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QUESTIONS AU CONSEIL
QUESTIONS A LA COMMISSION

QUESTIONS AU CONSEIL
Pergunta nº 23 do Edite Estrela (H-0504/05)
 Assunto: Substâncias cancerígenas
 

Considerando que o chumbo é uma substância química que provoca o cancro;

Tendo em conta que foi detectada a presença de chumbo no batom para os lábios, comercializado pelas mais conhecidas marcas da indústria de cosméticos;

Pergunto ao Conselho se pensa averiguar se esta anómala situação se mantém e, em caso afirmativo, que medidas vai tomar para defender os direitos e a saúde dos consumidores

 
  
 

The Council is not aware of the facts quoted by the Honourable Member. However, the Council would point out that the composition of cosmetics must conform to Directive 76/768/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to cosmetic products. As the Honourable Member will know, it is for the Commission to ensure proper application of this legislation and for the Member States to enforce controls on the applicable rules, punishing breaches of those rules in accordance with national law. In this context, the Council would like to suggest to the Honourable Member that this question be addressed to the Commission.

 

Question no 24 by Brian Crowley (H-0506/05)
 Subject: Mass forced evictions in Zimbabwe
 

The President-in-office of the Council will be aware of recent mass forced evictions in Zimbabwe which, according to the United Nations, has left more than 200 000 people homeless.

It has also been widely reported that at least 30.000 civilians were arrested during this operation, which was named ‘Operation Murambatsvina [Drive out rubbish]’, by the Zimbabwe authorities.

Will the President-in-office assure the House that they will demand an immediate halt to such actions, which are contrary to the United Nations Charter on Human Rights, and also remind the Zimbabwean authorities of their obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which that country ratified in 1991?

 
  
 

The EU has condemned the actions undertaken by the Zimbabwean government in the framework of "Operation Clean Sweep and Restore Order". In a declaration issued by the Presidency on behalf of the EU on 7 June 2005, the EU also appealed to the Zimbabwean government to put an immediate end to this operation and urged it to respect human rights and the rule of law.

 

Question no 25 by Eoin Ryan (H-0508/05)
 Subject: Avian flu - 'a health time bomb'
 

Last April the Commission stated in the European Parliament that ‘It is true that the influenza pandemic is a threat and, as the scientists advise, it is no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’.........We have a plan at Community level, but we also need to have national plans at Member State level.’

In light of the above will the Council indicate if this matter has been discussed at Council level and, in the affirmative, what were the conclusions reached? In the negative, will the Council indicate if it is prepared to have this potentially catastrophic worldwide health hazard included on an early Council agenda as a matter of urgency?

 
  
 

The Council thanks the Honourable Member for giving his attention to this important question.

The Council has received from the Commission on 29 April 2005 a proposal for a Council Directive on Community measures for the control of Avian Influenza.

This text aims at updating current Community measures on Avian Influenza laid down in Council Directive 92/40/EEC, with the objective of ensuring that Member States apply the most appropriate surveillance and control measures against Avian Influenza and so reduce the risk of major outbreaks of the disease and encourage closer collaboration between veterinary and public health authorities in the Member States.

The Council has already started to work on this text. The Council's examination will continue under the UK Presidency. Once the EP Opinion is available, the UK Presidency will try to reach an agreement on the proposal, taking the EP Opinion into account.

Furthermore, the Council has adopted several policy conclusions which are relevant to the Honourable Member's question.

In particular, in its Conclusions of 2 June 2004 on Community Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Planning, the Council identified some key components of the Community strategy to face up to pandemic influenza.

Inter alia, the Council called on the Commission and the Member States to facilitate technical assistance at an operational and a strategic level, to work towards promoting coordination of national plans and conducting a joint evaluation exercise, and to continue to cooperate with the relevant international and intergovernmental organisations, in particular the World Health Organisation, to ensure effective co-ordination of activities in the area of pandemic preparedness planning and response.

On 6 December 2004, the Council adopted Conclusions on a European Response to Emerging Zoonotic Disease.

The Council concludes that a European Action Plan for zoonoses preparedness and control should be established in order to implement an intersectoral and responsive Community strategy to emerging threats from zoonotic diseases. Such a Plan, which the Commission intends to propose, should include integrated public health and animal health policy measures and related instruments.

The Council also called on Member States and the Commission to:

review where appropriate the legal and financial obstacles to addressing properly emerging zoonotic diseases and to develop an approach that guarantees, on a day-to-day basis, risk assessment, risk management and risk communication - including intersectoral cooperation and networking of laboratories - in an integrated way.

to coordinate research activities aiming at addressing challenges in the prevention and management of zoonotic diseases.

Finally, the Council invited the European Food Safety Authority, in close cooperation with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, to present on the basis of the annual Community report on zoonoses a detailed analysis of risk factors and called on the Member States and the Commission to intensify the cooperation with the relevant international and intergovernmental organisations.

 

Question no 26 by Liam Aylward (H-0510/05)
 Subject: The International Criminal Court and alleged war crimes in Sudan
 

According to the United Nations about 180 000 people have died in the two-year Darfur conflict, and more than two million people have been forced to leave their homes in the region.

For the first time in its history the United Nations Security Council, following a vote, has referred an inquiry into alleged war crimes in west Sudan's Darfur region to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The names of 51 potential suspects have been given to the ICC. The Sudanese authorities have announced that they will refuse to cooperate with the work of the ICC.

Will the Council give an assurance that it will use its office to impress on the Sudanese Government that it would be in its own best interests to cooperate with the ICC?

 
  
 

During the period preceding the UN Security Council decision, the Council expressed its support on several occasions for the Darfur situation to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Likewise, in its conclusions of 23 May, the Council welcomed Security Council Resolution 1593, and urged all parties in the Sudan to cooperate fully with the ICC. The Council also declared that it would follow progress closely.

The need for the Sudanese government to cooperate with the ICC has been underlined repeatedly by EU representatives during their contacts with the Sudanese authorities.

 

Question no 27 by Seán Ó Neachtain (H-0512/05)
 Subject: Sudanese intimidation
 

In a recent report Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) produced evidence relating to killings, rapes and arson perpetrated in the Darfur region of Sudan. According to MSF ‘more than 80 percent of the victims identifying their attackers as soldiers or members of government-allied Janjaweed militia’.

The Council will be aware that in retaliation and as an act of intimidation the Sudanese authorities arrested and brought serious charges against the aid workers who dared to speak out.

Will the President-in-Office of the Council indicate what measures, if any, the Council took following this totally unacceptable attitude by the Sudanese authorities?

 
  
 

The Council has been closely monitoring the case of the arrest of two staff members of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Following the arrests, the EU Troika in Khartoum conducted a démarche with the Sudanese authorities to express the EU's deep concern at the arrests, insisting that the MSF staff concerned should be immediately released and the charges against them dropped.

The EU Troika has continued to pursue the matter with the Sudanese government and has supported the efforts of the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sudan to this effect.

Against that background, the Council welcomes the release of the two MSF staff members and the decision of the Sudanese government to formally lift the charges against them.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 28 της κ. Διαμάντως Μανωλάκου (H-0516/05)
 Θέμα: Παράνομη σύλληψη - απαγωγή από τις αρχές της Κολομβίας
 

Στις 13.12.2004 απήχθη στο Καράκας της Βενεζουέλας από αστυνομικούς της Κολομβίας και επίορκους αστυνομικούς της Βενεζουέλας, ο Ροδρίγο Γκράντα (Ρικάρντο Γκονσάλες), στέλεχος του Διεθνούς Τμήματος των Επαναστατικών Ένοπλων Δυνάμεων Κολομβίας, και παραδόθηκε στις αρχές της Κολομβίας. Όπως παραδέχτηκε ο υπουργός Άμυνας της Κολομβίας, η απαγωγή στοίχισε 2 εκατομμύρια δολάρια. Η σύλληψη του Γκράντα είναι παράνομη, αφού δεν υπήρχε διεθνές ένταλμα σύλληψης, και το κατηγορητήριο είναι κατασκευασμένο. Επιπλέον, η εισαγγελέας αρνήθηκε να παραδώσει τα πειστήρια στο συνήγορό του, ενώ και η ίδια η παραμονή του συνηγόρου του στην πόλη όπου θα διεξαχθεί η δίκη είναι προβληματική, λόγω της έντονης παρουσίας παραστρατιωτικών ομάδων.

Επειδή τα παραπάνω αποτελούν ωμή παραβίαση των θεμελιωδών δικαιωμάτων, των διεθνών δικονομικών κανόνων και της αρχής της δίκαιης δίκης, εκ μέρους των αρχών της Κολομβίας, ποια είναι η θέση του Συμβουλίου, και πώς σκοπεύει να αντιδράσει;

 
  
 

The Council has no detailed information on the case of Mr Granda, a high-ranking member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The Council recalls that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia are on the European Union list of terrorist organisations.

The Council has regularly called on all parties to the conflict in Colombia to respect human rights and international humanitarian law and has requested all illegal groups to cease hostilities and engage in a negotiated peace process. Unfortunately, the situation continues to be critical, and illegal groups perpetuate serious violations of humans rights and international humanitarian law.

In the area of human rights the Council strongly supports the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Bogotá which plays an important role in efforts to counter ongoing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. The Council has no information on any steps taken by the Office in this case.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 29 της κ. Ρόδης Κράτσα-Τσαγκαροπούλου (H-0518/05)
 Θέμα: Εναρξη των εργασιών του Ευρωπαϊκού Οργανισμού Σιδηροδρόμων
 

Με τον Κανονισμό (ΕΚ) αριθ. 881/2004(1) αποφασίσθηκε η σύσταση του Ευρωπαϊκού Οργανισμού Σιδηροδρόμων με στόχο την προώθηση της πολιτικής εκσυγχρονισμού του τομέα των ευρωπαϊκών σιδηροδρόμων. Με δεδομένο την πρόσφατη επίσημη έναρξη των εργασιών του Οργανισμού (17 Ιουνίου 2005) πιστεύει το Συμβούλιο ότι ο νέος Οργανισμός διαθέτει την υποδομή, τις αρμοδιότητες και τον απαραίτητο προϋπολογισμό ώστε να συμβάλλει αποτελεσματικά στην υλοποίηση αυτού του στόχου;

Πώς κρίνει την σημερινή κατάσταση όπου στα είκοσι πέντε κράτη μέλη υπάρχουν τεχνικοί κανόνες και κανόνες ασφαλείας ασύμβατοι μεταξύ τους αποτελώντας μείζονος σημασίας εμπόδιο στην ανάπτυξη της ενιαίας αγοράς στον σιδηροδρομικό τομέα;

Σκέπτεται να λάβει συγκεκριμένες πρωτοβουλίες για την άμεση δραστηριοποίηση του Ευρωπαϊκού Οργανισμού Σιδηροδρόμων τόσο ως προς την ανάπτυξη κοινών προτύπων ασφαλείας, όσο και ως προς τη διαχείριση ενός συστήματος ελέγχου των τεχνικών προδιαγραφών διαλειτουργικότητας των ευρωπαϊκών σιδηροδρόμων;

 
  
 

The Council would like to inform the Honourable Member that pursuant to Regulation (EC) n° 881/2004, the European railway agency (Agency) has the mission to contribute, on technical matters, to the implementation of the Community legislation aimed at improving the competitive position of the railway sector by enhancing the level of interoperability of railway systems and by developing a common approach to safety on the European railway system, in order to contribute to creating a European railway area without frontiers and guaranteeing a high level of safety.

Furthermore, the Agency has the mission to provide Member States and the European Commission with technical assistance.

The Regulation (EC) n° 881/2004 provides for the Agency budget, and the 2005 Work Programme has been adopted in December 2004 by the Administrative Board.

The Agency has officially launched its operations the 16th June 2005. At this early stage of the operation of the Agency, it is premature to deliver any comment as regards the achievement of the Agency's tasks.

Accordingly to Regulation (EC) n° 881/2004, the European Commission will carry out an evaluation on the results obtained by the Agency. The Council will wait for the report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament drawn on this evaluation.

 
 

(1) EE L 164 της 30.4.2004, σελ. 1.

 

Question no 30 by Proinsias De Rossa (H-0520/05)
 Subject: Transition to democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo
 

In view of the continuing slow progress of the transitional government in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) towards democratic elections, the humanitarian crises brought about by a civil war that has caused the death of over 3.8 million people in the country since 1998, the lack of respect or protection for human rights, and the ongoing economic exploitation of the country’s natural resources by foreign interests, does the Council Presidency believe that the European Union is doing enough to ensure that the Transition Government meets the requirements of the Pretoria Agreement and in particular that the delays and impediments to the holding of elections are being adequately addressed?

 
  
 

The EU has taken note of the decision of the two chambers of the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to extend the transition period for six months as from 1 July 2005 and of the request by the International Committee for Support to the Transition (CIAT) that this extension should go hand in hand with greater effectiveness and promptness on the part of the transitional institutions. The decision to extend the transition period is in line with the provisions of the peace agreement signed in December 2002 in Pretoria and should enable elections to be organised under satisfactory logistical and security conditions. At the same time, the EU urges the transitional institutions, the political parties and civil society to work together to organise a free, transparent and democratic electoral process.

The EU has contributed to security sector reform, transition and stabilisation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo through the launch in April 2005 of the EU police mission in Kinshasa (EUPOL Kinshasa), and through the launch on 8 June 2005 of its mission to provide advice and assistance for security sector reform (EUSEC RD Congo). The EU and its Member States have confirmed that they are prepared to consider more operational support for the integration of the Congolese army, particularly on the basis of information provided by EUSEC RD Congo.

Through the training of Congolese police and military staff, the EU is contributing to the creation of a secure environment for the holding of the elections. The EU, together with other donors, is also contributing to the financing of the elections that at present is estimated to cost around US $ 468 million. Preparations in terms of voter registration has started in Kinshasa and will continue in the rest of the country. This is an operation in which both the EU and the UN mission in the DRC (MONUC) are involved.

Furthermore, the EU, through its Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region, is constantly trying to advise the authorities on how to proceed with the preparations for the elections, while at the same time impressing on them the need to observe the timetable imposed under the Pretoria agreement.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 31 του κ. Γεωργίου Τούσσα (H-0522/05)
 Θέμα: Δικαιώματα των εργαζομένων στο Πακιστάν
 

Οι αρχές του Πακιστάν συνέλαβαν προληπτικά πάνω από 300 εργαζόμενους στην κρατική εταιρία τηλεπικοινωνιών (PTCL) μετά την εξαγγελία τους ότι θα κατέβουν σε απεργία. Η κυβέρνηση του στρατηγού Μουσάραφ έθεσε σε ετοιμότητα ειδικές δυνάμεις του στρατού για να αντιμετωπίσει τους εργαζόμενους, που αντιδρούν στα σχέδια ιδιωτικοποίησης του 26% των μετοχών της εταιρίας που, αν πραγματοποιηθούν, θα έχουν ως αποτέλεσμα την απόλυση χιλιάδων εργαζομένων, με οδυνηρές συνέπειες για το σύνολο των εργαζομένων στο Πακιστάν. Ας σημειωθεί ότι η Πακιστανική εταιρία τηλεπικοινωνιών είναι ιδιαίτερα κερδοφόρα και δεν υπάρχει κανένα πρόσχημα για το ξεπούλημά της σε ιδιώτες.

Γνωρίζει το Συμβούλιο τα παραπάνω σχέδια ιδιωτικοποίησης, καθώς και αν υπάρχουν εταιρίες της Ε.Ε. που εμπλέκονται σε αυτά; Ποια είναι η θέση του Συμβουλίου για τη βίαια καταπάτηση των συνδικαλιστικών ελευθεριών και τη χρησιμοποίηση του στρατού σε βάρος των εργαζομένων, που ασκούν το νόμιμο δικαίωμα της απεργίας, δεδομένων μάλιστα των φιλικών σχέσεων συνεργασίας μεταξύ Ε.Ε. και Πακιστάν;

 
  
 

The Council is aware of moves by the Government of Pakistan to sell off a stake in PTCL (Pakistan Telecommunication Company). Available information suggests that no companies from EU Member States were involved in this process, and certainly none have been shortlisted.

The Council continues to follow the political situation in Pakistan closely and uses its contacts with Pakistan (such as the most recent ministerial Troika meeting on 27 April in Luxembourg) to highlight the need "to respect human rights and democratic principles", which is the basis for the 2004 Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Pakistan on Partnership and Development.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 32 της κ. Μαρίας Παναγιωτοπούλου-Κασσιώτου (H-0526/05)
 Θέμα: Διατήρηση γλωσσικής και πολιτιστικής ταυτότητας παιδιών ευρωπαίων πολιτών εγκατεστημένων σε κράτος μέλος, διαφορετικό από εκείνο της καταγωγής τους
 

Η επίτευξη των στόχων της Λισσαβόνας προϋποθέτει την αξιοποίηση του ευρωπαϊκού ανθρώπινου δυναμικού σε ποιοτικές θέσεις εργασίας. Το γεγονός αυτό συνεπάγεται μακράς διάρκειας μετεγκαταστάσεις ευρωπαίων πολιτών σε κράτος μέλος, διαφορετικό από εκείνο της καταγωγής τους, στα πλαίσια των βασικών ελευθεριών μετακίνησης και εγκατάστασης, όπως προβλέπονται από τις Συνθήκες.

Πώς αντιμετωπίζει το Συμβούλιο το πρόβλημα εκπαίδευσης και διατήρησης της γλωσσικής και πολιτιστικής ταυτότητας των παιδιών των ευρωπαίων πολιτών που μετεγκαθίστανται σε κράτος μέλος, διαφορετικό από εκείνο της καταγωγής τους, ώστε παράλληλα με την ευρωπαϊκή να είναι δυνατόν να διατηρηθεί και η εθνική γλωσσική και πολιτιστική τους ταυτότητα και να ενισχυθεί η ευρωπαϊκή πολυμορφία;

 
  
 

The Council notes with interest the question posed by the Honourable Member, but would point out that the issue she raises does not fall within the Community's sphere of competence. Article 149 of the Treaty stipulates that Community action in the field of education is undertaken "while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity." Accordingly, the Council is in no position to adopt any measures for the purposes referred to by the Honourable Member.

 

Zapytanie nr 33 skierowane przez Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (H-0530/05)
 Dotyczy: Budżetu Unii Europejskiej na lata 2007-2013
 

Biorąc pod uwagę weto Wielkiej Brytanii, kraj ten prawdopodobnie zaproponuje podczas swojej prezydencji nowy kompromis budżetowy, który będzie odzwierciedlać brytyjską wizję przyszłości Unii Europejskiej.

Szacuje się, iż w przypadku braku kompromisu, na samych funduszach strukturalnych Polska straci 4 mld euro. Jakie będą zdaniem Rady skutki braku kompromisu dla reszty nowych państw członkowskich UE zważywszy na fakt, iż dopłaty bezpośrednie oraz fundusze strukturalne są podstawowym czynnikiem zmian w tych krajach, szansą na przeprowadzenie reform strukturalnych oraz tworzenie wokół rolnictwa nowych miejsc pracy?

 
  
 

The European Council in June invited the future Presidency to take forward the discussions on the Financial Perspective with a view to resolving all the elements necessary for achieving an overall agreement as soon as possible. The Council will devote every effort to achieving that objective. It would not therefore be appropriate to speculate on the consequences of not reaching agreement.

 

Klausimas Nr. 34, pateikė Justas Vincas Paleckis (H-0533/05)
 Tema: Estijos, Lietuvos ir Slovėnijos įstojimo į euro zoną nuo 2007 m.
 

Kitais metais bus svarstomas klausimas dėl Estijos, Lietuvos ir Slovėnijos įstojimo į euro zoną nuo 2007 m. Tam šalis turi tenkinti 3 Mastrichto kriterijus. Vienas iš jų - infliacija neturi viršyti trijų mažiausios infliacijos šalių vidurkio + 1,5%.

Jeigu tuo metu, kai bus svarstomas šis klausimas, bus nedidelė neatitiktis, ar tai gali realiai sutrukdyti įstoti į euro zoną?

 
  
 

In accordance with Article 122(2), the Commission and the European Central Bank will report to the Council in 2006 on the fulfilment of the EMU convergence criteria by all Member States with a derogation which have not yet adopted the euro (as they did in 2004 - the Treaty provides for such an assessment at least every two years).

Under Article 121 of the Treaty, the Council then considers these assessments and may, on the basis of a Recommendation from the Commission, recommend (by qualified majority) that certain Member States fulfil the convergence criteria and should therefore adopt the euro. The Council then consults the European Parliament and decides definitively, at the level of Heads of State and Government (again by qualified majority) which Member States will adopt the euro.

The convergence criteria to be assessed are clearly set out in a Protocol to the Treaty, Article 1 of which sets out the price stability criterion. The reports by the Commission and the ECB from 2004 clearly set out their approach to the assessment of this criterion. The Council will decide after discussion of the relevant parts of the Commission and ECB reports, and on the basis of a Recommendation from the Commission.

It would be inopportune to prejudge any of these elements of assessment, but appropriate to recall the framework set out in Articles 121 and 122 of the Treaty and the Protocol on the convergence criteria referred to in Article 121 of the Treaty.

 

Zapytanie nr 35 skierowane przez Ryszard Czarnecki (H-0534/05)
 Dotyczy: Środki finansowe dla Chorwacji
 

W budżecie Unii Europejskiej na nadchodzący 2006 rok dynamika wzrostu środków Unii przeznaczonych dla Turcji wynosi 67%, ze 300 do 500 mln euro, a dynamika wzrostu środków dla Chorwacji wynosi 33%, czyli ze 105 do 140 mln euro.

Jak należy interpretować ten fakt w sytuacji, że to Chorwacja ma wstąpić do Unii Europejskiej znacznie wcześniej niż Turcja i dla niej w związku z tym powinny być przeznaczone większe środki?

 
  
 

The commitment appropriations as contained in the preliminary draft general budget for 2006 proposed by the Commission, to which the Honourable Member refers, provide for a significant increase in pre-accession assistance both to Croatia and to Turkey. This is in line with the relevant European Council conclusions. The European Council called for substantially increased pre-accession assistance for Turkey and, in the case of Croatia, for a pre-accession strategy, including the necessary financial instrument, to provide assistance under PHARE, ISPA and SAPARD, in addition to funding through the CARDS instrument for the Western Balkans, under, and within the limits of, the current financial perspective.

In accordance with both the Accession Partnership for Turkey and the European Partnership for Croatia, the priorities identified therein for supporting efforts to move closer to the EU are adapted to the candidate country's specific needs and stage of preparation, and provide guidance for the EU's financial assistance.

Finally, the Honourable Member is kindly requested to bear in mind the size of the respective countries, the relevant issues at stake in relation to the acquis, and the disparity between the two countries and the EU, and also to consider the aspect of per capita assistance.

 

Question no 36 by Caroline Lucas (H-0535/05)
 Subject: The Amendment of the Protocol on Origin of the EU-Israel Assocation Agreement
 

On 29 November 2004 the Commission presented to the Council a draft common Community position that mandates replacing the existing EU-Israel Association Agreement's Protocol on Origin with a new Protocol that will enable Israel's participation in the system of pan-Euro-Mediterranean cumulation of origin. In its 'Explanatory Memorandum' introducing the draft Community position, the Commission states that '… the Community position should only be presented to the EU-Israel Association Council after solving the EU-Israel bilateral issue of rules of origin' (Brussels, 29.11.2004, SEC(2004)1437 final).

Does the Council regard the practice resulting from the technical arrangement on EU-Israel customs cooperation that was put into effect on 1 February as 'solving the bilateral issue of rules of origin'?

 
 

Question no 37 by Saïd El Khadraoui (H-0543/05)
 Subject: The Amendment of the Protocol on Origin of the EU-Israel Association Agreement
 

Since the EU and Israel put into effect a non-binding 'technical arrangement' for the implementation of the Protocol on Origin of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, is it true that Israel still applies the Protocol on Origin to occupied territories and maintains its refusal to distinguish between production carried out in those territories and production carried out in the territory of the State of Israel when it issues proofs of origin under that Agreement? In light of these facts, does the Council regard the practice resulting from the technical arrangement as 'solving the bilateral issue of rules of origin'?

 
  
 

In December 2004, the EU and Israel approved in the Customs Co-operation Committee a technical arrangement for the implementation of Protocol 4 to the EU-Israel Association Agreement. Under that arrangement, Israel agreed to indicate on all its export certificates to the EU the name and postal code of the city, village or industrial zone of production. The arrangement has applied since 1 February 2005.

