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Parliamentary questions
31 August 2007
E-2924/2007
Answer given by Mr Frattini on behalf of the Commission

1. The Commission is aware that there are major infrastructural developments in certain mountain areas and on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria, and has already been informed that some of these were illegal constructions. The Commission has already raised the issue of enforcement of environmental legislation during bilateral talks with the Bulgarian authorities and stressed that Bulgaria, as all Member States, must comply with Community law. In this regard, Council Directive 85/337(1) on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (EIA Directive) as amended by Directive 97/11/EC(2) and 2003/35/EC(3) provides that Member States must ensure that, before development consent is given, projects likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue, inter alia, of their nature, size or location are made subject to an assessment of the environmental effects. The public has the right to express opinions on this information, and the competent authorities must take the results of consultation into account in the consent procedure. Similarly, the Habitats Directive(4) provides the framework for dealing with the possible negative effects of a plan or project on Natura 2000 sites, the EU's ecological network, which also specifies the obligations for Bulgaria.

2. The Commission continues to contribute to combating corruption within the limits of the power conferred on it by the Treaties. In this context, it must be stressed that the Commission's role is to propose measures contributing to the pursuit of the objectives of the Union, namely to prevent and combat crime, including corruption, whereas the application of national law remains with the Member States. Therefore, any instance of corruption in relation to either of the two situations described in this question is a matter for the Member State itself.

At the same time, the Commission, in the context of its responsibilities concerning the mechanism for cooperation and verification of progress in Bulgaria, which it adopted on 13 December 2006, will base its analysis on a wide array of sources, including reports of instances of corruption brought to its attention by the Parliament.

(1)Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.
(2)Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997 amending Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, OJ L 73, 14.3.1997.
(3)Directive 2003/35/EC of Parliament and of the Council of 26 May 2003 providing for public participation in respect of the drawing up of certain plans and programmes relating to the environment and amending with regard to public participation and access to justice Council Directives 85/337/EEC and 96/61/EC, OJ L 156, 25.6.2003.
(4)Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 20, 22.7.1992.

OJ C 45, 16/02/2008
Last updated: 25 October 2007Legal notice