrast to UK government texts, which are "much more freely available", claimed Titford.
But Reding said: "The fact that in some member states only one firm sells Community paper publications is a consequence of the market conditions rather than the result of any specific marketing policy.
The publications sold by EUR-OP are specialised and have small print-runs: a top -selling publication will have sales in the range of 1,000-1,500 copies in English. But usually, said Reding, the number of copies is "substantially lower."
The European Commission has denied claims by MEP Jeffrey Titford that the EU was 'complicit in an anti-competitive trading situation' because it had authorised only one commercial agent for the supply of its literature in the UK.
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