The arrangement constitutes a measure providing a practical way to distinguish between products originating in Israel which qualify for preferential duties and those which do not. According to the EU position and in line with international law, products coming from places brought under Israeli administration since 1967 are not entitled to benefit from preferential tariff treatment under the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The EU customs authorities are advised to refuse preferential treatment to goods for which the proof of origin certificate indicates that the production conferring originating status has taken place in a city, village or industrial zone which has been brought under Israeli administration since 1967.

The Council has so far received no information that the current arrangement is not working properly.

The Council is currently examining the 16 draft decisions of the joint bodies whereby the Pan-European system of cumulation of origin will be extended to the Mediterranean countries. In the case of Israel, the new Protocol will be accompanied by a statement in which the EU will reaffirm its position as to the territorial scope of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

 

Vraag nr. 38 van Johan Van Hecke (H-0545/05)
 Betreft: Landbouwuitgaven in de Europese begroting en Doha Development Agenda (DDA)
 

Op de Europese Raad te Brussel van 16-17 juni jl. werd geen akkoord bereikt over de meerjarenbegroting 2007-2013. Eén van de struikelpunten zou geweest zijn dat geen vermindering aanvaard kan worden van de landbouwuitgaven. Anderzijds hebben op 1 augustus de WTO-leden in Genève een Raamakkoord afgesloten om de Doha-ronde terug op de sporen te krijgen. De Europese Unie heeft zich in dit raamakkoord verbonden om de subsidies en andere steun aan landbouwproducten geleidelijk af te bouwen. Tegen de komende Ministeriële Conferentie van Hong Kong eind dit jaar moet dit geconcretiseerd worden.

Hoe zal de Europese Unie haar gemaakte beloftes in de Doha Ronde hard maken als men weigert dit budgettair in een langetermijnbegroting te voorzien? Heeft de Europese Unie tijdens de jongste Europese top geen slecht signaal gegeven aan de ontwikkelingslanden door blijkbaar in de begroting vast te houden aan de hoge landbouwuitgaven en -subsidies?

 
  
 

Firstly, I wish to emphasise that the Council is of course committed to pursuing the implementation of the measures laid down in the CAP reform.

In this context, funding for the period 2007 - 2013 of measures linked to markets and direct CAP payments is limited by the commitments made at the meeting of the European Council in Brussels in October 2002. The financial estimates of the legislative proposals respected these limitations. Moreover, it is pointed out that the reform of the CAP provides for the transfer, by means of modulation, of some funds initially intended for the first pillar to the second pillar of the CAP, that of rural development.

In this regard, I will point out that the Council (Agriculture and Fisheries) has just reached unanimous political agreement on the Regulation on support for rural development, and the Presidency is counting on its adoption at the next Council on 18 July.

I regard the reformed CAP as representing an asset to the Community in international negotiations. In this regard I would also point out that, in its Resolution on the assessment of the Doha Round, the Parliament welcomed the Agreement of 1 August in the WTO framework. We can all - I am certain - take the view that this agreement in no way calls into question the multifunctional and efficient European agriculture model that has emerged from the successive CAP reforms.

 

Pregunta nº 39 formulada por Rosa Miguélez Ramos (H-0546/05):
 Asunto: Saturación de las Escuelas Europeas
 

Teniendo en cuenta que las Escuelas Europeas se crearon para educar conjuntamente a los hijos del personal de la Comunidad Europea y garantizar así el buen funcionamiento de la misma y facilitar el cumplimiento de su misión, la situación actual de saturación de las Escuelas Europeas I y II en Bruselas está muy lejos de satisfacer esta premisa: niños que no pueden ser escolarizados, hermanos separados en distintas escuelas, clases saturadas, etc. El Consejo Superior de las Escuelas, ante esta situación sólo ha sido capaz de poner en marcha una política de restricción que no cumple con los más mínimos criterios pedagógicos y que no tiene en cuenta ni la calidad de la educación ni la situación de dificultad social en la que sitúa a numerosas familias.

Dado el carácter intergubernamental de estas Escuelas y por lo tanto de la responsabilidad de los gobiernos de los Estados miembros en las mismas, ¿qué medidas piensa tomar el Consejo a corto y medio plazo para solucionar estos problemas?

 
 

Pregunta nº 40 formulada por Javier Moreno Sánchez (H-0557/05):
 Asunto: Problemas por la saturación de alumnos en las escuelas europeas
 

¿Está al corriente el Consejo de los problemas de superpoblación a los que se están enfrentando las Escuelas Europeas II y III en Bruselas y ello hasta la apertura de la Escuela IV en 2009 y de las graves consecuencias que están implicando tanto para la educación de los hijos de los funcionarios y trabajadores europeos como para sus familias? ¿Está al corriente de que ante esta situación, el Consejo Superior de las Escuelas sólo ha puesto en marcha una política restrictiva para el curso 2004-2005 (prohibición de crear nuevos grupos de maternal en las secciones inglesa, francesa, alemana, italiana o española, así como la admisión de nuevos alumnos en las categorías I o II que pudiera conllevar el desdoblamiento de una clase o la creación de cualquier grupo de apoyo, etc.), política que no pasaría los más mínimos criterios pedagógicos exigibles en los distintos Estados miembros? Teniendo en cuenta el carácter intergubernamental de las Escuelas Europeas, los objetivos por los que fueron creadas, el grave perjuicio que se está ocasionando a los alumnos y a las familias y la necesidad urgente de encontrar una solución inmediata a todos estos problemas, ¿tiene el Consejo intención de tomar medidas inmediatas para evitar y frenar esta situación?

 
 

Pregunta nº 41 formulada por Bárbara Dührkop Dührkop (H-0559/05):
 Asunto: Escuelas Europeas: número de alumnos por clase
 

¿Está al corriente el Consejo de que el criterio para el desdoblamiento de una clase en las Escuelas Europeas es de 32 alumnos por clase y que esta cantidad es muy superior al máximo fijado por la mayor parte de los Estados miembros? ¿Está de acuerdo el Consejo con este criterio fijado por el Consejo Superior de las Escuelas Europeas? ¿Qué piensa hacer el Consejo para disminuir sustancialmente este número y conseguir así que las Escuelas Europeas respondan a las exigencias pedagógicas exigidas en los distintos Estados miembros y respeten la igualdad de oportunidades a la que tienen derecho los hijos de los funcionarios europeos respecto a los niños escolarizados en las escuelas públicas y privadas de los distintos países? ¿Tiene intención el Consejo de tomar medidas para mejorar la calidad de la enseñanza en las Escuelas Europeas?

 
  
 

The Council is not competent to deal with matters concerning the European schools.

The Convention defining the Statute of the European Schools, signed on the 21st June 1994, in Luxembourg, between the High Contracting Parties, members of the European Communities and the European Communities, bears no mention of the Council and, therefore, grants no power whatsoever to this Institution in this field.

On the other hand, Member States and the Commission are indeed represented on the Board of Governors (Article 8 of the said Convention).

It goes without saying that it is a prerogative of the Honourable Members to contact the ministerial-level representative(s) of your Member State or the Commission to express your concern on this sensitive issue.

Neither the Council nor its Secretariat are represented on the Board of Governors.

 

Anfrage Nr. 42 von Tobias Pflüger (H-0551/05)
 Betrifft: Status der britischen Militärstützpunkte auf der Insel Zypern
 

Was gedenkt der Rat zu tun, damit die britischen Militärstützpunkte (Hoheitszonen des Vereinigten Königreichs) auf der Insel Zypern, die zur Zeit u. A. von den USA als Nachschubbasen für den Krieg im Irak genutzt werden, aufgelöst werden und im Rahmen einer Entmilitarisierung der Insel Zypern an die Europäische Union herangeführt bzw. Teil der Europäischen Union werden?

 
  
 

Form the legal viewpoint, the status of the sovereign areas of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Cyprus is laid down in the Treaty establishing the Republic of Cyprus and the relevant exchanges of notes of 16 August 1960. Furthermore, the arrangements applying to relations between the European Community and these areas is laid down in the Final Act of the Treaty on the Accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities, for the one part, and in Protocol N° 3 annexed to the Act concerning the Conditions of Accession to the Union of the ten new Member States of 2003, for the other.

As regards the future of these areas, it is not for the Council to speculate on a subject that is not as such directly within the Union's sphere of competence. As to the question of the island's demilitarisation, the Presidency points to the constant support which it has given to all efforts undertaken, particularly in the framework of the United Nations, to reach an overall agreement on the question of Cyprus.

 

QUESTIONS A LA COMMISSION
Zapytanie nr 43 skierowane przez Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg (H-0463/05)
 Dotyczy: Programu Kultura 2007 (2007-2013)
 

W br. instytucje europejskie zatwierdzą program Kultura 2007 (jego zawartość i budżet) na lata 2007-2013. Biorąc pod uwagę, że obowiązujące obecnie rozporządzenie Rady (WE, Euratom) nr 1605/2002(1) dotyczące rozporządzenia finansowego stosowanego do budżetu ogólnego Wspólnot zostanie zreformowane do roku 2007, jakie ta zmiana może wywołać konsekwencje dla programu?

W przypadku kolizji przepisów dotyczących korzystania z dofinansowania z programu Kultura 2007, do którego dokumentu będzie można się odwoływać jako dokumentu nadrzędnego?

 
  
 

Pursuant to its Article 184, the Financial Regulation is subject to review every three years or whenever necessary. The Commission recently presented a proposal for the amendment of the Financial Regulation(2), which takes fully into account the new legal bases for the Community programmes covering the period 2007-2013. The amended Financial Regulation will apply to all these programmes when it will enter into force on 1 January 2007, after adoption by the Council. It will thus apply to the Culture 2007 programme when this very programme will enter into force.

 
 

(1) Dz.U. L 248 z 16.9.2002, str.1
(2) COM (2005)181 final

 

Zapytanie nr 44 skierowane przez Zbigniew Krzysztof Kuźmiuk (H-0501/05)
 Dotyczy: Nadmiernego importu obuwia skórzanego z Chin na europejski rynek celny
 

Producenci obuwia skórzanego w Polsce sygnalizują gwałtowny przyrost importu tego obuwia z dniem 1 stycznia 2005 aż o 700% w ciągu 4 pierwszych miesięcy tego roku. Przedsiębiorcy zwracają uwagę, że producenci obuwia w Chinach nie uwzględniają w kosztach wytwarzania między innymi składek ubezpieczeniowych na rzecz pracowników, a także wydatków na przestrzeganie norm ochrony środowiska, co pozwala im na oferowanie swoich wyrobów po znacznie zaniżonych cenach. Powoduje to z kolei narastanie zjawiska nieuczciwej konkurencji i zagrożenia dla polskiego przemysłu skórzanego, który zatrudnia około 100 tys. pracowników. Czy komisja Europejska podziela przedstawioną wyżej diagnozę sytuacji na rynku obuwia i jakie działania zostaną podjęte, aby przeciwdziałać nieuczciwej konkurencji?

 
  
 

The Commission is fully aware of the situation of the footwear industry in the Community and is monitoring the situation carefully, in close coordination with the footwear industry associations.

The Commission has introduced a surveillance system that that can quickly identify price or volume problems for the Community industry which may arise from shoe imports from China. This surveillance system in the form of import licences allows the collection of data on import quantities and prices, within a short time period.

Indeed, large increases in import quantities of footwear from China have been found and details are published on a regular basis.

In addition, an anti-dumping investigation has just been opened on 30 June concerning safety footwear originating in China and India. Furthermore, a second anti-dumping complaint concerning leather shoes form China and Vietnam has also been lodged by the European shoe industry and a decision on the initiation of another anti-dumping investigation will be taken shortly. Should the legal requirements for initiation of an anti-dumping proceeding be met (increased imports at dumped prices which have a detrimental effect on the competing European industry), the Commission will open an investigation.

Such anti-dumping proceedings would also address any possible cost distortions mentioned by the Honourable Member.

Finally, the Commission will of course take the appropriate action should any investigation establish that the EU footwear industry suffers injury caused by the dumped Chinese imports.

 

Zapytanie nr 45 skierowane przez Ryszard Czarnecki (H-0542/05)
 Dotyczy: Media a informowanie na temat islamskiego terroryzmu
 

Europejscy nadawcy satelitarni odgrywają istotną rolę w informowaniu o międzynarodowym terroryzmie, w tym terroryzmie islamskim. Powszechnie w świecie i w Europie oglądana są telewizje al-Manar oraz docierające do Europy Arabsat z Arabii Saudyjskiej i NileSat z Egiptu. Można jednak mieć poważne zastrzeżenia, co do treści emitowanych przez nie programów. Hiszpańska Hispasat, częściowo należąca do Telefonica i rządu hiszpańskiego oraz francuska GlobeCast należąca częściowo do France Telecom są świadome treści nadawanych przez al-Manar programów, ale nie podejmują żadnych działań łamiąc w ten sposób europejską legislację w tym obszarze. Sprawa jest bardzo poważna.

Jak długo Komisja Europejska zamierza tolerować tę sytuację dotyczącą europejskich nadawców telewizyjnych i co zamierza zrobić, aby powstrzymać ich działania na rzecz faktycznego promowania terroryzmu?

 
 

Question no 113 by Charles Tannock (H-0555/05)
 Subject: Broadcasting of al-Manar television and the persisting violations of EU Directives
 

Although it has been confirmed by the European Commission and by all audiovisual regulatory authorities that content of al-Manar programmes violates the European Directive on Television without Frontiers, al-Manar continues to be broadcast in Europe and from Europe to other regions of the world.

The Spanish Hispasat and France's Eutelsat continue to provide broadcast capacity to al-Manar.

It is surprising that although Hispasat is aware of the hate content of al-Manar it has not yet taken concrete action to suspend such heinous broadcasts, considering that in France Eutelsat has received orders by the Government to take al-Manar off the air and has complied with these orders.

In addition, Saudi-owned Arabsat and Egypt-owned Nilesat continue to provide al-Manar directly to European viewers in most of Europe and calls on young people to carry out suicide bombings.

Is the Commission going to raise this issue with the Spanish, French, Saudi and Egyptian governments to ensure that this situation is stopped as a matter of urgency?

How can the EU maintain that it is taking all its responsibilities seriously in the fight against terrorism when channels such as al-Manar are able to continue undisturbed their promotion of terrorism through the media in spite of the situation having been known for a long time?

 
 

Question no 114 by Frédérique Ries (H-0562/05)
 Subject: Al Manar TV
 

In March 2005, Commissioner Viviane Reding convened a meeting of the European Audiovisual Regulators (EPRA) where it was reiterated that Article 22a of the Television without Frontiers Directive explicitly prohibits any broadcast that incites hatred for reasons of race, sex, religion or nationality. At the meeting it was also agreed that such provisions also apply to third-country broadcasters using a frequency, satellite transmission capacity or an uplink to a satellite belonging to a Member State. Al-Manar incites hate, violence and suicide bombing, spreads anti-Semitic material and does not respect fundamental rights. Al-Manar is being broadcast by using satellite services and capacity of Hispasat (partly owned by the Spanish Government) and by Globecast, a subsidiary of France Telecom. From its Beirut office, the al-Manar signal is sent to Arabsat (www.arabsat.com) and Nilesat (www.nilesat.com.eg).

What is the Commission doing to stop this form of terrorist propaganda which reaches Europe and other regions of the world? Have the Saudi and Egyptian authorities been alerted and asked to take action and play a responsible role in the common fight against terrorism?

 
  
 

Les dispositions et les principes de la directive « Télévision sans Frontières » sont les suivantes.

La Commission souligne d’abord l’importance de la liberté de presse et d’information télévisée, ainsi que le droit de tout citoyen européen de recevoir les transmissions télévisées qu’il envisage, même celles provenant de pays tiers, sous réserve du respect des règles de droit communautaire valables en la matière.

L’article 22bis de la directive « Télévision sans Frontières » interdit clairement les émissions incitant à la haine pour des raisons de race, de sexe, de religion ou de nationalité. Cette interdiction vaut bien entendu pour les radiodiffuseurs communautaires mais aussi pour des chaînes émises par des radiodiffuseurs établis dans des pays tiers sous la condition qu’elles entrent dans le champ d’application de la directive en vertu de l’article 2 paragraphe 4. Concrètement il s’agit des chaînes des pays tiers qui utilisent une fréquence, une capacité satellitaire ou une liaison montante vers un satellite relevant d’un Etat membre

Une question essentielle est la suivante : qui contrôle le respect des dispositions de la Directive et notamment l’interdiction de l’incitation à la haine ? Les règles de la directive « Télévision sans Frontières » sont claires : les Etats membres et leurs instances compétentes ont la responsabilité de s’assurer que cette interdiction soit respectée par les radiodiffuseurs relevant de leur compétence, y compris ceux des pays tiers, si les conditions mentionnées sont remplies, c’est-à-dire si ces derniers utilisent une fréquence, une capacité satellitaire ou une liaison montante vers un satellite relevant d’un Etat membre.

Ainsi dans le cas de « Al Manar », puisque ce programme était transmis par Eutelsat, les autorités françaises compétentes ont interdit sa retransmission via ce satellite. Les autorités néerlandaises ont agi de même pour ce qui concerne le satellite « New Satellite System » établi à La Haye.

Selon les informations que la Commission vient de recevoir, il apparaît que les autorités espagnoles compétentes viennent aussi d’interdire l’émission de ce programme via Hispasat.

Les Présidents des autorités de régulation dans le domaine de la radiodiffusion réunis le 17 mars dernier à l’initiative de la Commission ont confirmé l’importance du renforcement de la coopération entre elles pour lutter efficacement contre l’incitation à la haine dans les programmes des pays tiers. Ils se sont mis d’accord sur des mesures concrètes qui permettent une approche plus coordonnée.

En ce qui concerne la transmission du programme « Al Manar » par les satellite Arabsat et Nilesat, l’application des règles communautaires n’est juridiquement pas possible car les programmes transmis par ces satellites n’entrent pas dans le champs de la Directive : ils n’utilisent ni une fréquence, ni une capacité satellitaire, ni une liaison montante relevant d’un Etat membre de l’Union européenne.

La Commission étudie à cet égard, les possibilités qui s’offrent à elles dans le cadre de ses relations avec les pays tiers concernés.

 

Question no 46 by David Martin (H-0485/05)
 Subject: Outcomes of the G8 for EU Institutions
 

Considering the G8 meeting this week in Scotland how does the Commission plan to discuss its outcomes and any future actions required by the EU institutions?

 
  
 

The Group of Eight will hold its annual Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland on 6-8 July. The twin priorities of the UK G8 Presidency are Climate Change and Africa and development, where an agreement on debt relief to the poorest countries was reached at the 11 June G8 Finance Ministers’ meeting. The G8 Leaders are expected to issue statements at Gleneagles on the following subjects:

1. G8 Statement on Africa

2. G8 Statement on Climate Change

3. G8 Statement on the response to the Indian Ocean disaster

4. G8 Statement on the global economy including the Doha Development Round

5. G8 Statement on counter-terrorism

6. G8 Statement on non-proliferation

7. G8 Statement on Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA)

There will also be a Chair’s Summary, which is issued under the responsibility of the Presidency.

The European Union will be represented at the Summit by the President of the Commission and by the President of the European Council.

As the honourable Member knows, the Group of 8 takes no binding decisions. The Commission is willing to present the outcomes of the Summit to the EU institutions and where the need for a specific follow up action arises, the Commission would keep the other institutions informed under the normal decision making process.

 

Question no 47 by Gay Mitchell (H-0488/05)
 Subject: Slow growth in the EU
 

Given the recent ‘no’ votes in France and the Netherlands to the Constitutional Treaty, the subsequent fall in the value of the euro, and the recent OECD forecast that economic growth in the 12-nation euro zone would slow to 1.2% in 2005 from 1.8% in 2004, what steps is the Commission taking to ensure fiscal discipline is exercised by Member States at this difficult time?

 
  
 

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) in its preventive arm expects Member States to achieve and maintain a medium-term budgetary position of close-to-balance-or-in-surplus in cyclically-adjusted terms. Once a country has reached its medium term objective, the nominal budget balance can breathe with the cycle without risk of the deficit becoming excessive in case of a normal economic slow down. The revision of the SGP has strengthened its preventive dimension. Member States have committed to actively consolidate public finances in economic good times and, as a rule, to use cyclical revenues for deficit and debt reduction. Moreover, Member States of the euro zone or those participating in the European Exchange Rate Mechanism that have not yet reached the medium term objective are explicitly obliged to pursue an annual adjustment in cyclically-adjusted terms and net of one-off measures of 0.5% of GDP as a benchmark. The adjustment should be higher in good times and can be less in bad times. Under the new set of rules, the Commission is expected to issue a policy advice directly to a Member State to encourage it to stick to its adjustment path. At the same time, the revised SGP in its corrective part introduces more room for economic judgment and for taking account of cyclical developments while the rigorous rules-based system of the Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) remains in place.

With a view to ensuring effective fiscal surveillance in the EU, the Commission is continuously monitoring the budgetary situation in all Member States and uses its right of initiative at the appropriate time. For instance, the Commission decided recently to initiate excessive deficit procedures for Italy and Portugal, thus supporting the needed fiscal consolidation in these countries.

 

Fråga nr 48 från Jan Andersson (H-0489/05)
 Angående: Stimulans av efterfrågan i EU:s ekonomi
 

Den ekonomiska utvecklingen inom EU är synnerligen svag jämfört med Asien och USA. Den ekonomiska politiken inom EU är nästan helt och hållet inriktad på att öka utbudet. Nästan ingenting är inriktat på att stimulera efterfrågan. Ändå är EU:s marknad större än USA:s och det borde vara möjligt att samordna insatserna, inte bara för att öka utbudet utan även efterfrågan. Delar kommissionen denna uppfattning? Om så är fallet, vilka planer har kommissionen för att stimulera efterfrågan i EU:s ekonomi?

 
  
 

The economic growth rate in the EU as a whole, and notably in the euro area, has in recent years indeed been lower than in the United States and non-Japan Asia. However, it is important to note that, due to the different demographic developments in these regions, these different growth rates are significantly smaller on a per capita basis.

The economic recovery in the EU that started in the second half of 2003 has been hampered by a lack of demand which partly seems to be related to low confidence among consumers and investors. The oil price increase and the strengthening of the euro had a direct dampening effect but also weighed on confidence. Nevertheless, the Commission expects growth to return to potential in the course of 2005 supported by accommodative macroeconomic policies leading to domestic demand taking over as the main driving force in the euro area and the EU (see Commission Spring 2005 Economic Forecasts).

The Commission notes that attempts to increase demand in the short term via a more expansionary fiscal policy could negatively affect the growth performance via its effects on confidence. A further increase in public spending or unfunded tax cuts could reinforce uncertainties about future fiscal sustainability and be offset by reduced spending on private consumption and investment, leading to an overall impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth that could be negative. As such policy cannot durably increase potential output growth; it is more important that fiscal policy contributes to economic stabilisation and prepares for the impact of ageing populations on public finances.

In the Commission’s view, the main contribution macroeconomic policies can make to sustained growth and employment in the current economic situation runs through the preservation of sound macroeconomic conditions and the cushioning of shocks to the economy. Monetary policy can contribute by pursuing price stability and, subject to this being achieved, by supporting other general economic policies. Fiscal policy can play a role in stabilising the economy by allowing the free play of automatic stabilisers. Given the size of automatic stabilisers in the EU, which are twice the size as in the United States, the contribution to demand stabilisation should not be underestimated. Apart from contributing to economic stabilisation, fiscal policies can support growth through expenditure directed towards growth enhancing investment and through tax structures oriented towards growth and employment. In view of the main weaknesses of the Union’s economy (comparatively low labour input and low level of productivity growth) the Commission proposed for the period 2005-2008 a combination of growth and stability-oriented macroeconomic policies, microeconomic reforms to raise the Europe’s growth potential and employment policies conducive to creating more and better jobs.(1)

The Commission believes that a concerted effort providing clarity on the reforms set out in the renewed Lisbon strategy, together with progress in achieving sound and sustainable public finances will enhance confidence among European consumers and businesses, which is a prerequisite for unlocking pent-up demand.

 
 

(1) See European Commission, Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs 2005-2008, 12 April 2005, (COM 2005-141).

 

Question no 49 by Claude Moraes (H-0466/05)
 Subject: Live 8 campaign
 

What is the view of the Commission on recent initiatives around the campaign Live 8, a campaign to encourage G8 nations to improve their record on debt relief and encourage other, mainly western nations, to meet UN recommended targets for aid?

 
  
 

La Commission est favorable à toutes les initiatives qui attirent l’attention du public vers les défis de l’atteinte des Objectives du millénaire pour le développement. Elle se félicite de l’organisation simultanée des concerts qui visent à encourager les leaders du G8 réunis à Gleaneagles à s’engager d’avantage dans la lutte contre la pauvreté.

Pour permettre aux pays en voie de développement en général, et à l’Afrique en particulier, d’atteindre les objectifs du millénaire il est essentiel que la qualité et la quantité de l’aide soient accrues.

Au Conseil européen du 16 et 17 juin 2005 les Etats membres de l’Union se sont engagés à continuer à augmenter leurs budgets d’aide publique au développement et à passer au-delà de leurs engagements de Monterrey, en se fixant le nouvel objectif individuel minimal de 0,51% pour 2010 et 0,17% pour les nouveaux Etats membres, ce qui porterait l’effort collectif de l’Union à 0,56%.

Cet engagement se traduit en un accroissement de 20 milliards € par an. En 2004, l'aide publique au développement des 25 a atteint 43 milliards €.

Des ressources accrues et une aide plus efficace sont essentielles, mais ne suffiront pas pour atteindre les OMD. En effet, d’autres politiques communautaires peuvent apporter une contribution substantielle au développement. D’où le concept de «cohérence pour le développement ». La Commission propose de faire un « rapport de cohérence» à mi-parcours entre le Sommet des Nations Unies de septembre 2005 et la prochaine évaluation internationale des OMD.

La Commission espère aussi que la réunion de l’Organisation Mondiale pour le Commerce à Hong Kong apporte des résultats concrets, qui permettent aux pays les plus pauvres, et en particulier a l’Afrique Sub-saharienne, une meilleure participation aux marchés globaux.

La Commission salue le succès du G8 qui offre aux pays pauvres un allègement de leur dette multilatérale. Effectivement, cette décision est un complément bienvenu et important à ses décisions concernant le financement pour le développement. L’effort financier, sera – selon les indications préliminaires – dans l’ordre de 1 à 2 milliards € par an. La Commission appelle aux autres grands bailleurs de fonds de renforcer leurs efforts pour contribuer à la réalisation des Objectifs du Millénaire.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 50 του κ. Γεωργίου Παπαστάμκου (H-0476/05)
 Θέμα: Ελληνικές Μη Κυβερνητικές Οργανώσεις και Πολιτική Ανάπτυξης της ΕΕ
 

Ποιές ελληνικές Μη Κυβερνητικές Οργανώσεις (ΜΚΟ) ή διεθνείς (με ελληνική συμμετοχή) έχουν δραστηριοποιηθεί, κατά την περίοδο 2000-2004, στο πλαίσιο προγραμμάτων και δράσεων της ΕΕ έναντι αναπτυσσομένων χωρών;

Ποιές προτάσεις ελληνικών ΜΚΟ υπεβλήθησαν για χρηματοδότηση κατά την ως άνω περίοδο για την επίτευξη στόχων της ευρωπαϊκής αναπτυξιακής πολιτικής;

Ποιό το χρηματοδοτικό υπόβαθρο της ΕΕ έναντι ΜΚΟ με ελληνική συμμετοχή;

 
  
 

Selon nos statistiques, pendant la période 2000-2004, les organisations grecques (y compris les organisations non gouvernementales (ONG), les universités, les Fondations et les centres de recherche) ont soumis 109 propositions pour les financements dans le cadre de la politique du développement.

De 109 propositions, 52 ont été financées sous forme de subventions dans le cadre des programmes et des actions UE dans les pays en développement

30 ONG grecques ont reçu des financements pendant les années 2000-2004 «

Sous réserve de vérification et d’erreur de codification, notamment dans les cas de consortia, le financement total de la Commission à ces ONG grecques est de € 18.508.274,87.

 

Pregunta nº 51 formulada por María Badía i Cutchet (H-0477/05):
 Asunto: Microfinanciación
 

Teniendo en cuenta que el año 2005 es el Año Internacional del Microcrédito y que, tal como pide la Resolución de las Naciones Unidas 53/197 de 15 de diciembre de 1998, es importante aprovechar la ocasión especial que ofrece la conmemoración del citado Año para dar impulso a los programas de microcrédito en todos los países y, en especial, a los países en vías de desarrollo, quisiera felicitar a la Comisión por su decisión de abrir este año 2005 una convocatoria para respaldar proyectos de microfinanciación en los países de África, Caribe y Pacífico (ACP).

Sin embargo, considerando además que la microfinanciación constituye un elemento fundamental que se integra en la estrategia de la comunidad internacional para cumplir con los Objetivos del Milenio —ayudando a mitigar la pobreza por medio de la generación de ingresos y la creación de empleos—, y particularmente con aquellos que se refieren a la erradicación de la pobreza, la igualdad de género y el empoderamiento de la mujer, ¿no cree la Comisión que la Unión Europea debería desarrollar un marco legislativo y reglamentario coherente y conceder una continuidad a este planteamiento más allá de 2006?

 
  
 

La microfinance est un levier fondamental pour permettre aux plus pauvres de réaliser leurs initiatives économiques et d’être acteurs de l’amélioration de leur condition. Par conséquent, la Commission apprécie fortement que 2005 soit l'année du micro-credit. Cela devrait lui permettre de positionner la microfinance à un niveau encore plus important dans l'ordre du jour du développement.

La Commission publiera un appel à propositions pour les projets de microfinance dans les pays ACP en 2005. L'appel à propositions fournira l'aide aux projets de renforcement des capacités pour les institutions de microfinance. Cela comprend la formation, des conseils et l'achat d'équipements importants. Le programme intervient également au niveau des gouvernements dans les pays ACP pour les aider à améliorer leur cadre réglementaire pour la microfinance.

La Commission a déjà établi un cadre politique pour ses opérations en microfinance. La Communication de 1998 sur « Microfinance et la réduction de la pauvreté » décrit l’approche de la Commission dans le domaine de la microfinance. En ce qui concerne la continuité de soutien à la microfinance, la Commission restera impliquée après 2006, puisque le programme dans les pays ACP restera opérationnel jusqu'en 2009. En outre, si la demande de financement dépasse les ressources disponibles du programme, la Commission envisage d’augmenter celles-ci.

 

Zapytanie nr 52 skierowane przez Jacek Protasiewicz (H-0500/05)
 Dotyczy: Praw człowieka na Kubie
 

Reżim Fidela Castro nadal przetrzymuje w więzieniach 61 więźniów politycznych, których skazano na bardzo wysokie wyroki za działalność na rzecz swobód obywatelskich i praw człowieka.

Jednocześnie rząd kubański w sposób całkowicie sprzeczny z zasadami prawa międzynarodowego uniemożliwia kontakt europejskim parlamentarzystom z działaczami praw człowieka na Kubie.

Czy w tej sytuacji Komisja opowiada się za zaostrzeniem sankcji UE?

 
  
 

La Commission partage la préoccupation de l’honorable parlementaire pour le sort des prisonniers politiques à Cuba. Lors de ma visite à La Havane au mois de mars j’ai évoqué avec tous mes interlocuteurs, y inclus le Président Fidel Castro, la question des prisonniers politiques. La Commission a, également, condamné publiquement de façon catégorique l’inacceptable attitude cubaine à l’égard de parlementaires européens qui ont voulu assister à l’Assemblée pour Promouvoir la Société Civile, le 20 mai à La Havane.

La délégation de la Commission à la Havane prête tout son support aux contacts des parlementaires européens avec les activistes des droits de l’homme à Cuba. Les réunions organisées à la Délégation entre des membres du Parlement et des représentants de la dissidence au mois de mars, les appuis à l’obtention de visa de sortie pour Oswaldo Payá ou la téléconférence organisée au mois de mai entre un groupe de parlementaires européens et plusieurs dissidents dont Marta Beatriz Roque, sont de bons exemples.

Le 13 juin, le Conseil a réaffirme la vigueur et la validité de la Position Commune de 1996 qui, dans le cadre des relations de l'Union Européenne avec Cuba, vise notamment l'encouragement d’un processus de transition vers le pluralisme démocratique et le respect des droits de l'homme.

La Commission reste en faveur du maintien d’une politique d’engagement constructif par un dialogue politique avec les autorités cubaines, même s’il n’y a pas eu de progrès en matière de droits de l’homme au cours de ces derniers mois. La décision du Conseil du 13 juin a justement renforcé la nécessité d’utiliser ce dialogue pour appuyer des avances concrètes en matière de droits de l’homme.

Le renforcement des contacts avec la dissidence et des représentants de la société civile au cours de ces derniers mois, dans le cadre des lignes directrices adoptées par les Chefs de Mission à La Havane en janvier 2005, est un élément très positif. Ces contacts doivent se poursuivre et s’intensifier.

Le dialogue avec les autorités cubaines et la société civile est un instrument plus efficace pour appuyer un processus de transition pacifique à Cuba que les sanctions et l’isolement.

La Commission est d’avis que cette politique d’engagement constructif est aussi celle qui a plus de chances d’aboutir dans la libération de tous les prisonniers politiques à Cuba.

 

Question no 53 by Glenys Kinnock (H-0538/05)
 Subject: Programme of support for Sugar Protocol countries
 

Would the Commission clarify what procedures it anticipates using when implementing the programmes of support to Sugar Protocol countries affected by EU sugar reform? Would the Commission agree that it is essential that these procedures are easier, quicker and more efficient than was the case with the EDF ones used to support countries affected by changes in the banana regime?

 
  
 

La Commission est tout à fait d’accord sur la nécessité de mettre en place pour les pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (ACP) du Protocole Sucre un instrument de soutien qui réponde à des procédures de mise en œuvre rapides et efficientes. Cela a été l’une de nos principales préoccupations lors de l’élaboration de la proposition de règlement correspondante, adoptée par la Commission le 22 juin dernier.

Le Cadre Spécial d’Assistance pour les fournisseurs traditionnels de bananes ACP a effectivement souffert de délais dans sa mise en œuvre, dus entre autres à des procédures communautaires complexes. Cette expérience a certainement été prise en compte, et la Commission est confiante que la mise en œuvre des mesures de soutien aux pays du Protocole Sucre sera plus efficace, en particulier du fait des caractéristiques suivantes :

La gestion du schéma d’assistance sera confiée dès le début aux délégations.

La Commission propose des ressources financières et humaines spécifiques pour assurer sa gestion, en délégation et au siège.

Le principal instrument de mise en œuvre privilégié pour cette assistance sera le soutien budgétaire, dans le respect bien sûr des conditions d’éligibilité.

Tout en associant étroitement les Etats Membres aux décisions sur la mise en œuvre du schéma d’assistance, la Commission propose des procédures relativement simples et rapides.

La Commission voudrait cependant souligner que l’impact de ce schéma d’assistance ne dépend pas seulement des procédures administratives de la Communauté, mais aussi de la qualité des stratégies d’adaptation établies par les pays eux-mêmes. La Commission les encourage à être actifs dans ce processus, pour avoir une bonne base de mise en œuvre de son soutien dès que l’instrument que la Commission propose entrera en vigueur.

La Commission profite de cette occasion pour encourager le Parlement à adopter rapidement la proposition de règlement qu’elle lui a soumise, en assurant que des ressources financières additionnelles y soient allouées dans le budget.

 

Vraag nr. 54 van Anne Van Lancker (H-0539/05)
 Betreft: Continuïteit van het beleid inzake seksuele en reproductieve gezondheidszorg en rechten
 

Het strategische partnerschap met de WHO (25 miljoen €) legt de nadruk op moedersterfte, neonatale en kindersterfte. Het is daarom van groot belang dat extra inspanningen worden gedaan voor familieplanning en preventie, inclusief het duurzaam verzekeren van de beschikbaarheid van condooms. Deze beleidsprioriteiten moeten worden verankerd in de begroting. De budgetlijn voor seksuele en reproductieve gezondheidszorg en rechten loopt af in 2006. In hoeverre is in de opvolging daarvan voorzien ? Hoe zal de continuïteit van bestaande projecten worden gegarandeerd en hoe zal de Commissie ook in de toekomst de 'decency gap' opvullen?

 
  
 

La Commission réaffirme son engagement vis-à-vis la promotion des soins de santé et des droits en matière de sexualité de la reproduction la mise en place du Plan d’Action agrée au Caire.

Sur le plan financier, le partenariat avec l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé prévoit une durée de 5 ans et une allocation financière de 25 millions € du 9ème Fonds Européen de Développement (FED), qui sera déboursée à partir de la fin 2005.

En ce qui concerne les ressources budgétaires, la sélection des propositions de projet à financer avec les fonds 2005 et 2006 est actuellement en cours. Les projets sélectionnés seront donc financés jusqu’à leur achèvement, bien au-delà de 2006. En ce qui concerne la suite de la ligne budgétaire en question, la définition de la nouvelle structure du budget communautaire est en cours. A cet effet, la Commission est en train de préparer une stratégie sur les programmes thématiques, y compris dans le domaine du développement humain et social, qu’elle envisage mettre en œuvre dans le cadre des nouvelles perspectives financières 2007-2013. Dans l’élaboration de ces stratégies, la Commission fera des propositions concrètes concernant les futures ressources financières.

En ce qui concerne le « decency gap », crée en 2002 par la décision du Gouvernement américain de suspendre les financements au Fonds des Nations Unies pour la Population (FNUAP), la Commission a fourni à cette organisation une contribution additionnelle de € 22 millions, ainsi que 10 millions € à la « International Planned Parenthood Federation », qui ont été utilisées pour financer programmes et activités actuellement en cours.

Dans le cadre d’une Initiative Européenne lancée en 2004 par la Présidence hollandaise dans le domaine de la santé reproductive et sexuelle, la Commission a décidé de fournir au FNUAP une contribution additionnelle de 15 million € du 9ème FED pour l’achat de produits sanitaires, préservatifs et autres dans les Pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (ACP) qui en ont besoin. Dans les années à venir, la Commission apportera son soutien au FNUAP dans le cadre des ressources financières disponibles pour les activités thématiques.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 55 του κ. Δημητρίου Παπαδημούλη (H-0448/05)
 Θέμα: Ασφάλεια τροφίμων
 

Σύμφωνα με άρθρο που τιτλοφορείται "Risk Based Consumption Advice for Farmed Atlantic and Wild Pacific Salmon Contaminated with Dioxins and Dioxin-like Compounds" και δημοσιεύθηκε το Μάιο του 2005 (Foran et al., 2005, Environmental Health Perspectives, 113:552-556), ουσίες, όπως τα PCBs, toxaphene, dieldrin, dioxins και τα polybrominated diphenyl ethers, βρέθηκαν σε πολύ υψηλότερα ποσοστά σε σολομούς που προέρχονται από ευρωπαϊκές ιχθυοκαλλιέργειες από ό,τι σε σολομούς ιχθυοτροφείων της Βόρειας και Νότιας Αμερικής. Οι ουσίες αυτές μπορούν να προκαλέσουν προβλήματα στο ανθρώπινο σύστημα αναπαραγωγής αλλά και καρκινογενέσεις. Οι συντάκτες της μελέτης συνιστούν μάλιστα στους ευρωπαίους καταναλωτές να μην καταναλώνουν σολομό ευρωπαϊκού ιχθυοτροφείου συχνότερα από 4 φορές το μήνα, ενώ στους αμερικανούς επιτρέπουν μέχρι και 10 φορές μηνιαίως.

Θα μπορούσε η Επιτροπή να με πληροφορήσει εάν όντως υπάρχουν υψηλότερα ποσοστά χημικών ουσιών σε σολομούς ευρωπαϊκών ιχθυοτροφείων και εάν η κατανάλωσή τους είναι αβλαβής και σε ποιές ποσότητες; ´Εχει γίνει εκ μέρους της Επιτροπής επιστημονική αξιολόγηση των κινδύνων για την υγεία όσον αφορά την ανθρώπινη κατανάλωση και άλλων ειδών ιχθύων που προέρχονται από ιχθυοκαλλιέργειες και σκοπεύει η Επιτροπή να προβεί σε αυστηρότερη νομοθεσία με σκοπό τη μείωση των τοξικών και χημικών ουσιών στις ιχθυοκαλλιέργειες;

 
  
 

The Honourable Member’s question refers to the fish consumption advice given in the article “Risk Based Consumption for Farmed Atlantic and Wild Pacific Salmon Contaminated with Dioxins and Dioxin—like Compounds” published in May 2005. In the Plenary Session of February last year, Commissioner Byrne commented that this study did not raise new food safety issues as the levels found are consistent with the results from other surveys or from official control.

The fish consumption advice in the aforementioned article is based on a guidance value for tolerable intake levels for dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs derived by a not internationally recognized approach in risk assessment, as confirmed in a scientific colloquium organized by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in June 2004.

The Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) of the European Food Safety Authority has very recently, on 22 June 2005, adopted a scientific assessment of the health risks related to human consumption of wild and farmed fish. This assessment has been made at the formal request of the Parliament and focused on different fish species (farmed, wild, marine, freshwater, lean and oily) marketed to a significant amount in the European Union.

The EFSA CONTAM Panel concluded that species, season, location, diet, life stage and age have a major impact on both the contaminant and nutrient levels of fish, including salmon. These levels vary broadly within species and between species in both wild and farmed fish. When taking these factors into account, no consistent differences in nutrient and contaminant levels between wild and farmed fish, including salmon, could be observed.

The CONTAM Panel concluded that for the consumer, there are no differences between wild and farmed fish, including salmon, with respect to their safety.

On the other hand, the CONTAM Panel concluded there is convincing evidence that fish consumption, including farmed fish, and especially fatty fish, benefits the cardiovascular system and is suitable for secondary prevention in manifest coronary heart disease and may benefit the foetal development.

The CONTAM Panel stressed also that unfortunately no agreed methodology exists at present to compare in a quantitative way the risks and benefits of fish consumption.

Nevertheless, the presence of dioxins and other contaminants is for the Commission a cause for concern. The Commission adopted a comprehensive strategy in 2001 to reduce the presence of dioxins and PCBs in the environment, in feed and in food. The implementation of this strategy will give new impetus to the reduction of dioxins in feed and food, including fish. Therefore it is the intention of the Commission to revise the maximum levels to integrate the results of this strategy. In addition, Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) provides for measures to eliminate or reduce a number of internationally recognized POPs.

Fish, be it farmed or wild, has its place in a well balanced diet to ensure that consumers continue to benefit from its positive health effects. The scientific opinion of EFSA related to the safety assessment of wild and farmed fish provides the scientific support for this approach.

 

Question no 56 by Carl Schlyter (H-0475/05)
 Subject: Review of animal health policy
 

Many authorities link an increase in the incidence of epizootic disease with an increased intensification of agricultural production. Quoting from a joint FAO/OIE statement, 'The effects of avian flu and the threat of future outbreaks of transboundary diseases, including zoonoses, will increase with increasing intensification of livestock production, unless there is significant and sustained veterinary intervention to cut the cycles of disease transmission and establishment.' The statement then goes on to detail just why such 'sustained veterinary intervention" will be very difficult to implement in practice, in many key countries.

Does the Commission intend to look at mechanisms explicitly aimed at reducing the dependence of European agriculture on intensive farming, as part of the forthcoming reform of its animal health policy?

 
  
 

The sentence quoted from the proceedings of a recent seminar held in Vietnam clearly refers to the current outbreak of Avian Influenza in Asia.

It is worth highlighting another sentence taken from the conclusions of the same seminar:

“The occurrence(of disease) in the region is linked to traditional animal production including backyard and subsistence poultry production, multiple animal species farming practices as well as live poultry marketing systems”.

Thus, intensive farming is not identified the decisive risk factor for disease occurrence and spread.

More generally, the Honourable Member infers that the reduction of intensive farming in the Community would be the most appropriate measure for a reduction of the risks posed by animal diseases and their effects.

The Commission considers that the situation is more complex.

The factors that may contribute to the occurrence of animal diseases and to the amplification of their effects, including density of animal populations and on-farm biohazards, will be addressed by a new EU Animal Health Strategy.

In view of the development of a new EU Animal Health Strategy to improve the prevention and control of animal disease in the EU, as announced by the Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Protection at the Agriculture Council in December 2004, the Commission plans to propose a Communication in 2007 setting out actions for 2007-13. As a key element in building this strategy, the existing EU animal health policy will undergo an external evaluation based on a participative approach. Final conclusions and recommendations can be expected by mid-2006. The ensuing policy options and their impacts (economic, environmental and social) will be studied through this evaluation process, and will form part of an impact assessment.

The future animal health policy will be aimed at encouraging producers to take the appropriate measures to better prevent animal diseases and reduce their negative impact.

 

Question no 57 by Mairead McGuinness (H-0480/05)
 Subject: Food labelling
 

In light of the findings of the Eurobarometer survey of consumers' attitudes to animal welfare and the Commission's public comments about labelling to indicate welfare-friendly food, can it outline how this will work as we move into a more globalised food market under the WTO? Can the Commission also respond to the justified concerns among EU farmers about the huge power of the retail sector to drive down EU prices, making it increasingly difficult for smaller producers to survive?

Does the Commission share the concern that this report will produce more regulation but less real action for consumers or producers?

 
  
 

The EUROBAROMETER survey in question highlights consumers’ difficulties in identifying food produced in a more animal welfare friendly manner. In addition, it highlights their willingness to pay more for welfare friendly products and their high levels of certitude of influencing animal welfare by their purchasing choices.

This survey supports data already collected by a Community-funded research project on “Consumer concerns about animal welfare and the impact on food choice”.

The Commission’s Report to the Council and Parliament in 2002 on “Animal welfare legislation on farmed animals in Third Countries and the implications for the EU” highlighted the issue of labelling regimes as a possible means for producers who implement higher welfare standards to recoup the value of their costs and investments, as consumers may be willing to pay a premium for those products. The Commission is exploring this possibility.

A current Community-funded research project entitled “Welfare Quality” will further investigate consumers’, retailers’ and producers’ concerns with regard to animal welfare. This project will be hosting a workshop in Brussels on 17-18 November 2005 which will enable stakeholders to help to shape the future direction of this research through open dialogue.

Notably a recent Commission proposal for a Directive on broiler chickens also provides that the Commission will submit a specific report to the Council and Parliament on the issue of mandatory food labelling based on compliance with animal welfare standards. This report will take account of socio-economic issues and World Trade Organisation (WTO) considerations.

Data from the afore-mentioned studies will be very relevant in identifying various strategies (such as labelling) to address consumers’ concerns about animal welfare. The Commission will also study how to overcome barriers to consumers expressing ethical preferences in their food choice.

In summary, the Commission believes that clear food labelling has the potential to offer important benefits to consumers, while not disadvantaging producers. In fact, the Commission thinks that labelling will eventually render these products more competitive in effect to the benefit of the industry and in particular, to those who produce in an animal welfare-friendly manner.

Indeed experience from the application of existing voluntary labelling schemes has shown that marketing advantages may accrue from such initiatives. While studies continue on precisely how much different forms of labelling are used by consumers, consumers have a legitimate right to demand and receive clear product labelling, including an indication of compliance with animal welfare standards.

 

Fråga nr 58 från Anna Hedh (H-0483/05)
 Angående: Alkoholreklam riktad mot ungdomar
 

Vi européer dricker mest i hela världen. Alkoholen skördade över 600 000 dödsoffer i Europa 2002. Tjugofem procent av samtliga dödsfall i åldersgruppen 15-29 år under 1999 hade alkoholrelaterade orsaker, vilket är siffror som togs fram i samband med WHO-konferensen om unga och alkohol i Stockholm 2001.

Det finns också forskning som visar att alkoholreklam påverkar främst unga till att konsumera mer alkohol. Jag är övertygad om att alkoläsk är ett exempel på en bidragande orsak till den konsumtionsökning som inträffat bland unga flickor och kvinnor sedan mitten av 90-talet. Vi vet också att alkoholindustrins självreglering inte har fungerat de senaste åren. Jag vet att kommissionsledamot Kyprianou tidigare uttalat att han ser en tydlig koppling mellan alkoholbruk och sämre folkhälsa och att han är villig att ta sin roll som ansvarig för folkhälsa på allvar.

Vilka konkreta åtgärder är kommissionen beredd att ta för att reglera hur alkoholreklam utformas, i synnerhet den som riktar sig mot ungdomar?

 
  
 

The Commission fully shares the concerns of the Honourable Member on this important question, and would like to recall the concrete actions it is taking on the issue. In June 2001, the Council adopted the Recommendation on the drinking of alcohol by young people, in particular children and adolescents. The Recommendation was largely due to the widespread public, media and political concern at the possibility of so called alcopops marketed to appeal especially to children.

The Recommendation lists a set of measures that the Member States could undertake to prevent alcoholic beverages being designed for and marketed to young people. It recommends that Member States should, among other things, encourage the establishment of effective mechanisms in the fields of promotion, marketing and retailing to ensure that producers do not produce alcoholic beverages specifically targeted at children and adolescents.

The Recommendation invites the Commission to report on the implementation of the proposed measures no later than the end of the fourth year after the date of adoption of the Recommendation and regularly thereafter.

The Commission is at present preparing the report, which is due by the end of this year. Hence the Commission is in the process of establishing a comprehensive picture of the measures undertaken by the Member States, but we know for example that the beverage alcohol industry and/or the advertising industry have in several Member States responded to the concern by launching or strengthening existing self-regulation structures, which also include complaint procedures.

The Commission would also like to draw the honourable member’s attention to Council Conclusions of 5 June 2001 on an EU strategy to reduce alcohol-related harm, which invites the Commission to put forward proposals for a comprehensive Community strategy aiming at reducing alcohol-related harm and setting out a timetable for the different actions. The strategy should comprise a co-ordinated range of Community activities in all relevant policy areas, in fields such as research, consumer protection, transport, advertising, marketing, sponsoring, excise duties and other internal market issues. The Commission is at present preparing the strategy, which is also due by the beginning of next year. As harmful drinking patterns are on the rise among young people and marketing is a global industry, the Commission has already identified under-age drinking and commercial communication as key areas for the strategy.

Television without frontiers Directive is also important in this respect. It lists several criteria TV advertising for alcoholic beverages must comply with. One criterion is that it may not be aimed specifically at minors or, in particular, depict minors consuming these beverages.

The Commission should also like to mention that under the Public Health Programme, it has decided to co-finance a project called ELSA, which will assess the enforcement of national laws and self-regulation on the advertising and marketing of alcohol. In addition this project, which has started this year and lasts until the end of next year, will also provide policy recommendations for the Commission.

On the regulatory side, the proposal on nutrition and health claims, for which the Parliament recently adopted its opinion in first reading, is proposing provisions in Article 4 to restrict the inclusion of certain messages like health claims in the marketing of alcoholic beverages. Such a provision certainly represents a concrete measure in the direction jointly wished by the Parliament and the Commission.

Finally, the Commission should like to emphasise, that we should not forget the central role of Member States in tackling alcohol-related harm. An integrated approach needs concerted action by all stakeholders, including families, schools, employers, industry, advertisers and national regulators.

 

Vraag nr. 59 van Mia De Vits (H-0490/05)
 Betreft: Bewaartemperaturen voor voedingsproducten
 

Er bestaat geen Europese regelgeving over bewaartemperaturen voor voedingsproducten. 74% ervan wordt bij een verkeerde temperatuur bewaard. Soms wordt op een label een bewaartemperatuur van 4 tot 7°C aangeraden naargelang de lidstaat. Het is toch niet logisch dat voor hetzelfde product op basis van 25 nationale wetgevingen verschillende bewaartemperaturen worden aangegeven op de etiketten? Overweegt de Commissie daarom een harmonisering van bewaartemperaturen van voedingsmiddelen? Zo ja, wanneer? Wat denkt de Commissie over een informatiecampagne om consumenten meer bewust te maken van de geschikte bewaartemperaturen voor voedingsmiddelen?

 
  
 

Compliance with storage temperature requirements and maintenance of the cold chain are essential elements for preserving, throughout the food chain, the safety and quality of most perishable foods.

However, apart from certain products of animal origin, no specific temperature criteria are set down in Community legislation. It is indeed considered more appropriate and efficient to address the issue of storage temperature conditions for foodstuffs at food business operators' level rather than at Community level. Food business operators are best placed to fix the conditions under which the food they produced should be stored, as such requirements are clearly related to the nature of the food, to its production process and to its shelf life.

This approach continues to prevail in the new hygiene framework that will be applicable from 1 January 2006.

On the other hand, efforts should be made to better educate consumers on the necessary compliance with storage conditions specified by producers on food packaging. Food-borne outbreaks are indeed often due to mishandling of foods after purchase and frequent breaking of the cold chain. Information campaigns may be important educational tools in this regard and should be promoted at national level.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 60 της κ. Ρόδης Κράτσα-Τσαγκαροπούλου (H-0519/05)
 Θέμα: Ασφάλεια εγκυμοσύνης και τοκετού
 

Στην πρόσφατη Πράσινη Βίβλο : «Μπροστά στις δημογραφικές αλλαγές, μία νέα αλληλεγγύη μεταξύ γενεών», η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή τονίζει ότι, από το 2003, η φυσική αύξηση του πληθυσμού της Ευρώπης ήταν μόνο 0,04% ετησίως και στα νέα κράτη μέλη, με εξαίρεση την Κύπρο και τη Μάλτα, σημειώθηκε μείωση του πληθυσμού. Βάσει δε, των τελευταίων στοιχείων της ΠΟΥ (Παγκόσμια Οργάνωση Υγείας) και του ΟΟΣΑ (Οργανισμός για την Οικονομική Συνεργασία και Ανάπτυξη) παρουσιάζεται ανησυχητικό το πρόβλημα της βρεφικής θνησιμότητας αλλά και του υψηλού αριθμού θανάτων των μητέρων μετά τον τοκετό στην Ευρωπαϊκή ήπειρο (17.4 περιπτώσεις στους 100.000 τοκετούς) ενώ παρατηρούνται σημαντικές αποκλίσεις ανά κράτος μέλος στην Ε.Ε.

Διαθέτει η Επιτροπή στοιχεία για κάθε κράτος μέλος; Σκοπεύει στα πλαίσια της δημογραφικής πολιτικής και της πολιτικής υγείας της Ένωσης να προτείνει συγκεκριμένες πρωτοβουλίες για την ενδυνάμωση της ασφάλειας της εγκυμοσύνης και του τοκετού των γυναικών, ιδιαίτερα για τα κράτη μέλη που αντιμετωπίζουν πιο έντονα το πρόβλημα αυτό; Διατίθεται να προωθήσει στον τομέα της ευρωπαϊκής έρευνας ειδικά προγράμματα για την καταπολέμηση αυτού του φαινόμενου (μέσα προγεννητικού ελέγχου, εκσυγχρονισμός των ιατρικών εξοπλισμών και μεθόδων κ.α.) με συνεργασία των κρατών μελών;

 
  
 

While it is true that population rates are predicted to fall in many Member States over the coming decades, it is important to note that this is not due to a rise in infant or maternal mortality. In fact, infant and maternal mortality has fallen across all Member States, even though there are still wide variations between countries.

The Commission wishes to point out that recent figures on infant mortality contained in EurLife, the interactive database on living conditions and quality of life in Europe from the European Foundation for the improvement of Living and Working Conditions, corroborate the above considerations. The data provided cover the 25 current EU Member States and three candidate countries: Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

The Commission does not have powers to directly propose public health safety standards and measures; this is primarily a matter for the Member States. Under the public health action programme, there could be scope for the exchange of information and experiences on good practice in different Member States; here, funding priorities depend on the respective annual work programmes.

More broadly, EU legislation on health and safety at work provides for the protection of pregnant women at the workplace. In particular, Council Directive 92/85/EEC on the safety and health of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth provides, among other things, for a minimum maternity leave of at least 14 weeks allocated before and/or after confinement.

There have been a number of research projects in this area, covering public health, diagnostics and technological aspects. The Commission proposal for the 7th Research Framework Programme which still to be approved by the Council and the Parliament, offers, at this stage, some favourable prospects for research around the theme raised by the question.

 

Otázka č. 61 od Milan Gaľa (H-0528/05)
 Vec: Možnosť financovania nákladov spojených s prevenciou a liečbou pandémie chrípky z Európskeho fondu solidarity
 

V rozprave na tému Globálna hrozba pandémie chrípky, ktorá bola bodom programu plenárneho zasadnutia Európskeho parlamentu dňa 12. 4. 2005, komisár Markos Kyprianou naznačil istú možnosť financovania nákladov spojených s prevenciou a liečbou hroziacej pandémie chrípky z Európskeho fondu solidarity. Dovoľujem si položiť otázku Európskej komisii, aké kroky doteraz urobila na to, aby sa toto financovanie nákladov po dohode medzi Európskou komisiou a Európskym parlamentom stalo reálnym.

Vopred ďakujem za Vašu odpoveď.

 
  
 

The Commission is happy to report to the Honourable Member a major breakthrough on the financing of expenses incurred from the use of vaccines and antivirals.

On 6 April the Commission adopted a proposal for a new EU Solidarity Fund Regulation considerably widening the scope of the current Solidarity Fund. The proposed Regulation includes the possibility of contributing towards the costs incurred by actual expenditures in the event of a pandemic under certain conditions.

This fund envisages an annual volume of 1 billion € and explicitly includes the possibility to cover costs of expenditure on vaccines and antivirals. If the Parliament and the Council agree to the Commission’s proposal this will move the Community a good deal closer to better medical interventions and protection should the next pandemic strike.

The Commission counts on the support of the Parliament on this far-reaching proposal.

 

Klausimas Nr. 62, pateikė Justas Vincas Paleckis (H-0529/05)
 Tema: Europos Sąjungos finansuojamų regioninių centrų naujosiose ES valstybėse narėse, kurie kontroliuotų ŽIV/AIDS ligos plitimą į ES iš kaimyninių regionų, kūrimo
 

2004 metais Europos Komisijos Vilniuje rengtoje II-oje atviros Europos AIDS konferencijoje ES valstybių narių sveikatos apsaugos ministrai palaikė idėją steigti regioninį ES AIDS centrą Lietuvoje, kuris galėtų kaupti ir skleisti naujausius mokslo pasiekimus, geriausia ES šalių praktiką, propaguoti ES AIDS politiką ir strategiją.

Lietuva, specialistų nuomone, yra tinkama ES valstybė narė šio centro steigimui dėl keleto priežasčių: sėkmingai įgyvendinamos valstybinės ŽIV/AIDS prevencijos ir kontrolės programos, Lietuva nuolat puoselėja santykius su Kaliningrado sritimi ir Baltarusija ŽIV/AIDS kontrolės srityje.

Ar nebūtų vertinga kurti tam tikrus Europos Sąjungos finansuojamus regioninius centrus naujosiose ES valstybėse narėse, tarp jų ir Lietuvoje, kurie kontroliuotų ŽIV/AIDS ligos plitimą į ES iš kaimyninių regionų (Lietuvos atveju iš Kaliningrado srities, Baltarusijos)?

 
  
 

Tackling the HIV/AIDS epidemic is our common task. Working together provides a real opportunity to pool expertise and knowledge across the continent to identify the best tools for prevention, support, treatment and care.

To strengthen the European capacity against the threats posed by communicable diseases the Commission proposed to establish a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the ECDC, and it started its operation just few months ago in Stockholm.

Strengthening HIV/AIDS surveillance will be one of the priorities of the ECDC and therefore the Commission is confident that in the future we will have more reliable data and information on the epidemic throughout Europe. If the creation of regional centres should prove necessary in the future, the Commission will of course consider this issue.

The Commission has established good links with the neighbouring countries, in particular with the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova- all countries in which the HIV/AIDS epidemic is spreading fast.

The Commission is well aware of the specific problems of the Baltic Countries as regards the spread of HIV/AIDS and it would encourage HIV/AIDS organisations to build partnerships in the Baltic States and with countries with similar problems. These networks could be established as projects, and if bringing added value to the Community they could apply for co-financing through existing EC programmes and instruments.

 

Question no 63 by Caroline Lucas (H-0549/05)
 Subject: Shellfish toxin testing
 

There is growing concern about the implementation of Council Directive 91/492/EEC(1), which lays down the health conditions for the production and placing on the market of live bivalve molluscs and prescribes a mouse bioassay for shellfish toxin testing as reference method.

It is recognised that DG SANCO via the Community Reference Laboratory in consultation with ECVAM has started validation activities to replace the animal test. However, it appears that the Food and Veterinary Office (Ireland) will insist on the implementation of the mouse bioassay, even if Member States successfully apply in vitro methods or refinement or reduction of the in vivo method for several years.

Since this is clearly contrary to Directive 86/609/EEC(2) on the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes, could the Commission explain how it plans to respond?

 
  
 

The Commission considers as a priority the replacement of biological tests using rodents to verify the absence of biotoxins in shellfish. It is working very closely on this with the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, ECVAM.

Intoxication with biotoxins of bivalve molluscs is quite a serious form of food poisoning that can be picked up from shellfish. Member States are required to test for their presence and, if detected, the shellfish production areas are closed until the problem has been resolved.

There are many different shellfish toxins and validated non-animal tests are available for many but not for all types. Consequently the reference method to detect all these toxins and prevent toxic shellfish being harvested remains the mouse bioassay.

The Commission has been active in attempting to replace biological tests by alternative tests for many years. The Commission has more recently asked the Community Reference laboratory in Vigo (Spain) to develop, in cooperation with ECVAM and with the assistance of the National Reference Laboratories, alternative methods by the end of 2005. This process will of course also take account of international developments, and notably recent work in the United States on a chemical test method for PSP, currently undergoing validation in Europe.

Current legislation allows Member States to use validated non-bioassay tests where they exist. However, alternative chemical methods can replace biological methods only if they give equivalent results in the matter of sensitivity and diagnostic reliability.

The Commission would encourage Member States to continue work in this area and to share their results, methods and reference materials.

When enough alternative methods have been validated so as to cover all toxins, the Commission would be very pleased to propose that Community legislation be modified to move entirely away from the mouse bioassay for good.

 
 

(1) OJ L 268, 24.9.1991, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 358, 18.12.1986, p. 1.

 

Vraag nr. 64 van Bart Staes (H-0446/05)
 Betreft: Passende controle op besteding middelen toegekend naar aanleiding van Tsunami-ramp
 

De Europese Commissie heeft beloofd om 350 miljoen euro steun uit te trekken voor het herstel en de wederopbouw op middellange termijn van de door de tsunami getroffen gebieden.

Welke maatregelen heeft de Commissie genomen om ervoor te zorgen dat deze middelen op correcte wijze worden aangewend? Welke controlemechanismen heeft zij ingesteld die moeten voorkomen dat er met deze middelen wordt gefraudeerd? Bestaan hierover reeds rapporten?

 
  
 

The tsunami that hit the countries around the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 was one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. The response to the tsunami has been extraordinary. The international community has responded with great generosity pledging over € 6.2 billion on emergency relief and reconstruction, matching the general level of needs in the most affected countries.

The Commission has been a leading part of that international response. At the Jakarta Donors’ Conference in January, the EC pledged € 123 million for humanitarian support and € 350 million for longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction support. The longer-term support will focus on the worst affected countries: Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Maldives. The other affected countries (India and Thailand) indicated to the EC that they do not need EC support which should be focused on more needy countries. It should be noted that the total assistance pledged by the EC for humanitarian and reconstruction support (€ 473 million) is in line with other donors larger pledges (Japan € 385million, United States € 700 million, Australia € 590 million, Canada € 265million, World Bank € 195 million, Asian Development Bank € 385 million). Moreover, the European Union is the largest donor with about € 2.3 billion from the total international pledged aid of about € 6.2 billion.

Most of the EC support for reconstruction will pass through Multi-Donor Trust Funds with the World Bank as trustee. Trust Funds will reinforce donor coordination and ensure transparency, efficiency and flexibility. In all circumstances the Commission will ensure that the use of funds when channelled through trust funds is in line with international fiduciary standards and that adequate transparency and regular reporting is provided on the use of funds. This is ensured in the case of Indonesia and Sri Lanka by having as trustee the World Bank to directly manage the flow of funds, and in the case of Maldives having the assurance of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank that the Government is using a financial management system that is adequate and in line with international standards.

The programmes co-financed with International Organisations (such as the United Nations and Asian Development Bank) equally apply international financial management standards and reporting. In all other cases the Commission will be in charge of the direct management of funds, and will ensure sound financial management and reporting in accordance with the Financial Regulation(1) and our internal procedures.

Finally, in relation to monitoring and reporting, there will be regular reporting mechanisms that the trustees operating the Trust Funds will have to provide to donors. The Commission has retained specific resources for the EC to launch independent progress monitoring reviews on the performance and achievements of each individual Trust Fund. Adequate and regular information will be provided to EP and Council on these progress reports.

The Commission will allow the highest importance to a good allocation of resources and the prevention of any misappropriation.

 
 

(1) Council Regulation No 1605/2002 on the Financial Regulation applicable to the general budget of the European Communities, OJ L 248, 16.9.2002

 

Question no 65 by Sajjad Karim (H-0450/05)
 Subject: Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)
 

In the past few months there has been growing concern with regard to the EPAs currently being negotiated between the EU and the ACP countries. The ACP group contains some of the poorest and most vulnerable developing nations, and their trade and development relations are of vital importance to their future development. However, the current set of EPAs contain a number of flaws, major concerns being the opening of all ACP economies to imports from the EU, including agricultural products, as well as some ACP countries lacking the capacity to negotiate on an equal footing with the EU. Many NGOs fear the outcome of these negotiations will have a devastating effect on the LDCs.

Has the Commission taken on board the concerns expressed by many and if so, how will the Commission address these urgent matters in order to deliver fair and just Economic Partnership Agreements?

 
  
 

As the Commissioner in charge of Trade and the Commissioner in charge of Development and Humanitarian Aid have emphasised on several occasions, European Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are not classical free trade agreements but are designed as tools for development and the promotion of regional economic integration. They will serve as stepping stones for the integration of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries in the global economy and the multilateral trading system.

Liberalisation of ACP imports is not the main objective of EPAs. The first and decisive step of the EPA process is to support the creation of regional markets, which should ideally comprise the adoption of common external tariffs. Regional preference, including vis-à-vis EU imports, will be an important element of this policy.

Only at a later stage will ACP regions open their markets to EU products, progressively and over time. The transitional periods and sectors concerned will be agreed together with each respective ACP region in accordance with their development needs. Regarding agriculture, talks will take into account rural development and food security concerns. More specifically, a substantial part of ACP imports could still be protected under safeguard provisions if necessary. Furthermore, a key element in these discussions will be revenue effects and how to address them, where required. Addressing problems might include development assistance and diversification of sources of public revenue.

The Commission will use EC development assistance to support the ACP countries and ensure they gain maximum benefit. This assistance will be available during the negotiations and beyond. The Commission has already put in place a substantial trade related assistance package for ACP countries of around € 650 million. Part of this is earmarked directly for strengthening the negotiating capacity of the ACPs. At every stage, the EPA process will be under review, to ensure that the EPAs deliver on the promise to put development first.

The EPA negotiations are conducted in a transparent manner. Regular briefs are delivered and consultations held with all interested stakeholders, including Parliament, Member States, civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), in order to ensure that their views are taken into account.

 

Fråga nr 66 från Inger Segelström (H-0453/05)
 Angående: Lärarorganisation förbjuds i Turkiet
 

Den 25 maj i år beslutade Turkiets högsta domstol att upplösa lärarorganisationen Egitim Sen. Beslutet får som konsekvens att organisationen, som företräder ca 200 000 medlemmar, förlorar rätten att representera medlemmarna gentemot arbetsgivare och myndigheter. Det bakomliggande argumentet till beslutet är enligt uppgift att Egitim Sen uttryckligen försvarar rätten till modersmålsundervisning och barns rätt att utvecklas utifrån sin kulturella identitet. Detta strider enligt högsta domstolen mot Turkiets konstitution.

Turkiet har ratificerat ILO-konventionen som uppställer normer för medborgerliga fri- och rättigheter, såsom föreningsfrihet och minoriteters rättigheter. Jag vill med anledning av detta fråga kommissionen hur man avser att agera för att markera att demokratiska fri- och rättigheter, som föreningsfriheten i detta fall, måste upprätthållas och respekteras av EU:s kandidatländer?

 
 

Fråga nr 67 från Jonas Sjöstedt (H-0455/05)
 Angående: Utfall i Turkiet kring Egitim Sen
 

Den turkiska högsta domstolen beslutade den 25 maj 2005 att lärarorganisationen Egitim Sen ska upplösas. Den förlorar därmed rätten att företräda sina ca 200 000 medlemmar i förhållande till myndigheter och arbetsgivare.

Bakgrunden är att Egitim Sen i sina stadgar och policydokument försvarar rätten till modersmålsundervisning för alla barn och allas rätt att utvecklas utifrån sin kulturella bakgrund. Högsta domstolen anser att detta strider mot Republiken Turkiets konstitution, där det står att all undervisning ska ske på turkiska.

Kommissionen har sedan tidigare bekräftat att det i Turkiet ”kvarstår fortfarande väsentliga inskränkningar av organisationsrätten, rätten att förhandla om kollektivavtal och strejkrätten” samt att Turkiet inte uppfyller ”Internationella arbetsorganisationens standarder”.

Vilka konsekvenser anser kommissionen att utfallet i den turkiska högsta domstolen får för landets strävan att bli medlem av EU?

 
  
 

The Commission has been closely following the Eğitim Sen case. In May 2005, in a final judgement, the Court of Cassation ruled that the trade union should be closed down. As both Honourable Members state, this union has been found by the Court of Cassation to be in breach of Turkey’s Constitution because an article in its statute supports the right to be educated in one’s own mother tongue (whereas the article 42 of the Turkish Constitution states that education should be provided in the official language, meaning Turkish). The decision of the Court of Cassation reversed two successive rulings of the Labour Court in favour of Eğitim Sen.

The Honourable Members note the possible contradiction with International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions. The Commission strongly supports the effective implementation of the ILO Conventions. In 1998, Members of the ILO, to which Turkey is party, adopted a Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This Declaration incorporates a follow-up that involves an annual review, a Global Report and conclusions about technical cooperation priorities. The Commission will take due consideration of the next review by the ILO Governing Body on the application of freedom of association and the protection of the right to organize in Turkey.

The Commission has also noted the intention expressed by Lawyer Ms. Oya Aydın, defending Eğitim Sen's interests, to bring the issue to the European Court of Human Rights, namely on the grounds that the Ankara Labour Court had stressed that the Turkish Constitution should be interpreted in accordance with the European Convention of Human Rights, and that a decision to close down the trade union would not be in compliance with articles 10 (freedom of expression) and 11 (freedom of association) of the Convention.

The Commission has expressed concern at the decision of the Court of Cassation concerning Eğitim Sen, and stated that it appears to be disproportionate and not in compliance with EU and international standards. In the context of its ongoing monitoring of trade union rights in Turkey, the Commission will continue to closely follow the Eğitim Sen case.

 

Question no 68 by Sarah Ludford (H-0456/05)
 Subject: Urban Waste Water Directive
 

What progress has been achieved in persuading the UK Government to avoid infringement procedures for the breach of the Urban Waste Water Directive 91/271/EEC(1), constituted by the failure to avoid massive raw sewage discharges into the River Thames, through installation of the recommended remedial ‘interceptor tunnel’ to channel storm overflows?

 
  
 

The Commission received a number of complaints following the release of large quantities of raw sewage into the River Thames in August 2004. This raised the question of whether the capacity of the urban waste water collection and treatment facilities in London were sufficient to ensure full compliance with the requirements of Council Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste water treatment. The Commission therefore sent a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom under Article 226 of the EC Treaty, requesting the comments of the United Kingdom. A reply has now been received and is under assessment. If the allegations are shown to be well founded, the United Kingdom will be under an obligation to improve the capacity of the collection and treatment facilities serving London. Given that Directive 91/271/EEC is a results based Directive, the choice of solution will be a matter for the United Kingdom to decide.

 
 

(1) OJ L 135 of 30.5.1991, p. 40

 

Question no 69 by Bogusław Sonik (H-0457/05)
 Subject: Employment of administrators from Poland
 

According to the report presented by Siim Kallas (27 April 2005) about the current state of employment of administrators in the EU institutions from the 10 new Member States, the ratio of administrators of Polish origin remains much below the average for the other new Member States (about 20% - 134/671 - of the number set by the Commission). Given the approaching expiration of the reserve lists (December 2005) would the Commission state:

What are the reasons for this imbalance? Are particular Directorates General aware of this fact? What measures have been undertaken towards speeding up the apparent insufficient employment of administrators from Poland? Given the size of the population of Poland (similar to Spain) and the slowness of the recruitment process, should not the reserve lists from this country have a longer expiration period?

 
  
 

The answer to the question of the Honourable Member relates mainly to the Commission because the Commission plainly has no responsibility for recruitment in the other institutions.

In order to reach a geographical balance in the recruitment of the officials originating from the new Member States, the Council Regulation No 401/2004(1) foresees a transitional period extending from 2004 to 2010 during which it is possible to hold competitions specifically targeted at nationals of the new Member States.

This approach allows smooth integration of officials from the new Member States.

1. As reported in the communication from the Vice-President of the Commission in charge of administrative affairs, audit and anti-fraud dated 22 April 2005(2), it is true that the proportion of Polish officials recruited by the Commission compared to the target set up is lower than the average proportion of the officials originating from the other new Member States.

Priority in recruitment was given to linguists, assistant administrators and secretaries. The need for linguists for each language was estimated to be 80 linguistic A* staff, regardless of the size of the new Member State. As for assistant administrators and secretaries, it was considered more important to have a significant number of laureates from each new Member State rather than to reach a balanced representation of the new Member States in the first year of accession.

In addition, an analysis of the first wave of enlargement competitions showed that there was a significant shortfall in the number of laureates produced in comparison with the number indicated in the competition notices. The situation varied widely from country to country and domain to domain. The audit competition for Polish administrators produced, for example, 13 laureates, whereas the target figure was 40. Similar variations were seen in other competitions.

2. The communication from the Vice-President of the Commission in charge of administrative affairs, audit and anti-fraud was made available to all services. If recruitment is looked at on a Directorate general-by-Directorate general basis, the picture varies considerably. This is due to the fact that certain profiles have only recently become, or are not yet, available.

3. An overall geographical balance per nationality will be addressed in the following waves of competitions. The assessment of needs of laureates per new Member State is ongoing. The Commission will, in close collaboration with EPSO, ensure that it has an appropriate balance of staff from each of the new Member States across all categories, including middle and senior management, at the end of the transition period.

4. As regards the utilisation of reserve lists, the Commission wishes to address two misunderstandings.

Firstly, the recruitment process is not slow and the utilisation rates of the EUR10 Administrators lists clearly show that recruitments of Polish citizens from the reserve lists are well above the average. The Commission has recruited 67% of the laureates on the Polish reserve lists in comparison with 50% of the overall EUR10 reserve lists.

Secondly, the fact that the reserve lists validity is limited to 31 December 2005 does not necessarily imply that they will expire that day. The Appointing Authority (EPSO, in the present case) may extend their validity (and experience shows that where the number of laureates still on the list is significant, the Appointing Authority is likely to do so).

 
 

(1) Council Regulation (EC, Euratom) No 401/2004 of 23 February 2004 introducing, on the occasion of the accession of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, special temporary measures for recruitment of officials of the European Communities, OJ L 67, 5.3.2004
(2) SEC (2005)565 on ‘Recruitment of Officials and Temporary Staff from the New Member States: State of Play and Way Forward’

 

Pregunta nº 70 formulada por Raül Romeva i Rueda (H-0459/05):
 Asunto: Acuerdo Pesquero UE - Marruecos/Sáhara Occidental
 

La Comisión Europea ha anunciado recientemente el inicio de un proceso negociador con el Reino de Marruecos con vistas a la firma de un acuerdo pesquero.

Sin embargo, un aspecto importantísimo del futuro acuerdo pesquero son las aguas del Sáhara Occidental, es decir, entre el paralelo 27º 40’ N y Cabo Blanco.

La Organización de las Naciones Unidas considera que Marruecos no tiene ni la soberanía sobre el territorio ni puede ser considerado «Potencia Administradora» del mismo, según quedó claro en el Dictamen del Responsable de Asuntos Jurídicos de Naciones Unidas de 29 de enero de 2002.

¿Piensa la Comisión Europea excluir las aguas del Sáhara Occidental del Acuerdo que, en su caso, se firme con el Reino de Marruecos en materia pesquera?

 
  
 

In the framework of the negotiations of a partnership agreement with a third party the Commission abides by the principles of international law and in particular those deriving from the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982. The Commission is also aware of the Legal opinion of the United Nations Under-secretary for Legal issues on the status of Western Sahara natural resources. With that in mind, the Commission intends to negotiate a Fisheries Partnership Agreement with Morocco that would apply to waters coming under Morocco’s sovereignty or jurisdiction.

 

Question no 71 by Simon Coveney (H-0461/05)
 Subject: Burma - human rights and Shan civilians
 

Given the significant rise in attacks by the Burmese Army on Shan civilians and the severe abuses of human rights in Shan State (Burma), what concrete steps is the Commission taking to put pressure on the Burmese authorities to end its brutality in the Shan province, and what measures are being taken by the Commission to encourage the Thai authorities to face up to their responsibilities and provide vital protection and humanitarian assistance for refugees who are fleeing across the border into Thailand on a daily basis, and is the Commission providing such assistance from the European Union?

 
  
 

The European Union remains deeply concerned about the political and human rights situation in all of Burma/Myanmar, and in particular in ethnic minority areas such as the Shan State. The Commission and Member States therefore continue to call on the Burmese authorities to undertake decisive steps to improve the situation in these areas. Unfortunately the situation has not improved so far.

Recent information that groups from Shan State National Army have broken the ceasefire agreement with the military junta, leading to increased clashes between Shan soldiers and government forces. These clashes have allegedly provoked an influx of Shan refugees to Thailand. This is a worrying development and the Commission continues to monitor the situation very closely.

Thailand is not a party to the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) maintains offices in Bangkok and along the border, but only on the basis of working arrangements. Accordingly, the Thai government does not grant full refugee status to displaced people arriving from Burma/Myanmar. However, authorities have de facto provided shelter and protection on Thai soil.

The Commission Delegation in Bangkok, in full coordination with representatives of EU Member States, remains in close contact with the Thai authorities, including Foreign Affairs and the National Security Council, on the issue of Burmese refugees, to ensure that they are treated according to International standards.

As the current situation is unsustainable in the long run, the Commission Delegation in Bangkok is conducting a dialogue with the Thai authorities and UNHCR, aiming at a gradual improvement, including integration into the local labour market.

In addition, the Commission is providing substantial support to Burmese refugees living on the Thai-Burma border. In the period 2002-2004, EC assistance to the Burmese refugees amounted to approximately € 30 million, addressing the full range of needs, for example relief, food, health and education.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 72 της κ. Μαρίας Ματσούκα (H-0462/05)
 Θέμα: Ομολογία της αμερικανικής αυτοκινητοβιομηχανίας General Motors περί της χρησιμοποίησης ανθρώπινων πτωμάτων σε δοκιμές σύγκρουσης
 

Σύμφωνα με σχετικό κείμενο που παρουσιάσθηκε στην ιστοσελίδα της γνωστής αμερικανικής αυτοκινητοβιομηχανίας General Motors, η συγκεκριμένη εταιρία παραδέχθηκε ότι κατά το παρελθόν είχε εφαρμόσει ένα πρόγραμμα χρησιμοποίησης ανθρωπίνων πτωμάτων σε δοκιμές σύγκρουσης (crash test). Για τις δοκιμές σύγκρουσης συνήθως χρησιμοποιούνται ειδικές κούκλες (crash test dummies). Εμπόδιο όμως στη χρησιμοποίησή τους φαίνεται να αποτελεί το κόστος τους, το οποίο μπορεί να φθάσει τα 500.000 €. Αντίθετα, το κόστος αγοράς ενός πτώματος θεωρείται πολύ πιο συμφέρον !!

Καθώς, το πρόγραμμα αυτό όχι μόνο προσβάλλει τη μνήμη του νεκρού αλλά, χειρότερα ακόμα, υποβιβάζει το νεκρό – και εν γένει την ανθρώπινη ύπαρξη - σε εμπορεύσιμο είδος, και λαμβάνοντας υπόψιν το μικρό αριθμό των συνανθρώπων μας, που επιθυμεί μετά θάνατον να δωρίσει τα ζωτικά του όργανα ή συνολικά το σώμα του για τη σωτηρία ασθενών, ο οποίος θα συρρικνωθεί περαιτέρω υπό το δέλεαρ του οικονομικού κέρδους, και την επεκτεινόμενη ανά την υφήλιο φτώχια, που είναι ο «καλύτερος» σύμβουλος για τη σύναψη τέτοιων μακάβριων συναλλαγών,

Ερωτάται η Επιτροπή αν προτίθεται να εξετάσει το ζήτημα ευρύτερα και να επιβάλλει σχετικές κυρώσεις ενάντια στη συγκεκριμένη αμερικανική αυτοκινητοβιομηχανία, να διερευνήσει την πιθανότητα εφαρμογής του προγράμματος αυτού και από άλλες εταιρίες σύμφωνα με τις σχετικές φήμες, και τέλος αν πρόκειται να πάρει μέτρα για την πλήρη εξάλειψη της απάνθρωπης αυτής δραστηριότητας;

 
  
 

By the 1930s, with the automobile a common part of daily life, the number of motor vehicle deaths was continually increasing and vehicle designers saw a clear need to do some research on ways to make their products safer.

In America work began on collecting data on the effects of high-speed collisions on the human body in the late 1930s when there was no reliable data on the response of the human body to extreme physical conditions and no effective tools existed to measure such responses. Biomechanics was a field barely in its infancy. It was therefore necessary to employ test subjects in order to develop initial data sets.

The first test subjects were human cadavers. They were used to obtain fundamental information about the human body's ability to withstand the crushing and tearing forces typically experienced in a vehicle accident. Research has indicated that as a result of this earlier work, and the design changes consequently implemented, up to 8,500 lives had been saved annually in the United States by the late 1980s.

The information gained from that research was consequently put to good use in the development of what we know today as “crash test dummies”. These dummies provide a consistent instrument in the testing of vehicles and are continually being upgraded and made more biofidelic. It is only by using these dummies that vehicles can be tested under controlled conditions and in a manner which is fully understood. The original test dummies, on which most of today’s dummies are based, were originally developed by General Motors in the United States.

Today, under European Union regulation, crash testing where assessment of potential injury levels is required is carried out using specified test dummies which are becoming more and more complex and, as a result, more representative of the real human. To the knowledge of the Commission, European manufacturers do not make use of human cadavers in crash tests and the dummies which are used are continually undergoing development to provide more information on injury levels with the result that many thousands of lives are saved on our roads every year.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 73 του κ. Γεωργίου Καρατζαφέρη (H-0464/05)
 Θέμα: Απογραφή των μειονοτήτων που διαβιούν στην Αλβανία
 

H Aλβανία είχε αναλάβει την υποχρέωση έναντι της ΕΕ να διενεργήσει μέχρι τις 31.12.2003 συγκροτημένη, αξιόπιστη και σοβαρή απογραφή όλων των μειονοτήτων που διαβιούν στην επικράτειά της. Διενήργησε αυτή την απογραφή; Αν όχι, ποιες είναι οι κυρώσεις που μπορούν να επιβληθούν στην χώρα αυτή η οποία χρηματοδοτείται από τον Προϋπολογισμό της ΕΕ;

 
  
 

Albania has made no commitments to the EU regarding the conduct of a new general census of the population. However, in response to requests from the Commission at a number of successive Consultative Task Force meetings, Albania has indeed made commitments regarding data on minorities. Most recently in June 2003 Albania agreed to a joint recommendation that it would collect and make public, before the end of 2003, accurate data on the size of its minorities. This was not done by the deadline set, and although Albania produced relevant figures in February 2004, there was no broad consensus on their accuracy. Further progress is hampered by the difficulty in reaching agreement between the authorities and minority groups on the methodology to be used in gathering data. The Commission continues to encourage close cooperation and dialogue between government and minority representatives, with a view to defining a methodology capable of producing results which are both accurate and accepted by all parties. More generally, Albania’s progress in the Stabilisation and Association Process depends on its satisfactorily addressing fundamental issues such as minority rights.

 

Question no 74 by Robert Evans (H-0468/05)
 Subject: Insurance of World War II bomber
 

Is the Commission intending to take action on an anomaly in Regulation (EC) No. 785/2004(1) on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators, which threatens to ground the last airworthy B-17 flying fortress, known as 'Sally B', which is flown at air shows throughout the UK? This is due to the aircraft's take-off weight, treating it as a regular commercial passenger plane, rather than as an historic aircraft.

 
  
 

Regulation (EC) No 785/04 of the Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on insurance requirements for air carriers and aircraft operators(2) entered into force on 30 April 2005 and introduces common insurance requirements for aircraft operators and air carriers. All aircraft falling within the scope of the Regulation have to carry insurance in respect of liability for passengers, baggage, cargo and third parties. The aim of the Regulation is to ensure that damaged parties are financially compensated in the event of an accident, regardless of the financial situation of the operator of the aircraft. The Regulation makes no exception for historic aircraft, because operators of such aircraft can be held liable for damages caused and, consequently, should have an adequate insurance to cover that liability. For that same reason, the Regulation also does not make any difference between Community carriers and carriers from third countries, or whether the aircraft was commercially operated or not. Nonetheless, the owners of rarely used aircraft can influence their insurance costs because the premium levels for these aircraft usually vary with the number of flown hours.

However, the Commission closely monitors the application of EC Regulation 785/04 and will study carefully its effects on different parts of the aviation sector.

 
 

(1) OJ L 138, 30.4.2004, p. 1
(2) OJ L 138, 30.4.2004

 

Pregunta nº 75 formulada por Luis Herrero-Tejedor (H-0469/05):
 Asunto: Criterios para valorar el impacto medioambiental y viabilidad de los proyectos de desaladoras presentados por el Gobierno Español en el Programa Agua
 

España ha presentado una serie de proyectos incluidos en el Programa Agua, que incluyen varias desaladoras en la costa mediterránea cuyo impacto ambiental puede trascender las fronteras de este Estado por sus vertidos al mar Mediterráneo. Considerando que no existen precedentes en Europa de desaladoras de esta escala y dimensión, ni investigaciones integrales sobre el impacto medioambiental ni sobre el impacto derivado del consumo de combustibles fósiles y la generación de gases de efecto invernadero y la preocupación existente debido fundamentalmente al vertido de grandes cantidades de sustancias químicas(1) de composición no declarada y que se conoce que muchas de ellas se encuentran entre las sustancias preocupantes para el medio ambiente(2):

¿Cuales son los criterios e indicadores que se van a aplicar en los estudios de impacto? ¿Qué estudios se van a realizar para conocer los efectos de las sustancias químicas utilizadas en el tratamiento, tanto las que se añaden al agua desalada como las que se vierte junto con las salmueras? ¿Se va a tener en cuenta el consumo de energía, el impacto sobre los suelos en caso de uso para riego, su reflejo en la fauna y flora marina, la posible toxicidad del agua y sus posibles usos? ¿Se va a tener en cuenta el costo del agua de desalación, su distribución y la reposición de membranas y otros componentes, teniendo en cuenta la corta vida de las desaladoras?

 
  
 

The Commission is aware of the intention by the Spanish authorities to supply water from desalination plants to regions with water scarcity. The following pieces of EU legislation are of relevance:

1) The Water Framework Directive(3):

provides for protection of all our waters, rivers, lakes, groundwaters and coastal waters;

covers all sectors of human activity (including thus e.g. waste water discharges from water treatment plants and from desalination plants);

sets the objective of good quality (‘good status’) for all waters, linked to a non-deterioration clause;

defines ‘good status’ for coastal waters in a comprehensive way, in terms of biological, physico-chemical and hydromorphological quality elements;

submits all point source discharges liable to cause pollution to an authorisation procedure.

2) The Habitats Directive(4)

provides for the protection and conservation of habitats and threatened species. The directive requires the designation of sites in the NATURA 2000 network and provides for special assessments if these sites threaten to be impacted by construction projects such as de-salination plants;

3) The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive(5) and the Strategic Impact Assessment Directive(6)

The first mentioned directive requires an environmental impact assessment to be carried out on a range of construction/civil engineering projects. The SEA directive requires a strategic assessment of plans and programmes with a wider geographical scale and potential impact.

Consequently, there is a comprehensive framework of criteria to be adhered to under EU environmental legislation, ensuring that the environmental objectives will be adhered to and that specially protected areas e.g. the Poseidonia beds along the Spanish Mediterranean coast will be protected.

 
 

(1) Agentes anti-incrustantes, biocidas, detergentes, agentes de limpieza química, correctores del pH, etc.
(2) Disruptores de la función endocrina, carcinogénicas, bioacumulativas, persistentes, etc.
(3) Directive 2000/60/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, OJ L 327, 22.12.2000
(4) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora
(5) 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
(6) Directive 2001/42/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 June 2001 on the assessment of the effects of certain plans and programmes on the environment

 

Zapytanie nr 76 skierowane przez Bogusław Liberadzki (H-0472/05)
 Dotyczy: Regulacji w zakresie praw i obowiązków pasażera w międzynarodowych i dalekobieżnych przewozach autobusowych
 

Przyjęcie regulacji europejskiej w zakresie praw i obowiązków pasażera w międzynarodowych przewozach kolejowych spowoduje, iż prawa te będą regulowane w transporcie lotniczym i kolejowym, a nie będzie takich regulacji w międzynarodowych i dalekobieżnych przewozach osób autobusami. W efekcie troska o pasażera spowoduje lepsze traktowanie zwłaszcza w przypadku nieszczęśliwych zdarzeń przez transport kolejowy i lotniczy, ale niższe koszty w przypadku transportu autobusowego.

Czy Komisja Europejska uważa za celowe przygotowanie projektu stosownych regulacji w międzynarodowych (a także dalekobieżnych) przewozów osób autobusami? Zwłaszcza, iż wypadkowość w transporcie autobusowym jest znacznie większa niż w jakichkolwiek innych gałęziach transportu zbiorowego. Moje pytanie motywuje zarówno troską o pasażera jak i porównywalne warunki konkurowania na rynku międzynarodowych przewozów pasażerskich.

 
  
 

In its White Paper “European transport policy for 2010: time to decide” the Commission envisaged the establishment of passengers’ rights in all modes of transport.

In the Communication on strengthening passenger rights within the European Union of 16 February 2005(1), the Commission presented a policy approach on how to extend passenger protection measures to all modes of transport other than aviation. The Commission pointed out three main areas of concern with regard to the international coach transport: the rights of persons with reduced mobility, liability issues and a compensation and assistance in the event of interrupted travel. The Commission has committed itself to examine the best way of improving and guaranteeing the rights of passengers in international coach services in the course of the year 2005/2006.

To this end, the Commission is preparing a consultation document on the rights of passengers in international bus and coach transport containing a detailed questionnaire addressed to the Member States and other stakeholders.

Taking into consideration the results of the public consultation, the Commission will come up, if appropriate, with a legislative proposal.

In addition to passenger rights, the Commission is also tackling bus and coach safety. Whilst bus and coach travel remains the safest means of road transport (130 fatalities out of 43,700 in 2004), further safety measures are still necessary. The Commission has adopted numerous measures under the road safety action plan, vehicle construction regulations (which improve the safety designs of buses and coaches, including the obligation to install seat belts) and it regulates operator and driver qualifications and conditions.

 
 

(1) Doc. COM(2005) 46 final

 

Question no 77 by James Hugh Allister (H-0474/05)
 Subject: External Action Service
 

How will the Commission's proposals for an External Action Service be affected by the failure in the ratification process of the proposed EU Constitution? In view of the demise of the Constitution, and thus of the anticipated basis for action, what steps does the Commission propose to take to reverse the presumptive steps already taken in preparation for the introduction of the External Action Service?

 
  
 

In line with the mandate from the European Council (December 2004) the Commission has been working on the preparation for the European External Action Service with the Secretary General of the Council/High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP).

The Commission has also participated in the work of the Parliament, which adopted a resolution on 26 May on the European External Action Service.

Concerning the Constitutional Treaty, the European Council, has now decided to open a period of reflection which should be used for an in-depth discussion on important questions for Europeans and for Europe’s future. This reflection should include the challenge of ensuring the EU is an effective actor in international affairs. It would be premature today to draw more specific conclusions on the institutional consequences.

The European Council has agreed in principle to have a further discussion on the Constitutional Treaty in the first half of 2006.

 

Question no 78 by Bill Newton Dunn (H-0479/05)
 Subject: Cost of organised crime
 

What is the Commission's best estimate of the cost of organised crime last year inside the EU of 25? Can it subdivide the cost by different crimes - such as drugs, counterfeit goods, internet identity theft, trafficking of people, etc.?

 
  
 

The Honourable Member asks for the Commission’s best estimate of the cost of organised crime last year inside the EU. The costs of organised crime are enormous, whether you want to measure only direct economic costs or both tangible and intangible direct and indirect costs. Different organisations make rough estimates of the cost of selected types of crime, for selected regions and selected periods of time, as does a few Member States of the EU.

A precise quantitative estimate of the cost of organised crime would require an extensive knowledge base containing comparable information on the extent of different types of organised crime in the EU Member States, as well as on the criminal justice response to crime, information on costs for individual victims and business, costs for intangible as well as tangible consequences of crime and for measures taken in anticipation of crime, to reduce or prevent crime or its consequences, to mention only a few necessary parameters.

As outlined in its answer to oral question H-0524/04 by the Honourable Member, the Commission is currently working to develop comparable statistics on crime and criminal justice at the European Union level. This work was initialised because it was recognised that one of the main deficiencies in the area of justice, freedom and security is the lack of comparable information on crime and criminal justice. Current compilations of national statistics are not comparable between countries, sub-national information is lacking and existing victimisation surveys do not cover all important crime types, or all EU Member States. The lack of good quality quantitative data specifically on organised crime is an overall problem. The Organised Crime Reports compiled by Europol suffers from a lack of harmonisation of indicators and reporting, to mention only a few problems that hamper the comparability and quantification of organised crime incidence and frequency.

The Commission has funded a study on cost-benefit analyses in crime prevention. The study concluded that only few Member States have data on the cost-aspect of crime. The study was discussed at a seminar on the Cost of Crime, held in Finland last year and co-funded by the Commission’s AGIS-programme, where it was concluded that the issue needs much further work in the European Union.

The task to develop comparable statistics is a long-term goal that will have to be developed over the coming years, in close cooperation with Member States, as collecting information on the basis of harmonised definitions and reporting procedures will demand time and resources both at national and EU levels. A Communication on statistics on crime and criminal justice is planned for the latter part of 2005; it will include an action plan and a Commission decision to set up a consultative committee to advise the Commission’s Directorate General Justice, Liberty and Security (JLS) in the different steps towards comparable statistics.

The end-goal is to have good-quality comparable information on crime and criminal justice, so as to render possible prioritisation, monitoring and evaluation of measures as well as cost-benefit analyses among other important policy tools.

 

Question no 79 by Catherine Stihler (H-0481/05)
 Subject: Ship to ship oil transfer
 

Recent drastic proposals for ship to ship oil transfer made in relation to the Firth of Forth would involve the transfer of almost 8 million tonnes per annum of Russian crude oil and other hydrocarbons.

Can the Commission clarify its position on ship to ship oil transfer?

 
  
 

La Commission est consciente de la préoccupation suscitée par le projet d’une société privée d’établir un système de transbordement de pétrole entre navires citernes dans les zones de mouillage du Firth of Forth, à quelques miles de la côte du conseil d’East Lothian, en Ecosse.

Le transbordement de pétrole entre navires est une opération technique compliquée entraînant un risque important de déversement de pétrole en mer.

Le transbordement de pétrole entre navires dans les eaux territoriales et dans les ports s’effectue sous la responsabilité des autorités nationales. A cet égard, il convient de souligner que l’Union européenne a adopté des normes établissant l’interdiction stricte d’effectuer ce type d’opérations de et vers des pétroliers à simple coque dans les eaux sous la juridiction des Etats membres. Ces normes, contenues dans le règlement (CE) n° 417/2002, sont d’application depuis le mois d’octobre 2003. Elles devront être respectées si de tels transbordements sont autorisés par les autorités britanniques.

En ce qui concerne les opérations de transbordements de pétrole entre navires citernes à double coque, la Commission considère que ces opérations doivent être soumises à des lignes directrices opérationnelles et à une surveillance très stricte de la part des autorités nationales responsables.

Pour ce qui est du transfert d’hydrocarbures entre navires en mer, bien que l’industrie elle-même ait édicté des recommandations en la matière, l’idée d’instaurer un cadre contraignant pour ces opérations fera l’objet de discussions au sein de l’Organisation Maritime Internationale (OMI) mi-juillet 2005. La Commission et plusieurs Etats membres sont pour leur part favorables à l’insertion dans la Convention MARPOL 73/78 de règles relatives à ces transferts.

 

Question no 80 by Luisa Morgantini (H-0486/05)
 Subject: The technical arrangement on EU-Israel customs cooperation
 

Since the technical arrangement on EU-Israel customs cooperation put into effect on 1 February 2005 was not adopted as a legally binding decision taken under the EU-Israel Association Agreement nor endorsed by the Association Council, is Israel under any legally binding contractual obligation to the European Community to continue implementing the arrangement, or is Israel legally entitled to abandon the arrangement at any time?

Since both Israel's exporters and Israel's customs authorities must distinguish between production carried out in occupied territories and production carried out in the territory of the State of Israel in order to implement the technical arrangement correctly, has Israel taken any measure that now legally obligates either its exporters or its customs authorities to apply this distinction?

 
  
 

The arrangement between the EU and the Government of Israel concerning the implementation of protocol 4 to the EU-Israel Association Agreement was adopted as a measure by the UE-Israel Customs Co-operation Committee. Measures taken by the Customs Co-operation Committee are not legally binding for the contracting parties.

In order to ensure the correct implementation of the arrangement, Israel has instructed its exporters and customs authorities to distinguish between production carried out in the territory of the State of Israel and production carried out in locations that were brought under Israeli administration since 1967.

 

Fråga nr 81 från Åsa Westlund (H-0491/05)
 Angående: Konsekvenserna av EU:s jordbrukspolitik på utvecklingen i världens fattigaste länder
 

Anser kommissionen att förändringar i EU:s jordbrukspolitik skulle kunna leda till gynnsamma effekter för utvecklingen i världens fattigaste länder? I så fall, vilka förändringar?

 
  
 

Though the reasons behind the recent Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform are manifold, one of the principle aims behind it was to reduce its trade-distorting impact on third countries. As a result, over the ten years since the process began, our use of trade distorting domestic support and export subsidies has dropped dramatically, well in excess of our Uruguay Round commitments. Among others, this has led to a significant reduction in the EU’s share of world agricultural exports in all major commodities. In addition, our border tariffs have also fallen by 36% while our market is also characterised by a generous and extensive preference schemes to imports from developing countries. 2001’s Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative is just one element of the generalised system of preferences that allows developing countries to export often sensitive and economically important agricultural goods to the EU either duty free or under greatly reduced tariff conditions.

The combination of all these factors has substantially diminished the impact that EU agricultural produce has on world markets and world commodity prices. More importantly, it has contributed to a more level playing field in which developing countries could, were others to do the same, compete more efficiently.

Furthermore, the EU’s position on developing countries has always been clear and comprehensive. It has been a firm supporter of the Doha Development Agenda from the outset, believing very strongly in working towards global trade liberalisation. One of our key concessions in this framework of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiation has been the proposal to phase out its export subsidies as long as all forms of export subsidisation are eliminated. An ending date of the exports subsidisation will be part of the overall agricultural negotiations and can only be successful if all participants in the multilateral negotiation subscribe to a parallel process of elimination.

One of the best examples to demonstrate the positive by-products of CAP reform is the cotton sector. Although the EU production is negligible on the international scene (2% of the world production) and has no significant impact on the world price, the EU has led the way in reforming its domestic policies on cotton. Starting from 2006, 65% of our cotton subsidies will be no trade distorting. Moreover, the EU does not have export subsidies for cotton and provide free access on cotton.

 

Question n° 82 de Erna Hennicot-Schoepges (H-0493/05)
 Objet: Le Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l'Europe
 

Est-ce que la Commission a connaissance du Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l'Europe?

Dans quelle mesure la Commission serait-elle prête à s'investir dans ce projet pour l'étendre aux nouveaux pays membres?

Quels moyens la Commission peut-elle mettre à disposition pour la promotion de cette banque de données élaborée d'abord avec l'apport financier de la Commission, ensuite du gouvernement luxembourgeois?

 
  
 

La Commission a suivi avec intérêt la création et le développement du Centre Virtuel de la connaissance sur l'Europe. Depuis le début, ce projet a été soutenu financièrement par la Commission en raison de son intérêt communautaire. Il contribue notamment à la connaissance de l’histoire de la construction européenne. De plus, le Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur Europe se caractérise par sa grande qualité en matière documentaire, technologique et multimédia.

L’honorable parlementaire s’interroge sur les possibilités d’extension de ce projet aux nouveaux Etats membres. Les seuls moyens dont dispose la Commission pour soutenir des projets tels que le Centre Virtuel de la connaissance sur l’Europe sont ceux des programmes existants dans les domaines de l’éducation et pour la culture. Cependant, quelle que soit la qualité des initiatives présentées, le soutien à la création de contenu multimédia ne figure pas dans les objectifs de ces programmes.

L’honorable parlementaire évoque également les moyens que la Commission pourrait mettre à disposition pour la promotion de cette banque de données élaborée d'abord avec l'apport financier de la Commission puis avec celui du gouvernement Luxembourgeois. Puisqu´il s´agit d´un Centre Virtuel, accessible sur Internet, il serait possible pour la Commission de contribuer à la promotion du Centre Virtuel de la Connaissance par le biais de ses différents serveurs, y compris ceux des représentations de la Commission aux Etats membres. Il serait également envisageable de contribuer à la traduction des textes de présentation du Centre Virtuel de la connaissance sur l'Europe dans les langues officielles des nouveaux pays membres.

 

Pergunta nº 83 do Paulo Casaca (H-0494/05)
 Assunto: Iniciativa de transparência
 

A Comissão Europeia anunciou a publicação de um Livre Verde sobre a transparência nas instituições europeias.

Pode a Comissão esclarecer se esse livro verde vai fazer um exame da aplicação do artigo 42º da Carta dos Direitos Fundamentais da União Europeia pelas instituições europeias, que dá a todos os cidadãos europeus acesso aos documentos das instituições europeias?

 
  
 

On 18 May 2005, the Commission held a first orientation debate on a possible ‘European Transparency Initiative’ and decided to create an inter-service working group in charge of preparing an in-depth analysis of all relevant issues. These activities will also include, to the extent appropriate, the analysis of legislation in the field of ‘access to documents’.

On the basis of the results of the working group the College of Commissioners will, after the summer break, decide on the next steps to be taken, possibly including the launch of a Green Paper.

 

Anfrage Nr. 84 von Bernd Posselt (H-0497/05)
 Betrifft: Humanitäre Situation im Kaukasus
 

Wie schätzt die Kommission die humanitäre Situation in der Kaukasus-Region ein, insbesondere in Tschetschenien und den angrenzenden Gebieten?

 
  
 

The Commission continues to be extremely concerned by the humanitarian situation in Chechnya. The civilian population is the main victim of this longstanding conflict and survives in very dire conditions in a Republic which has been shattered by two wars. Grozny, in particular, remains a city in rubble where very little reconstruction has taken place so far.

A large part of the population in Chechnya, as well as those still displaced in the neighbouring republics of Ingushetia and Dagestan, depends on external humanitarian assistance. However, the main issue at stake, beyond material assistance, remains the protection of civilians, in a context where abductions, disappearances, extra-judicial executions, rape and extortion are common features of everyday life.

The Commission, through European Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), remains the main donor of humanitarian aid to the region, with around € 170 million allocated since the beginning of the second Chechnya conflict in Autumn 1999, including the latest funding decision of € 22, 5 million adopted in April.

However, providing humanitarian assistance to the population in Chechnya continues to be a difficult challenge because of the numerous restrictions on access put forward by the authorities, who want to control the work of humanitarian agencies, and because of insecurity, notably the high risk of kidnapping.

In addition to humanitarian assistance the Commission is preparing a possible contribution to socio-economic recovery in the North Caucasus. This would be part of a policy depending also on progress on the political process, including the holding of free and fair Parliamentary elections later this year. The consultations with Russia on human rights, launched in March, provide a basis for making progress on these issues. In addition the Commission is in the process of discussing the possible modalities for financial assistance with the Russian authorities in order to ensure that the expenditure would provide added value.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 86 του κ. Παναγιώτη Μπεγλίτη (H-0503/05)
 Θέμα: Προστασία του ενάλιου πλούτου και του εισοδήματος των ελλήνων ψαράδων στην ευρύτερη περιοχή της Αλεξανδρούπολης και της Σαμοθράκης
 

Όπως είναι γνωστό, κάθε καλοκαίρι και κατά τους μήνες Ιούνιο, Ιούλιο, Αύγουστο και Σεπτέμβριο διακόπτεται η αλιεία με μηχανότρατα στα διεθνή ύδατα που εκτείνονται πέραν των ελληνικών χωρικών υδάτων, στις περιοχές της Αλεξανδρούπολης και της Σαμοθράκης, για την προστασία του ενάλιου πλούτου. Και ενώ αυτή η απαγόρευση ισχύει για τους έλληνες αλιείς, με βάση τους κοινοτικούς κανονισμούς, δεν ισχύει για τον τουρκικό αλιευτικό στόλο. Το αποτέλεσμα είναι να καταστρέφεται ο ενάλιος πλούτος, αλλά και να βρίσκονται σε μειονεκτική παραγωγική και οικονομική θέση οι έλληνες αλιείς της περιοχής, αφού χάνεται για την ελληνική πλευρά η δυνατότητα "παραγωγικής απόδοσης" κάθε Οκτώβριο, κατά την έναρξη της αλιευτικής περιόδου.

Προτίθεται η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή και πώς να αντιμετωπίσει αυτή την κατάσταση, που δημιουργείται με τις δραστηριότητες του τουρκικού αλιευτικού στόλου, εις βάρος του θαλάσσιου περιβάλλοντος, αλλά και εις βάρος των ελλήνων ψαράδων; Στο πλαίσιο των ενταξιακών διαπραγματεύσεων, μπορεί η Επιτροπή να ζητήσει την επέκταση και την εφαρμογή του κοινοτικού κεντημένου στην Τουρκία;

Ποιά μέτρα μπορεί να λάβει η Επιτροπή για την εφαρμογή κοινών κανόνων αλιείας στη Μεσόγειο, ώστε να αποτραπεί η διακριτική μεταχείριση εις βάρος των ελλήνων ψαράδων; Τί δυνατότητες υποστήριξης του εισοδήματος των ψαράδων, λόγω της τετράμηνης διακοπής της εργασίας τους, έχουν οι αρμόδιες ελληνικές αρχές;

 
  
 

The Commission is aware of the fact that, as in the case of Greece, the implementation of Community legislation to ensure the conservation and the sustainable management of fish stocks may lead to situations where restrictions are imposed on Community fishermen that may not apply to fishermen from outside the Community who are fishing in the vicinity of waters where EC legislation applies. This is an important reason, among others, why the Commission is keen to strengthen co-operation with other Coastal States of the region with regard to fisheries management and the development of sustainable and responsible fishing patterns in the Mediterranean.

For this purpose, the Commission has a policy of strengthening the role of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), in particular with a view to making it a more effective tool for the implementation of the actions defined and accepted during the Ministerial Conference for the sustainable development of fishing in the Mediterranean in Venice from 25 to 26 November 2003.

Already at its last meeting in February 2005 the GFCM adopted, on the basis of Community proposals a number of important measures relating to conservation (e.g. minimum mesh size 40 mm, prohibition of trawling beyond 100 metres depth) and the management of the fishing activities (e.g. through the establishment of a register of vessels of more than 15 metres allowed to fish). Furthermore, the GFCM adopted a recommendation concerning the guidelines for the establishment of a control plan which will make it possible to strengthen the control of fishing activities and to combat effectively illegal fishing.

As the Honourable Member will know, the general principle in enlargement negotiations is that the candidate country in question accepts the Community acquis. The same approach will be followed with respect to Turkey. Negotiations will be based on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) acquis, which the Commission will present in detail to Turkey during the screening process. The CFP acquis will apply to Turkey upon Accession unless transitional arrangements are agreed in the accession negotiations.

Community assistance is available for institution building and administrative preparation, primarily through twinning projects with partners from Member States co-financed by the Community. Administrative and legal progress in Turkey with regard to applying the CFP acquis is discussed at regular intervals in the sub-committee for agriculture and fisheries under the EU-Turkey Association Agreement.

Under Article 16 of Council Regulation (EC) 2371/2002 Member States may grant compensation to fishers and owners of vessels for the temporary cessation of activities in the following circumstances:

In the event of unforeseeable circumstances, particularly those caused by biological factors,

Where a fisheries agreement is not renewed, or where it is suspended for the Community fleets dependent on the agreement,

Where a recovery or management plan is adopted by the Council or where emergency measures are decided by the Commission or by one or more Member States.

However, recurrent seasonal suspension of fishing activity, as in the situation shown by the Honourable Member, shall not be eligible for compensation under Article 16 of Council Regulation (EC) 2371/2002.

 

Pergunta nº 87 do Edite Estrela (H-0505/05)
 Assunto: Substâncias cancerígenas
 

Considerando que o chumbo é uma substância química que provoca o cancro;

Tendo em conta que foi detectada a presença de chumbo no batom para os lábios, comercializado pelas mais conhecidas marcas da indústria de cosméticos;

Pergunto à Comissão se pensa averiguar se esta anómala situação se mantém e, em caso afirmativo, que medidas vai tomar para defender os direitos e a saúde dos consumidores.

 
  
 

The Community legislation prohibits the use of lead in cosmetic products. According to this legislation the presence of traces of the substances can only be allowed provided that such presence is technically unavoidable in good manufacturing practice and the product does not cause damage to human health.

The Cosmetics Directive provides that Member States shall take all necessary measures to ensure that only cosmetic products which conform to this Directive can be put on the market. Therefore it is of the competence of Member States to withdraw from the market any product which does not comply with this Directive.

If the Honourable Member has more information on the product concerned, this information should be passed to the Commission who will contact the competent control authority of the country where the product was found in order that it can take the necessary actions.

 

Question no 88 by Brian Crowley (H-0507/05)
 Subject: Tax harmonisation
 

The Commission is aware that many Member States consider that taxation policy is the exclusive competence and responsibility of national governments.

Furthermore the Commission will be aware of a Franco-German-sponsored approach for more harmonisation of company taxation, to be achieved within three years.

In light of the above can the Commission outline its position on tax harmonisation in relation to Corporate taxation and VAT indirect taxation?

 
  
 

The Commission formally explained its approach to tax coordination and tax harmonisation in different areas of taxation in its Communication on "Tax policy in the European Union - Priorities for the years ahead" of 23 May 2001(1) . The Honourable Member is referred to this document. While Member States have the main responsibility on taxation matters they have to respect the EC Treaty when exercising their competence, notably the non-discrimination principle, the fundamental freedoms and the State Aid rules.

The Commission strategy for providing companies with a consolidated corporate tax base for their EU-wide activities is not aimed at full harmonisation and in particular does not infringe Member States' right to set tax rates. The Commission's policy is laid down in two Communications: "Towards an Internal Market without tax obstacles - A strategy for providing companies with a consolidated corporate tax base for their EU-wide activities"(2) and "An Internal Market without company tax obstacles – achievements, ongoing initiatives and remaining challenges"(3) .

In the field of VAT and other indirect taxes, to a certain extent a higher degree of harmonisation is necessary in order to ensure that the internal market without internal borders can function without too high distortions of competition. However, even here no full harmonisation of rules is sought and tax rates are determined at national level, subject to a commonly agreed Community-wide minimum standard rate (15%) and an agreed list of goods of services to which Member States are allowed to apply optional reduced rates. The Commission's policy is laid down in two Communications: "A Strategy to improve the operation of the VAT System within the context of the Internal Market"(4) and "Review and update of VAT strategy priorities"(5) .

 
 

(1) COM (2001)260
(2) COM (2001)582
(3) COM (2003)726
(4) COM (2000)348
(5) COM (2003)614

 

Question no 89 by Eoin Ryan (H-0509/05)
 Subject: Safe airlines
 

Does the Commission agree on the necessity to ensure that information is readily available between countries on the airworthiness of airlines so that the safety of passengers can be further guaranteed?

The United Kingdom is the only European country that has a published list of five banned airlines which do not comply with international safety standards. The five listed airlines in question are available on the UK Department of Transport website.

Does the Commission have any strategy in place to implement a similar EU blacklist in an effort to improve coordination of aviation safety standards?

 
  
 

The Commission agrees on the necessity to ensure the availability of data on the safety of airlines to the relevant national authorities of the Member States, on the one hand, to enable them to participate in the improvement of air safety and, on the other hand, to inform the passengers of potentially dangerous situations.

Directive 2004/36(1) on the safety of third-country aircraft provides for the collection and exchange of information on aircraft and airlines which do not comply with international safety standards which may result in the grounding of aircraft or decisions to ban from airports or impose conditions on the operation of operators.

On 16 February 2005, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on the information of air transport passengers(2) which provides for the publication of a list of air carriers which are banned from the airspaces of the Member States or which are subject to traffic rights restrictions for safety reasons.

In addition, the Commission organised on 26 May 2005 a meeting of the Committee established by Regulation (EC) 3922/1991 which agreed, amongst others, on the setting up of a Community early warning system to inform the Commission and all the Member States if it appears likely that a decision to suspend traffic rights of an airline may soon need to be taken in view of a Community wide decision. There was also agreement on the need to establish common criteria on the basis of which a list of unsafe airline may be drawn up.

 
 

(1) Directive 2004/36 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 204 on the safety of third-country aircraft using Community airports, O.J. L.143 of 30.4.2004
(2) Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the information of air transport passengers on the identity of the operating carrier and on communication of safety information by Member States, COM(2005) 48 final of 16.2.2005, COD 08/2005

 

Question no 90 by Liam Aylward (H-0511/05)
 Subject: Climate change and the USA
 

The Commission will be aware of the resignation and departure of the chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, two days after it was revealed that he had made changes in several federal environmental reports in 2002 and 2003. The changes tended to emphasise the uncertainty of evidence that greenhouse-gas emissions are causing global temperatures to rise.

The adviser in question, who has no background in science, had previously headed the oil industry lobby on climate change in the USA.

Does the Commission agree that decisions on serious environmental problems must be based on sure and accurate science? And does the Commission agree that this opportunity must be used to highlight the contradictions in the United States approach to the Kyoto agreement and to climate change in general?

 
  
 

The Commission is of the opinion that environmental policy making should be based on robust scientific knowledge. In the field of climate change this is one of the reasons that the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) was set up. The IPCC assesses on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

At the EU-US summit on 20 June, the President of the Commission stated that differences between the EU and the United States on the Kyoto Protocol should not prevent both sides from looking forward and that, together, the international community needs to intensify its efforts to reach agreement on a multilateral climate change regime for the period after 2012.

The Commission communication “Winning the Battle against Global Climate Change” of 9 February 2005 sets out the Commission’s views on the key elements of such regime. The Communication also shows that the approach advocated by the United States of stimulating research into new technologies is not sufficient by itself. Additional incentive structures, like the EU emissions trading scheme, are required to encourage the deployment of such technologies.

 

Question no 91 by Seán Ó Neachtain (H-0513/05)
 Subject: EU-US agreement on the 'Open Skies'
 

Can the Commission give an update on the current round of negotiations taking place on a US-EU ‘Open Skies’ agreement?

 
  
 

Since June 2004, the Commission has been working to resume the formal negotiations as soon as possible and, to that end, Vice-President Barrot visited Washington on 21-22 March 2005 to meet with United States (US) Transportation Secretary Mineta and others in the US Administration and industry. Vice-President Barrot and Secretary Mineta issued a Joint Statement in which they agreed that the negotiators would “review further the possible elements of a US-EU air services agreement with the goal of establishing a solid basis on which formal negotiations can be resumed”.

The Commission has been actively working with the United States through a number of technical discussions to explore the scope for making progress on issues of importance to each side. Discussion has focused in particular on the three areas of regulatory co-operation identified in the Presidency’s conclusions of the 21 April Transport Council: aviation security, competition and government subsidies. Issues of market access and ownership and control have also been discussed. Good progress has been made towards establishing the parameters in order to allow the resumption of negotiations.

In the light of these technical discussions, the Commission reported to the Transport Council on 27/28 June 2005 and there was an exchange of views between the Ministers. In the meantime, it was agreed at the EU-US Summit on 20 June 2005 that the two sides should continue cooperation on aviation issues, including safety, security and liberalization, including achievement of a comprehensive first-step EU-US air services agreement as soon as possible. It was recognised that such an agreement would unlock substantial benefits by providing valuable new business opportunities, to the benefit of EU and US airlines, airports, tourism, business links, cargo transport and consumers.

 

Otázka č. 92 od Peter Baco (H-0514/05)
 Vec: Dlhodobá vízia v poľnohospodárstve a rozvoji vidieka
 

Pri rokovaniach o finančných perspektívach 2007-2013 sa obzvlášť prejavila potreba prepájať strednodobé rozhodnutia na dlhodobú víziu rozvoja poľnohospodárstva a vidieka v Európskej únii.

Aké sú, podľa Komisie, ciele a cesty k týmto cieľom, čo považujete za najväčšie riziká a čomu by sme sa mali určite vyhnúť v agrárnej a vidieckej oblasti v Európskej únii v horizonte rokov 2030, respektívne 2050?

 
  
 

With the CAP reform process, which began in 1992 and reached its accomplishment in 2003, the Commission has turned EU agriculture and rural areas towards market orientation and competitiveness, the Commission has integrated environmental and animal welfare concerns of the European civil society, it has integrated food safety and quality requirements, it has addressed the social balance while continuing to ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community and has widened the scope by strengthening rural development.

In the Commission’s view competitiveness, the integration of its citizens’ concerns and social balance will remain key objectives for the European agricultural and rural development model for the future which is based on economic, ecologic and social sustainability.

 

Spørgsmål nr. 93 af Karin Riis-Jørgensen (H-0515/05)
 Om: Konkurrenceregler for tramp-skibsfart
 

I Kommissionens hvidbog om revision af forordning (EØF) nr. 4056/86(1) om anvendelse af EU's konkurrenceregler inden for søtransport (KOM(2004)0675 endel.) fremgår det (på side 10) at "the Commission will provide the tramp industry with some guidance on the implementation on the implementation of competition rules to this sector". En sådan vejledning synes berettiget, da denne del af erhvervslivet ikke kan finde vejledning i retspraksis eftersom trampfart har været undtaget fra både forordning (EØF) nr. 4056/86 og de generelle EU-gennemførelsesbestemmelser.

Kan Kommissionen bekræfte, at denne vejledning vil foreligge før eller senest samtidig med at trampfartens undtagelse fra forordning (EF) nr.1/2003(2) ophæves.

Endvidere bedes Kommission oplyse, hvornår undtagelsen forventes ophævet, og endelig hvilken form for vejledning der i stedet vil blive fremlagt?

 
  
 

In its White Paper on the review of Regulation 4056/86, applying the EC competition rules to maritime transport, the Commission has stated that it envisages to propose lifting the current exclusion of tramp vessel services (that is unscheduled maritime services) from the scope of the competition enforcement rules.

The Commission has envisaged a legislative proposal for the fourth quarter of 2005.

The envisaged proposal will not involve a substantive change for the industry.The substantive competition rules, set out in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty, already apply to tramp services. The envisaged legislative proposal will only make tramp services subject to the competition enforcement rules set out in Regulation 1/2003. The Commission has envisaged a legislative proposal for the fourth quarter of 2005.

The Commission will, however, only be able to issue guidance once it has been given the appropriate enforcement tools to obtain the relevant information on the functioning of the tramp sector.

 
 

(1) EFT L 378 af 31.12.1986, s. 4.
(2) EFT L 1 af 4.1.2003, s.4.

 

Pregunta nº 94 formulada por Ignasi Guardans Cambó (H-0517/05):
 Asunto: Personas desaparecidas
 

La Unión Europea contempla desde hace varios años la posibilidad de abordar la cuestión de las personas desaparecidas, ya que el aumento de los flujos de circulación de personas en el interior de la Unión ha hecho necesario un enfoque conjunto por parte de los Estados miembros.

La Comisión ya debería haber llevado a cabo alguna acción concreta en este terreno, como la presentación del informe de la Comisión dirigido al Consejo sobre los niños desaparecidos o explotados sexualmente, mencionado en el punto 3.3 del anexo al Programa de La Haya: diez prioridades para los próximos cinco años: una asociación para la renovación europea en el ámbito de la libertad, la seguridad y la justicia.

¿Cuándo presentará la Comisión su Informe al Consejo sobre los resultados de un estudio realizado a raíz de la Resolución del Consejo de 2001 relativa a la aportación de la sociedad civil en la búsqueda de niños desaparecidos o explotados sexualmente?

¿Tiene previsto la Comisión ampliar esta investigación sobre niños a personas desaparecidas de todas las edades?

 
  
 

As indicated in the Council and Commission Action Plan implementing the Hague Programme on strengthening freedom, security and justice in the European Union the Report on the results of a study further to the Council resolution of 2001 on the contribution of civil society in finding missing or sexually exploited children will be issued in 2005.

A draft report has already been prepared at working level and examined at the level of the competent Member of the Commission. It is foreseen that the Commission should use the opportunity of the report to communicate to the Parliament and to the Council what kind of action could be taken in order to support and to strengthen the contribution of the civil society in the area concerned. The results of the ongoing reflections will be presented as soon as possible after the summer break. Furthermore, the enlargement of the Union in May 2004 had to be taken into account. Funding for a follow-up-project was granted in 2004 under the AGIS programme in order to extend the study to the 10 new Member States.(1)

The Commission welcomes any appropriate contribution of civil society in finding or supporting missing or sexually exploited persons of all ages. With regard to further studies the input of relevant civil society organisations seems to be indispensable. Initiatives for studies of civil society organisations could be looked at favourably, for instance with regard to children, young people and women in the context of the Daphne II Programme.

As the Commission pointed out in its answer to written question E-1498/05 by Mr Richard Corbett , particular attention must be paid to the fact that the possibility of searching for missing people and children in particular already exists under the Schengen Information System (SIS) and will be maintained with the development of the second generation of the SIS. The Commission will also launch a feasibility study on the possibility of creating a new category of alerts on minors which should be banned to leave the Schengen Area, the objective being to prevent an abduction of the minor that would end in a third country.

 
 

(1) Study on the actual extent of the phenomenon of missing and sexually exploited children in the 10 acceding countries to the EU, JHA/2004/AGIS/006

 

Question no 95 by Proinsias De Rossa (H-0521/05)
 Subject: Transposition of the 2002 Information and Consultation Directive
 

Directive 2002/14/EC(1) establishing a general framework for the information and consultation of workers in the European Community should have been transposed by all Member States by 23 March 2005. Ireland has not yet transposed this Directive.

Could the Commission outline which other Member States, if any, have yet to notify it of the transposition of this Directive and outline what action it has taken or is planning to take to ensure this Directive is transposed and implemented in full by all Member States?

 
  
 

Ainsi que le mentionne justement l'honorable parlementaire, la directive 2002/14/CE(2) du Parlement et du Conseil du 11 mars 2002 établissant un cadre général relatif à l’information et la consultation des travailleurs dans la Communauté européenne comporte une échéance de transposition au 23 mars 2005.

Au 20 juin 2005, la Commission a enregistré 14 notifications de transposition de la directive 2002/14/CE émanant des Etats membres suivants : Belgique, République Tchèque, Allemagne, France, Lettonie, Lituanie, Hongrie, Pays-Bas, Autriche, Portugal, Slovénie, République Slovaque, Finlande et Royaume-Uni.

L'absence de notification de mesures nationales d'exécution constitue un manquement de l'Etat membre entraînant l'ouverture d'une procédure d'infraction par la Commission, qui débute par une phase précontentieuse de mise en demeure de l'Etat membre concerné.

 
 

(1) OJ L 80, 23.3.2002, p. 29.
(2) JO L 80 du 23.3.2002

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 96 του κ. Γεωργίου Τούσσα (H-0523/05)
 Θέμα: Παραβίαση των δικαιωμάτων εργαζομένων στο Carrefour στη Θεσσαλονίκη
 

Ο επιχειρηματικός όμιλος πολυκαταστημάτων "Carrefour" στη Θεσσαλονίκη υποχρεώνει τους εργαζομένους να δουλεύουν διακεκομμένα το ημερήσιο ωράριό τους, παραμένοντας στο χώρο του καταστήματος και κατά τον χρόνο της αναμονής. Εφαρμόζοντας, δηλαδή, τον ανενεργό χρόνο εφημερίας, η επιχείρηση επιβάλλει στους εργαζόμενους να μένουν στο χώρο εργασίας, στη διάθεση του εργοδότη ανά πάσα στιγμή, έτοιμοι να αναλάβουν υπηρεσία, χωρίς βέβαια αυτός ο χρόνος να υπολογίζεται ως εργάσιμος χρόνος.

Προτίθεται η Επιτροπή να ανακαλέσει την πρόταση οδηγίας COM(2005)0246 τελικό για την οργάνωση του χρόνου εργασίας, με την οποία μεταξύ των άλλων επεκτείνονται οι ελαστικές μορφές απασχόλησης και να λάβει μέτρα για τη διασφάλιση σταθερής εργασίας με 7ωρο 5ήμερο 35ωρο, ελεύθερο χρόνο και φυσιολογική οικογενειακή ζωή για τους εργαζόμενους;

 
  
 

L'honorable parlementaire décrit la situation de travailleurs employés par la société Carrefour, qui doivent être de garde sur leur lieu de travail sans que ce temps de garde soit considéré comme du temps de travail.

La directive 2003/88/CE(1) définit, à son article 2, point 1), le "temps de travail" comme "toute période durant laquelle le travailleur est au travail, à la disposition de l'employeur et dans l'exercice de son activité ou de ses fonctions, conformément aux législations et/ou pratiques nationales".

Pour être qualifiée comme du temps de travail, au sens de la directive, toute période doit satisfaire aux trois éléments de la définition ci-dessus.

Dans son arrêt dans l'affaire SIMAP(2), la Cour de justice a dit pour droit que "l'obligation (...) d'être présents et disponibles sur les lieux de travail en vue de la prestation de leurs services professionnels doit être considérée comme relevant de l'exercice de leurs fonctions" (point 48) et en a conclu que "le temps de garde qu'effectuent les médecins (...) selon le régime de la présence physique dans l'établissement de santé, doit être considéré dans sa totalité comme du temps de travail".

Ainsi, selon la directive 2003/88/CE, telle qu'interprétée par la Cour de justice, le temps de garde tel que décrit dans la question posée par l'honorable parlementaire doit être considéré entièrement comme du temps de travail. Il appartient aux autorités nationales compétentes d'assurer le respect du droit communautaire au niveau national.

Si la proposition modifiée du 31 mai 2005(3) est adoptée par le Parlement et le Conseil, les périodes actives du temps de garde devraient être considérées entièrement comme du temps de travail. Les périodes inactives du temps de garde ne seraient pas considérées comme du temps de travail, mais ne pourraient pas davantage être prises en compte pour le calcul des repos journalier et hebdomadaire.

La Commission considère que cette proposition modifiée représente un bon équilibre entre la nécessité de protéger la santé et la sécurité des travailleurs et le besoin d'offrir aux Etats membres et aux entreprises de l'Union européenne la flexibilité nécessaire en matière d'aménagement du temps de travail.

 
 

(1) Directive 2003/88/CE du Parlement et du Conseil du 4 novembre 2003 concernant certains aspects de l'aménagement du temps de travail, JO L 299, du 18.11.2003
(2) Arrêt de la Cour du 3 octobre 2000 dans l'affaire C-303/98, Sindicato de Médicos de Asistencia Pública (SIMAP) contre Consejería de Sanidad y Consumo de la Generalidad Valenciana, Recueil de jurisprudence 2000, p. I-07963
(3) Proposition modifiée de directive du Parlement et du Conseil modifiant la directive 2003/88/CE concernant certains aspects de l'aménagement du temps de travail, document COM (2005) 246 final

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 97 του κ. Παναγιώτη Δημητρίου (H-0524/05)
 Θέμα: Κανονισμός (ΕΚ) αριθ. 60/2004 για τη θέσπιση μεταβατικών μέτρων στον τομέα της ζάχαρης λόγω της προσχώρησης των νέων κρατών μελών
 

Στις 14 Ιανουαρίου 2004 η Επιτροπή θέσπισε τον κανονισμό (ΕΚ) αριθ. 60/2004(1) για τη μεταβατική ρύθμιση της παραγωγής και εμπορίας στην αγορά της ζάχαρης στις υπό ένταξη τότε χώρες. Ο κανονισμός αυτός επέβαλε στις χώρες αυτές, πριν ακόμη γίνουν μέλη της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, να απαλλαγούν μέχρι τέλος Απριλίου 2005 από τις ποσότητες ζάχαρης που ήσαν πλεονάζουσες σε σχέση με τον μέσο όρο κατανάλωσης των τελευταίων τεσσάρων ετών.

Δεδομένου ότι οι παραγγελίες και η αγορά ζάχαρης από τους παραγωγούς έγινε, σύμφωνα με την ισχύουσα εμπορική πρακτική στον τομέα εμπορίας της ζάχαρης το φθινόπωρο του έτους 2003, δηλαδή πριν τη θέσπιση του κανονισμού, και δεδομένου ότι ο κανονισμός θεσπίστηκε πριν την ένταξη των νέων κρατών μελών στην Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση, πώς νομιμοποιείται πολιτικά η Επιτροπή να επιβάλει πρόστιμα στα νέα κράτη μέλη και κατ' επέκταση στους εισαγωγείς ζάχαρης για πλεονάζοντα αποθέματα ζάχαρης; Πώς σκοπεύει η Επιτροπή να χειριστεί περαιτέρω το ζήτημα που δημιουργεί σε κάποια νέα κράτη μέλη, μεταξύ των οποίων και η Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία, μεγάλη αναταραχή και πολλά πολιτικά και νομικά προβλήματα;

 
  
 

On the basis of the Act of Accession (annex 4, chapter 4 paragraph 2) and according to the provisions of Commission Regulation (EC) No 60/2004(2), the surplus sugar quantities for the new Member States were determined by Commission Regulation (EC) No 832/2005(3). The Act of Accession was signed in April 2003, i.e. 9 months before the publication of Regulation 60/2004. The risks of speculative stock-piling were identified and discussed already during the accession talks with the then candidate countries, especially with those where there was no sugar production and low import protection was applied. Consequently the Commission had the necessary legal and political basis to take this decision.

In the first place the determined quantities should be eliminated from the Community market according to Article 6(2) of Regulation 60/2004 by 30 November 2005. The charges foreseen are only payable if elimination of the determined surplus does not take place appropriately by the set deadline. Attention has to be drawn to the fact that the potential financial burden can be significantly reduced where speculative operators are traced using the identification system that was requested by Article 6(3) of Regulation 60/2004. However, should there remain any quantity not eliminated and for which no operator can be identified, the charges payable by the NMS can be spread over four years (2006-2009).

 
 

(1) ΕΕ L 9 της 15.1.2004, σελ. 8.
(2) Commission Regulation (EC) No 60/2004 of 14 January 2004 laying down transitional measures in the sugar sector by reason of the accession of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia, OJL 9, 15.1.2004.
(3) Commission Regulation (EC) No 832/2005 of 31 May 2005 on the determination of surplus quantities of sugar, isoglucose and fructose for the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia, OJL 138, 1.6.2005.

 

Fråga nr 98 från Anna Ibrisagic (H-0525/05)
 Angående: Bosniens fredsavtal
 

Vid flertal tillfällen har det nämnts att Bosnien och dess grannländer, innan medlemskapsförhandlingar med EU startar, borde anta ett nytt fredsfördrag vilket, i praktiken, skulle ersätta Daytonavtalet. Vad är kommissionens tolkning av ovanstående?

 
  
 

There is a number of demanding requirements that Bosnia and Herzegovina and its neighbours will need to fulfil before accession negotiations with the EU can be considered. Consolidation of stability and democracy, and the development of good neighbourhood relations, are certainly pre-conditions to envisage such negotiations. But there is no requirement to conclude a regional peace agreement.

The 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement put an end to a three-year long, dreadful civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The objective of this agreement was to stop the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to provide the country with the basic elements for its normalisation, including a Constitution. In this respect Dayton has been successful. Nonetheless, it is widely accepted that the Dayton Peace Agreement and the current constitutional arrangements of Bosnia and Herzegovina will need to be progressively adapted in order to take into account the country’s normalisation and to be able to respond to EU criteria.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 99 της κ. Μαρίας Παναγιωτοπούλου-Κασσιώτου (H-0527/05)
 Θέμα: Διατήρηση της γλωσσικής και πολιτιστικής ταυτότητας των παιδιών ευρωπαίων πολιτών εγκατεστημένων σε κράτος μέλος διαφορετικό από εκείνο της καταγωγής τους
 

Οι μακράς διάρκειας μετεγκαταστάσεις ευρωπαίων πολιτών σε κράτος μέλος διαφορετικό από εκείνο της καταγωγής τους, στα πλαίσια των βασικών ελευθεριών μετακίνησης και εγκατάστασης, όπως προβλέπονται από τις Συνθήκες, είναι ένα φαινόμενο που εντείνεται με την ανακατανομή και αξιοποίηση του ευρωπαϊκού ανθρώπινου δυναμικού σε ποιοτικές θέσεις εργασίας που συντελούν στην επίτευξη των στόχων της Στρατηγικής της Λισσαβόνας.

Ποια μέτρα προτίθεται να λάβει η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή ώστε τα τέκνα των μετακινουμένων εργαζομένων να διατηρήσουν τη γλωσσική και πολιτιστική τους ταυτότητα στο κράτος μέλος υποδοχής και να μην χάσει η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση την πολυμορφία της;

Πώς προτίθεται η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή να αναδιαμορφώσει σε σχέση με τα σημερινά δεδομένα και με προοπτική το 2010 την οδηγία 77/486/ΕΟΚ(1) του Συμβουλίου (25.7.1977);

Ποια μέσα προτείνει η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή να χρησιμοποιηθούν και ποιοι φορείς είναι δυνατόν να υλοποιήσουν τη βασική ανάγκη μιας σημαντικής μερίδας της ευρωπαϊκής νεολαίας;

 
  
 

Tout comme l’honorable parlementaire, la Commission européenne est très attachée à la sauvegarde de la diversité culturelle et linguistique. Cependant, pour sauvegarder cette diversité culturelle et linguistique, la Commission se doit d’agir dans les limites des prérogatives qui lui sont conférés par les traités. Dans ce cadre, la Commission a pris un certain nombre d’initiatives.

La Commission a adopté en juillet 2003 un Plan d’action « Promouvoir l’apprentissage des langues et la diversité linguistique – un plan d’action 2004-2006 » où elle se propose de développer au niveau européen 45 mesures notamment en vue de créer un environnement plus favorable aux langues.

Dans son Plan d’action, la Commission souligne que la promotion de la diversité linguistique requiert d’encourager activement l’enseignement et l’apprentissage d’un éventail de langues aussi large que possible dans les écoles, universités et centres d’éducation pour adultes, y compris les langues des migrants. La Commission y soutient également la méthode CLIL/EMILE consistant en l’apprentissage d’une matière dans une langue étrangère.

La possibilité d’introduire cette méthode dans les systèmes d’éducation des Etats membres a été débattue récemment lors d’une conférence sur l’enseignement plurilingue organisée par la Commission et la présidence luxembourgeoise du Conseil. Les avantages de ce système notamment en vue d’une plus grande cohésion sociale ont été soulignées dans la position de la Présidence à ce sujet, adoptée lors de la réunion du Conseil du 24-mai 2005 (EDUC 69 – 8392/05).

The working group on languages established in the framework of the "Education and training 2010" programme has recommended, among other things, that "The provision for teaching regional, minority, migrant and neighbouring languages should be part of mainstream education and training policy".

Community action in this field is limited to encouraging cooperation between Member States, supporting and supplementing their action, "while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity", as stated in Article 149 of the Treaty.

L’honorable parlementaire évoque la directive 77/486/CEE du Conseil du 25 juillet 1977 visant à la scolarisation des enfants des travailleurs migrants(2). Cette directive a prévu dans son article 3, que les Etats membres prendront, conformément à leurs situations nationales et à leurs systèmes juridiques et en coopération avec les pays d’origine, les mesures appropriées pour la promotion de l’enseignement de la langue maternelle en faveur des enfants à charge des travailleurs migrants. Cette directive 77/486/CEE est actuellement en cours d’évaluation par la Commission afin, d’une part, de définir aussi précisément que possible les obligations des Etats membres et, d’autre part, de pouvoir soumettre, le cas échéant, des propositions appropriées au Conseil et au Parlement.

Dans le cadre des programmes de coopération de l’Union européenne, des projets sont co-financés par la Commission en vue de promouvoir la diversité linguistique et le dialogue interculturel. C’est notamment le cas du programme Culture 2000 qui encourage le dialogue interculturel et les échanges entre cultures européennes et non européennes. Cette dimension est d’ailleurs renforcée dans la proposition de la Commission sur le programme Culture 2007.

Dans le cadre du futur programme intégré « Apprentissage tout au long de la vie » pour la période 2007-2013 la Commission propose le financement de réseaux européens dans le domaine de l’apprentissage des langues et de la diversité linguistique. Cette action permettrait, par exemple, de soutenir des projets d’écoles où l’apprentissage du type CLIL/EMILE pourrait être développé.

 
 

(1) ΕΕ L 199, της 6.8.1977, σελ. 32.
(2) JO L 199, 6.8.1977

 

Question no 100 by Linda McAvan (H-0531/05)
 Subject: Phthalates in newborn babies
 

Is the Commission aware of the new Harvard study 'Use of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate containing medical products and urinary levels of mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate in neonatal intensive care unit infants', which suggested that newborn babies in intensive care units had high levels of DEHP in their urine?

Does the Commission believe that the findings of this study have implications for the future of EU policy on phthalate use?

 
  
 

The Commission follows closely any new developments related to safety issues concerning the use of phthalates in medical devices and, in particular, exposure of high-risk patient groups such as new-born babies. The Commission was therefore aware of the recent study mentioned by the Honourable Member and published by the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Science on 8 June 2005.

Already in 2002, the Scientific Committee on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices was consulted on the potential toxicity of medical devices containing DEHP plasticized PVC for neonates and adopted an opinion according to which, and in view of the data available at that time, no specific recommendation could be made to limit the use of DEHP in any particular patient group.

The Commission is deeply committed to ensuring that high risk patient groups, and in particular infants in intensive care units, receive proper care and treatment delivered by safe medical devices. For this reason, the Commission convened a meeting of the Expert Group on DEHP-PVC medical devices.

The opinion of the newly established Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks will be sought to evaluate the new data. The June 2005 Harvard study will be one of the documents that will be part of the Committee’s review.

Subsequently, the Expert Group, taking into account the opinion of the Scientific Committee and any new technical developments, will propose, as necessary, further actions on the use of DEHP-PVC in medical devices and possible alternatives.

The future of the EU policy on phthalate use in medical devices will be reconsidered, as appropriate, based on the output of this consultation.

 

Vraag nr. 101 van Johan Van Hecke (H-0532/05)
 Betreft: Uitvoering van de richtlijn inzake afgedankte elektrische en elektronische apparatuur (AEEA)
 

De Richtlijn van het EP en de Raad betreffende afgedankte elektrische en elektronische apparatuur (AEEA), waarvan het aanvankelijk Commissievoorstel (COM(2000)0347 def.) dateert van 2000 en de finale tekst door het Bemiddelingscomité (PE-CONS 3663/2002) op 11 oktober 2002 na moeizame onderhandelingen tot stand kwam, diende door de Europese lidstaten in nationale wetgeving te worden omgezet tegen uiterlijk 1 augustus 2004.

Veel bedrijven en instellingen klagen over het feit dat de richtlijn door de lidstaten telkens verschillend is omgezet zodat de wetgeving in de EU thans totaal niet eenvormig is maar integendeel zeer verscheiden, wat rechtsonzekerheid creëert en moeilijkheden oplevert aan bedrijven om zich in elke lidstaat te schikken naar telkens andere wetgeving.

Is de Commissie op de hoogte van deze problemen? Is zij zinnens hiertegen maatregelen te nemen?

 
  
 

The Commission is aware that the Directive is highly complex and that it affects many enterprises, in particular those that have to comply with differing legislative requirements in various Member States, not least because the Directive is based on Article 175 of the Treaty.

In terms of the legal position on WEEE Directive, the Commission is currently assessing whether the measures notified by the Member States correctly transpose the obligations of the Directive. As the guardian of the Treaty, the Commission does not hesitate to take all necessary measures, including infringement procedures under Article 226 of the Treaty, in order to ensure the observance of Community law.

The Commission has established a structured dialogue and an exchange of views and experience with the Member States in the Directive’s Technical Adaptation Committee as well as with industry stakeholders in numerous bilateral meetings and in addition in the high-level discussion forum that was set up by Directorate-General Environment at the beginning of 2005. The Commission is taking a leading role in harmonising its implementation as far as possible. To this end, a guidance document on the WEEE Directive is available at the Directorate General Environment website: .

However, to the extent that the Directive itself allows for a non-uniform implementation in different Member States, this has to be respected.

No further legislative measures are foreseen so far.

 

Vraag nr. 102 van Ivo Belet (H-0536/05)
 Betreft: Tegemoetkoming kinderopvang voor grensarbeiders
 

De Nederlandse Wet Kinderopvang stelt in artikel, 6 lid 3 (WKO) de voorwaarde dat beide ouders in Nederland moeten werken om in aanmerking te komen voor een tegemoetkoming in de kosten voor kinderopvang. Dat betekent dat een groot aantal grensarbeidersgezinnen, wonend in Duitsland of België - waarvan de ene ouder in Nederlandse loondienst werkt en de andere ouder in België of Duitsland werkt - géén aanspraak kunnen maken op deze vergoeding. De vergoeding wordt per kind berekend en is afhankelijk van het gezinsinkomen.

Zijn de vergoedingen op grond van de Nederlandse Wet Kinderopvang een zgn. sociaal voordeel (art 7 van verordening (EEG) nr. 1612/68

(1)) en/of een gezinsbijslag (artikel 1, lid u, i resp. ii van verordening (EEG) nr. 1408/71(2))?

Mag Nederland deze tegemoetkoming onthouden aan grensarbeidersgezinnen waarvan beide ouders in loondienst werken doch slechts één van beide ouders als grensarbeider in Nederlandse loondienst werkt?

In het geval de vergoeding overeenkomstig de Nederlandse Wet Kinderopvang onder de materiële werkingssfeer van verordening (EEG) nr. 1408/71 valt, geldt dan de coördinatiesystematiek zoals voorgeschreven in hoofdstuk 7 van verordening (EEG) nr. 1408/71?

Indien er sprake is van een zgn. sociaal voordeel (art 7, lid 2 van verordening (EEG) nr. 1612/68), op welke wijze zal dan de hoogte van de vergoeding vastgesteld moeten worden?

 
  
 

L'honorable parlementaire attire l'attention de la Commission sur la loi néerlandaise relative à la garde des enfants qui soumet le droit à une aide financière à la condition que les deux parents travaillent aux Pays-Bas. Il résulte de cette condition que les travailleurs frontaliers dont le partenaire travaille en Belgique, ne peuvent bénéficient de cette aide financière.

Sur la base des informations transmises par l'honorable parlementaire sur la législation néerlandaise en cause, la Commission est d'avis qu'il s'agit d'une prestation qui d'une part répond aux critères définis par la jurisprudence de la Cour de justice(3), pour être qualifiée de prestation familiale au sens de l'article 4, paragraphe, h) du règlement 1408/71, et d'autre part peut être qualifiée d'avantage social dans le sens de l'article 7, par.2 du règlement 1612/68.

Pour être en mesure d'examiner tous les aspects juridiques de la question posée par l'honorable parlementaire, la Commission va prendre contact avec les autorités néerlandaises en vue d'obtenir plus de détails sur cette législation et d'examiner l'impact du droit communautaire sur la prestation en cause. La Commission ne manquera pas de communiquer à l'honorable parlementaire le résultat de son examen.

 
 

(1) PB L 257 van 19.10.1968, blz. 2.
(2) PB L 149 van 5.7.1971, blz. 2.
(3) Voir arrêt de la Cour du 10 octobre 1996, C-245/94 et C-312/94, Hoever et Zachow

 

Pregunta nº 103 formulada por María Isabel Salinas García (H-0537/05):
 Asunto: Impulso de los sistemas de desalación en la UE
 

España está impulsando el Programa AGUA con una serie de medidas para el abastecimiento de este recurso en un país gravemente afectado por la sequía. AGUA, que cumple las disposiciones comunitarias sobre la materia, se está demostrando altamente eficaz para garantizar el suministro y para respetar la exigencia de los caudales mínimos necesarios para el mantenimiento de los ecosistemas de las diferentes cuencas. El Programa desestima así otras técnicas o grandes obras de conducción hidráulica que podrían haber perjudicado el entorno y la biodiversidad española de manera irreversible. Por otro lado, las nuevas tecnologías disponibles en desalación permiten que el proceso de osmosis inversa se pueda realizar con un alto grado de eficiencia energética y una gestión de las salmueras residuales altamente sostenible.

Muchos países mediterráneos de la UE ya utilizan los sistemas de desalación, aunque no cuentan con las mejores técnicas disponibles que sí se emplean ya en España. ¿Piensa la Comisión impulsar una recomendación para que los países UE con posibilidades de obtener agua por la vía de la desalación inviertan en implantación y modernización de este tipo de sistemas? ¿Con qué fondos puede incentivar la UE la implantación de desaladoras en las zonas en que se demuestren como la forma de obtención de recurso más sostenible?

 
  
 

The Commission is aware of a range of existing as well as planned desalination plants, in particular in the Mediterranean countries. Elements of importance seem to be the following ones: environmental aspects; promoting environmental technologies; and use of funding instruments.

Environmental aspects:

The Commission is aware of the intention by the Spanish authorities to use desalination plants to supply water to regions with water scarcity. The Commission wishes to use this opportunity to provide some information on the Water Framework Directive(1), a cornerstone of the comprehensive European legislation providing for water protection.

The Water Framework Directive provides for the protection of all our waters; it covers all sectors of human activity; it sets the objective of good quality (‘good status’) for all waters, linked to a non-deterioration clause; it defines ‘good status’ for coastal waters in a comprehensive way, in terms of biological, physico-chemical and hydromorphological quality elements, and it submits all point source discharges liable to cause pollution to an authorisation procedure.

In addition to the Water Framework Directive requirements, there also is a comprehensive framework of criteria to be adhered to under other parts of the EU environmental legislation, in particular the nature protection legislation, and this is in particular in relation to the case of specially protected areas (e.g. fields of Poseidonia along the Spanish coast, specially protected under the Habitats Directive(2)), ensuring that the environmental objectives will be adhered to.

The Commission has not planned to give a recommendation for specific techniques. However, innovation in general, and eco-innovation or innovation in environmental technologies in particular, is encouraged through the EU Environmental Technologies Action Plan(3) . For example, the testing and validation of new technologies, such as new desalination techniques, should be facilitated by the networks of testing centres, being established through the 6th Framework-Programme for Research and Development, and through a potential EU Environmental Technologies Verification system, which the Commission is preparing actively.

Funding instruments:

The Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund may be used to co-finance such desalination plants. The Commission will consider, under the light of the Community legislation relating to the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund currently in force, possible co-financing to every project presented by the Spanish authorities, and eventually included in the Programme A.G.U.A. Some Regional Operational Programmes have been specially re-programmed at the beginning of 2005 to allow such a possible co-financing of the Programme A.G.U.A projects, especially desalination plants (new and/or extension of existing ones).

Following the latest information received by the Spanish authorities, there are some 21 desalination plants included, up to the moment, in the A.G.U.A. programme, the large majority of them being in the "project drafting" phase.

 
 

(1) Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, OJ L 327, 22.12.2000
(2) Directive 92/43/EEC of the Council of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206, 22.7.1992
(3) COM (2004) 38 final

 

Zapytanie nr 104 skierowane przez Leopold Józef Rutowicz (H-0540/05)
 Dotyczy: Cło na aluminium
 

Przemysłowi przetwarzającemu aluminium nieobrobione niestopowe grozi w Polsce bankructwo. Wprowadzone cło na to aluminium w wysokości 6% przy rentowności 4-5% jest katastrofą. Równocześnie na rynk europejski wszedł z produkcją przemysł rumuński, którego koszty robocizny są niższe i wykorzystuje on do produkcji aluminium bezcłowe. Preferowani dostawcy surowca podnieśli jego ceny poprzez system premii za gatunek , która odpowiada wielkości obowiązującego cła. Obecna sytuacja grozi zwolnieniem około 5 tysięcy pracowników. Sprawa była już przedmiotem interwencji.

Jakie Komisja proponuje rozwiązanie problemu? Materiały dotyczące sprawy zostały przesłane do Komisji.

 
  
 

The Commission has taken note of the problems described by the Honourable Member.

Since March 2004 the issues surrounding imports of unwrought aluminium have been under discussion in Council. With regard to the 6% tariff, an analysis of the situation involves inter alia an assessment of the competitive position of all enterprises concerned, as well as an evaluation of the impact of any measures on other Community interests. The Commission is working actively to bring these considerations to a conclusion very soon.

 

Vprašanje št. 105 , ki ga je predložil Jelko Kacin (H-0541/05)
 Zadeva: Težave ponudnikov iger na srečo pri oglaševanju svoje dejavnosti v drugih državah članicah EU
 

V zadnjem času se nekateri ponudniki iger na srečo soočajo s težavami na področju oglaševanja svoje dejavnosti v drugih državah članicah EU. S takšnimi problemi se srečujejo tudi slovenski igralniški operaterji, ki želijo svojo dejavnost oglaševati v sosednji Republiki Avstriji. Avstrija je leta 2003 spremenila nacionalno zakonodajo in uzakonila prepoved oglaševanja vseh iger na srečo, ki se ne izvajajo na njenem ozemlju.

Na podlagi 56. člena Zakona o igrah na srečo Republika Avstrija prepoveduje oglaševanje igralniških storitev ponudnikom drugih držav članic EU medtem, ko sama dovoljuje oglaševanje teh istih storitev domačim igralniškim operaterjem, ki lahko svoje storitve nemoteno oglašujejo tako v starih kot novih članicah EU.

Menim, da ta določba avstrijske zakonodaje ni v skladu s pravnim redom EU, saj diskriminira na podlagi državljanstva oz. države izvajalca storitev. Zanima me, kaj bo Evropska komisija storila, da bi Republika Avstrija prenehala s tem diskriminatornim ravnanjem do začetka njenega predsedovanja EU v začetku leta 2006.

 
  
 

The Commission has not yet received any complaints regarding the law referred to and has therefore not examined its provisions. However, the Commission will further examine the legislation in question with a view to establishing its compatibility with Community law.

In general, Member States may impose restrictions on the cross border provision of services to protect general interest objectives such as the protection of consumers or the maintenance of public order in society. However, in line with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) such restrictions are compatible with the Treaty only if they are non-discriminatory and proportionate to the general interest objectives in question. For instance, economic considerations are not accepted as a valid public interest objective justifying a cross border restriction.

 

Question no 106 by Saïd El Khadraoui (H-0544/05)
 Subject: The Amendment of the Protocol on Origin of the EU-Israel Association Agreement
 

Since the EU and Israel put into effect a non-binding 'technical arrangement' for the implementation of the Protocol on Origin of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, is it true that Israel still applies the Protocol on Origin to occupied territories and maintains its refusal to distinguish between production carried out in those territories and production carried out in the territory of the State of Israel when it issues proofs of origin under that Agreement? In light of these facts, does the Commission regard the practice resulting from the technical arrangement on EU-Israel customs cooperation as 'solving the bilateral issue of rules of origin'?

 
  
 

The arrangement between the EU and the Government of Israel concerning the implementation of protocol 4 to the EU-Israel Association Agreement was adopted by the UE-Israel Customs Co-operation Committee. The technical arrangement provides for the name and postal code of the city, village or industrial zone where production has taken place to be indicated on all preferential proofs of origin issued in Israel for export to the EU. In order to determine the city, village or industrial zone where production has taken place, Israel does distinguish between production carried out in the occupied territories and production carried out in the territory of the State of Israel.

The indication of the place of production on all preferential proofs of origin issued in Israel for export to the EU allows the customs services of the EU Member States to apply the rules of origin of the Association Agreement in an efficient and effective way, by allowing them to identify those goods which originate in Israel, and which qualify for preferential duty, as opposed to those coming from the settlement areas, which are subject to non-preferential duties. The technical arrangement is therefore a practical way of handling the problem of exports of goods from the settlements in the occupied territories of Gaza, West Bank, Golan and East Jerusalem.

 

Pregunta nº 107 formulada por Rosa Miguélez Ramos (H-0547/05):
 Asunto: Saturación de las Escuelas Europeas
 

Teniendo en cuenta que las Escuelas Europeas se crearon para educar conjuntamente a los hijos del personal de la Comunidad Europea y garantizar así el buen funcionamiento de la misma y facilitar el cumplimiento de su misión, la situación actual de saturación de las Escuelas Europeas I y II en Bruselas está muy lejos de satisfacer esta premisa: niños que no pueden ser escolarizados, hermanos separados en distintas escuelas, clases saturadas que no pueden cumplir con los objetivos pedagógicos mínimos. El Ombudsman europeo en su decisión de 19 de julio de 2004, subraya que desde la nueva Convención de las Escuelas de 1994, la Comisión tiene que asumir su responsabilidad para garantizar la correcta administración y funcionamiento de las mismas. Desde está responsabilidad, ¿está de acuerdo la Comisión con la política restrictiva adoptada por el Consejo Superior que no está teniendo en cuenta ningún criterio pedagógico ni de calidad de la enseñanza? ¿Qué está haciendo para frenar y solucionar estos problemas a corto y medio plazo?

 
 

Pregunta nº 109 formulada por Javier Moreno Sánchez (H-0558/05):
 Asunto: Problemas por la saturación de alumnos en las Escuelas Europeas de Woluwe e Ixelles en Bruselas
 

La superpoblación de las Escuelas Europeas II y III en Bruselas está dando lugar a problemas muy graves tanto para la educación de los hijos de los funcionarios y trabajadores europeos como para sus familias. La apertura de la Escuela IV en Laeken en 2009 es una perspectiva muy lejana para considerarla una posible solución ante los acuciantes problemas que se están planteando actualmente. Ante esta situación, el Consejo Superior de las Escuelas ha prohibido expresamente a los directores de ambas la creación para el curso escolar 2005-2006 de nuevos grupos de maternal en las secciones inglesa, francesa, alemana, italiana o española, así como la admisión de nuevos alumnos en las categorías I o II que pudiera conllevar el desdoblamiento de una clase o la creación de cualquier grupo de apoyo. ¿Qué opina la Comisión ante esta política restrictiva que no tiene en cuenta los más mínimos criterios pedagógicos ni la dificultad social en la que sitúa a un número muy considerable de familias? ¿Quién es el responsable de esta falta de previsión ¿Qué piensa hacer para encontrar una solución inmediata de cara al comienzo del nuevo curso escolar y defender así los intereses del personal comunitario en una cuestión tan fundamental como es la educación de sus hijos?

 
 

Pregunta nº 110 formulada por Bárbara Dührkop Dührkop (H-0560/05):
 Asunto: Saturación de las Escuelas Europeas: número máximo de alumnos por clase
 

Actualmente, ante el problema de saturación en las Escuelas I y II de Bruselas, el Consejo Superior ha prohibido aceptar más alumnos para que no se alcance el número de 32 por clase y así no tener que crear nuevos grupos. Ello implica tanto el rechazo de inscripción de nuevos alumnos especialmente en las secciones lingüísticas más demandadas, así como que los alumnos ya inscritos, se encuentren en clases de no menos de 30, 31 alumnos, lo que impone condiciones pedagógicas especialmente complicadas (clases saturadas, difícil seguimiento individual de los alumnos, problemas de disciplina, seguridad, riesgo elevado de repetición de curso, etc.). Dado que las escuelas en cuestión cuentan con el presupuesto, el profesorado y los locales necesarios ya que así se ha venido haciendo hasta este curso sin que el criterio de 32 alumnos por clase haya sido aplicado, ¿qué piensa la Comisión de esta situación? ¿Está de acuerdo con la política del Consejo Superior? ¿Está dispuesta a tomar cartas en el asunto para evitar esta saturación de las clases de cara al próximo curso escolar?

 
  
 

La Commission comprend et partage les préoccupations exprimées par les honorables parlementaires au sujet de plusieurs aspects du fonctionnement des Ecoles européennes. Elle tient à les assurer que, bien que ne disposant que d’une seule voix sur 29 au Conseil supérieur des Ecoles européennes, elle défend avec force les intérêts du personnel des institutions et de leurs enfants afin de trouver des solutions acceptables au niveau du systèmes des Ecoles européennes. A cet égard, la Commission a déjà exprimé à plusieurs reprises son opposition formelle à toute politique restrictive qui aboutirait à pénaliser les enfants du personnel des institutions européennes pour lesquels ces Ecoles ont été créées,(1) à séparer des fratries dans les familles de catégorie I et à exiger de très jeunes enfants l’accomplissement de longs trajets à travers Bruxelles.

La Commission, tout en considérant qu’elle ne peut être tenue responsable d’une quelconque absence de prévision, tient à rappeler qu’elle s’est fortement impliquée depuis plusieurs années dans des actions destinées à accueillir les nouveaux élèves en attendant la mise à disposition de la quatrième école bruxelloise.

Ainsi, la Commission, en apportant son appui au Secrétaire général des Ecoles européennes, avait pu obtenir des autorités belges que 2 immeubles (l’immeuble BASF comme annexe de l’école de Bruxelles I et l’immeuble HP, comme annexe à l’école de Bruxelles II) soient mis à disposition des Ecoles européennes en septembre 2005 au plus tard.

Par ailleurs, dès février 2004, la Commission avait préconisé à titre exceptionnel et en prévision d’une éventuelle surpopulation la suspension immédiate de toute nouvelle inscription d’élèves de catégorie III dans les Ecoles européennes de Bruxelles et de Luxembourg.

Aucune de ces deux propositions n’a reçu l’appui nécessaire pour sa mise en œuvre.

La Commission maintient son opposition à la politique restrictive suivie par le Secrétaire Général des Ecoles européennes, à la dispersion des fratries de catégorie I et particulièrement à la décision de limiter à une classe maternelle certaines sections linguistiques des écoles de Bruxelles II et III.

Dès lors, la Commission a adressé une lettre au Secrétaire Général des Ecoles européennes lui demandant expressément de saisir le Conseil supérieur par procédure écrite afin que les classes maternelles fermées soient rouvertes pour septembre 2005 et que les inscriptions des enfants des personnels des institutions européennes soient acceptées.

Par ailleurs, les résultats de la consultation sur les options pour développer le système des Ecoles européennes(2) que la Commission a lancé en juillet 2004, permettront à celle-ci d’élaborer dès 2006 des propositions plus précises pour une évolution favorable ou une réforme fondamentale du système des Ecoles européennes afin de répondre aux défis qui attendent ces Ecoles sur le plan de la pédagogie, de la gouvernance et du financement.

 
 

(1) Article 1 de la Convention portant statut des Ecoles européennes (JO L 212 du 17/08/1994, p. 3).
(2) Communication de la Commission au Conseil et au Parlement européen, «Consultation sur les options pour développer le système des Ecoles européennes», Bruxelles, 20.7.2004, COM(2004) 519 final.

 

Pregunta nº 108 formulada por María Elena Valenciano Martínez-Orozco (H-0548/05):
 Asunto: Escuelas Europeas: numero de alumnos por clase
 

En su Comunicación sobre las Escuelas Europeas (COM(2004)0519 final), la Comisión hace referencia a que la dimensión máxima de las clases en estas escuelas es de 32 alumnos, que es muy superior a la de muchos Estados miembros y que habrá que considerar la manera de reducir la dimensión máxima. Se trata de una cuestión fundamental que permitiría responder a los más mínimos criterios pedagógicos, a una alta calidad de la educación de estos niños, sin olvidar el derecho que tienen a una igualdad de oportunidades en relación a los niños que viven y están escolarizados en las escuelas públicas y privadas de los distintos Estados miembros.

¿Qué está haciendo la Comisión para que el Consejo Superior reduzca el número máximo de alumnos por clase y para que las condiciones pedagógicas y educativas mejoren en el sistema de las Escuelas Europeas en lugar de quedarse ancladas en un pasado obsoleto?

 
  
 

La Commission rappelle à l’honorable parlementaire que, selon la Convention portant statut des Ecoles européennes,(1) la responsabilité de ces Ecoles est assurée par le Conseil supérieur, organisme intergouvernemental constitué de représentants de chacun des Etats membres, auquel la Commission participe avec une seule voix sur 29, malgré l’importance de sa contribution financière (près de 60% du budget des Ecoles européennes).

Il convient de préciser que la politique définie par le Conseil supérieur des Ecoles européennes prévoit un maximum de 32 élèves par classe. Au-dessus de ce nombre une nouvelle classe est créée. La limite ainsi posée pour toutes les classes, de tout niveau appartient à la fourchette haute de la pratique des différents Etats membres de l’Union. Cette limite est scrupuleusement respectée par les écoles

Il arrive, notamment dans les grandes écoles de Bruxelles et de Luxembourg que les classes aient plus de 30 élèves, quelle que soit la section linguistique considérée.

Comme l’honorable parlementaire l’indique, la Commission a proposé, dans sa Communication sur les options pour développer le système des Ecoles européennes,(2) une réduction de la taille des classes, compte tenu notamment du fait que celles-ci accueillent couramment des élèves sans section linguistique propre, qui ont donc besoin d’un soutien particulier pour travailler dans une langue qui n’est pas leur langue maternelle.(3)

Forte de l’analyse des réponses à la consultation en cours, qui ne fait guère de doute sur ce sujet, elle défendra sa position lors d’une des prochaines réunions du Conseil supérieur. Ce point sera très certainement un élément important sur le plan pédagogique des propositions de réforme des Ecoles européennes présentées par la Commission.

 
 

(1) Convention du 21 juin 1994 (JO L 212 du 17/08/1994 p. 3).
(2) Communication de la Commission au Conseil et au Parlement européen, « Consultation sur les options pour développer le système des Ecoles européennes, Bruxelles, 20.7.2004, COM(2004) 519 final.
(3) Voir point 4.3. de la Communication intitulé « Taille des clases ».

 

Pregunta nº 111 formulada por Francisca Pleguezuelos Aguilar (H-0550/05):
 Asunto: El cultivo del tabaco
 

Pendiente aún la aprobación del Reglamento sobre modalidades de aplicación de la Reforma del tabaco, y estando en vísperas de la aprobación de las Perspectivas Financieras para los años 2007-2013,

¿Qué flexibilidad van a tener los Gobiernos en la aplicación de dicha reforma en materia de desacoplamientos y distribución de la parte acoplada a la producción del cultivo?

¿Van a ser reconocidas las cuotas de producción a fecha de 15 de mayo de 2004?

¿Qué presupuesto propone la Comisión para la reestructuración del sector para después del año 2010?

Si lo que se persigue, finalmente, es la desaparición del cultivo del tabaco en Europa: ¿qué alternativa hay proyectada a modo de reestructuración del sector, tal como anunciaba la PAC del 92?

 
  
 

With regard to the implementation of the reform, the following flexibility is available: Member States may decide to increase the minimum decoupling rate of 40%, set objective criteria with regard to the distribution of coupled support and, if duly justified, introduce a differentiation of the decoupling rate by region.

Granting of the aid will not be based on the ownership of tobacco quota at 15 May 2004. In general, decoupled support is based on the tobacco premium payments received during the reference period 2000-2002. During the period 2006-2009 coupled aid shall be granted to farmers who received tobacco premium payments during the period 2000-2002 and to those who acquired tobacco production quotas during the period 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2005.

The Council has decided that, as of budget year 2011, an amount of € 484 million shall be available annually as additional Community support for restructuring measures in tobacco producing regions under rural development programming.

In its 2004 reform, the Council did not strive for the disappearance of tobacco growing in the EU. After 2009, tobacco growers will continue to receive decoupled support and will be able to carry on growing tobacco or produce other crops. Concerning alternative crops, the Community Tobacco Fund finances studies into the possibilities for raw tobacco producers of switching to other crops or activities and actions of general interest. In the EU, since 2003, 51 such studies and actions have commenced of which 4 in Spain.

 

Anfrage Nr. 112 von Tobias Pflüger (H-0552/05)
 Betrifft: Status der britischen Militärstützpunkte auf der Insel Zypern
 

Was gedenkt die Kommission zu tun, um den Status der britischen Militärstützpunkte (Hoheitszonen des Vereinigten Königreichs) auf der Insel Zypern – die jetzt von den USA u. a. für den Krieg im Irak als Nachschubbasen genutzt werden – zu ändern, der bisher besagt, dass diese Militärstützpunkte nicht als Teil der Europäischen Union angesehen werden, und welche wirtschaftlichen Fördermaßnahmen sind geplant, um die britischen Militärstützpunkte auf der Insel Zypern sozial und wirtschaftlich zu fördern bzw. an die Europäische Union heranzuführen?

 
  
 

The Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that the status of the British Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus (SBAs) is set out in the Treaty concerning the Establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, which was concluded between the United Kingdom, Greece, Turkey and the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.

Therefore, it is not for the Commission to provide any comments on the status of the SBAs. That is outside of its competence.

The application of the EC Treaty to the SBAs had been excluded pursuant to Article 299 para. 6 b) EC Treaty prior to Cyprus’ accession.

Since the accession of Cyprus, relations between the EU and the SBAs are exclusively regulated by Protocol No 3 to the Act of Accession 2003. Protocol No 3 reconfirms that the EC Treaty shall not apply to the SBAs except for specific areas in the field of customs, taxation, social security, and agriculture.

 

Pregunta nº 115 formulada por Inés Ayala Sender (H-0556/05):
 Asunto: Redes transeuropeas de transporte - Proyectos prioritarios
 

En los últimos meses ha aparecido en la prensa de mi país la presentación de un proyecto de iniciativa privada para un nuevo eje ferroviario de mercancías que uniría Algeciras (España) con Duisburg (Alemania) a través de Port-Bou y que, según la prensa española, pretende financiación comunitaria en el marco de las Redes Transeuropeas (RTE) rivalizando con el proyecto actual de la Travesía Ferroviaria Central de los Pirineos (proyecto nº 16 de las RTE).

Lo más sorprendente es que esas mismas fuentes se hacen eco de la opinión favorable de la Comisión Europea y citan textualmente las declaraciones de un funcionario de la Comisión Europea, responsable de las RTE.

Teniendo en cuenta que el acuerdo sobre los actuales 30 proyectos prioritarios para el periodo 2003-2020 se concluyó tan sólo el pasado año 2004, tras arduas negociaciones:

¿Pretende la Comisión modificar el acuerdo alcanzado? ¿Cuál es exactamente la posición de la Comisión ante esta situación?

 
  
 

Conformément à la décision n° 884/2004/CE(1) sur le réseau transeuropéen de transport, la Commission privilégie les 30 projets prioritaires d’intérêt européen identifiés par le Parlement et le Conseil tels qu’énumérés à l’annexe III de cette décision. Ces projets portent sur le développement de plusieurs grandes infrastructures ferroviaires dans les Pyrénées qui sont particulièrement importants pour parvenir à rééquilibrer les modes de transports dans une région carrefour confrontée à une croissance du trafic routier particulièrement élevée. C’est le cas du projet n° 3 (axe ferroviaire à grande vitesse Sud Ouest de l’Europe) et du projet prioritaire n° 16 (axe ferroviaire de fret Sines/ Algeciras – Madrid – Paris). La définition faite de ce dernier par le Parlement et le Conseil inclut la perspective d’une nouvelle traversée ferroviaire à grande capacité des Pyrénées, sans toutefois préciser son tracé et la date d’achèvement des travaux.

« L’axe » qui découle de l’initiative FERRMED ne figure pas dans la liste des projets prioritaires. Cette initiative, qui s’appuie sur le Réseau Transeuropéen de Fret Ferroviaire ouvert à la concurrence par la directive 2001/12/CE(2), vise à développer le fret ferroviaire sur plusieurs parties du réseau transeuropéen dont certaines sont d’ailleurs des tronçons de projets prioritaires. La Commission n’exclut pas la possibilité de co-financer certaines actions pour autant qu’elles soient situées sur des tronçons figurant sur un axe prioritaire des réseaux transeuropéens de transport et dans la mesure où elles sont conformes au règlement sur l’octroi des aides au titre des réseaux transeuropéens(3) et ne remettent pas en question la viabilité des projets prioritaires identifiés par le Parlement et le Conseil.

La procédure de mise à jour de la décision n° 884/2004/CE prévoit que la Commission, avant 2010, élabore un rapport sur l’état d’avancement des travaux, et, le cas échéant, propose de modifier la liste des projets prioritaires énumérés à l’annexe III. La Commission saisit cette opportunité pour rappeler que la réalisation des seuls 30 projets prioritaires exigera des investissements très importants et un budget substantiellement augmenté des réseaux transeuropéens. Pour cette raison, à ce stade, elle ne considère pas souhaitable d’envisager l’ajout de nouveaux projets et n’a donc pas l’intention de proposer une modification de la décision n° 884/2004/CE.

 
 

(1) JO L 167 du 30.4.2004 et rectificatif JO L 201 du 7.6.2004
(2) JO L 75 du 15.3.2001
(3) JO L 149 du 30.4.2004

 
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