Istungi stenogramm
Neljapäev, 27. oktoober 2005 - StrasbourgUuendatud versioon
QUESTIONS TO THE COUNCIL (The Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the EU is responsible for these answers.)

QUESTIONS TO THE COUNCIL (The Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the EU is responsible for these answers.)
Question no 18 by Brian Crowley (H-0810/05)
 Subject: Child mortality in developing countries

The recent polio outbreak in Indonesia is still spreading, could spread further afield and could pose a global health threat, according to the United Nations children's agency UNICEF.

UNICEF also warns that the outbreak, which is a major setback to UN plans to eliminate this waterborne disease by the end of 2005, could spread more easily during the wet season, which usually starts in October.

Furthermore, just five diseases — pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles and AIDS — account for half of all deaths in children under five. According to the latest UN report ‘eleven million children a year — i.e. 30 000 a day — die before their fifth birthday from preventable or treatable causes. Most of these lives could be saved by expanding existing programmes that promote simple, low-cost solutions’.

Does the Council agree with the UN findings and will it give a commitment that it will take whatever concrete and positive steps that are necessary to ensure that the existing simple and low cost solutions are applied, in practice, without further unnecessary delay?


I am grateful to the Honourable Member for reminding us of the continuing horror of childhood poverty and disease in the developing world. The Council indeed shares this concern.

It is clear that children form an essential facet of the EU's development policy, and the Council intends that this should be adequately reflected in the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals Summit of September 2005, in the formulation of future EC development policy and during examination of the future Commission Communication on this subject.

In the Conclusions of 24 May this year, the Council firmly supported the programme of action to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis through external actions presented by the Commission at the end of April 2005. This programme provides for specific attention to be focused on children's rights and on the needs of orphans and vulnerable children, as well as on school security, particularly with regard to girls. The Commission provides a significant level of support through the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria as a way of supporting and helping to finance country plans for services essential to child health. The Commission also support the Global Alliance for Vaccine Immunisation, which is focused on helping countries improve child immunisation against disease. We plan a joint action by the EC and the Member States, in collaboration with the main international organisations in the sector, and with teachers and parents' associations in the partner countries is planned.

The joint statement of November 2000 on EU development policy is under review. A new interinstitutional statement on future EU development policy should be adopted shortly by the three institutions. Child protection is among the many subjects identified as possible thematic priorities by the Council.

Lastly, at the request of the Council, the European Commission intends to submit in 2006 a Communication on children in the context of development policy, so that all questions relating to children in developing countries, including reduction of the mortality rate, are dealt with consistently.


Question no 19 by Seán Ó Neachtain (H-0812/05)
 Subject: The Israeli wall

Israel has recently issued instructions to seize more Palestinian land close to the largest Jewish settlement in the West Bank. According to the Israeli Justice Minister, the government plans to use the land to continue building the controversial West Bank barrier around the settlement of Maale Adumim.

In view of the fact that, in July 2004, the International Court of Justice issued an advisory ruling that Israel's West Bank barrier was illegal because it is being built on occupied territory and construction of it should be stopped, will the Council comment on these recent developments?


In a number of replies to recent questions raised by Members of the European Parliament, the Council set out the EU's unchanged position relating to the Wall and the Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice on the "Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory".

The Council and its Presidencies have repeatedly demanded in the past that Israel stops and reverses the construction of the Wall in the occupied Palestinian territory, including in and around East Jerusalem. In addition the Council and its Presidencies have done so with respect to the Israeli orders requisitioning the land to which the Honourable Member referred in his question.


Question no 20 by Liam Aylward (H-0814/05)
 Subject: Millenium Development Goals - universal primary education

Achieving universal primary education is one of the main Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

However the MDG 2005 annual report, which was recently published by the United Nations, states that 'in sub-Saharan Africa, less than two thirds of children are enrolled in primary school. Other regions, including Southern Asia and Oceania, also have a long way to go. In these regions and elsewhere, increased enrolment must be accompanied by efforts to ensure that all children remain in school and receive a high-quality education'.

Does the Council agree that without education there can be no real progress in the countries concerned? Furthermore does the Council have ideas as to how the situation can be seriously improved and the relevant action speeded up?


The second Millennium Development Goal is to "Achieve universal primary education" aims to "ensure that, by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling".

The Council's view on this subject is clearly set out in the Resolution of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States called: "Education and training in the context of poverty reduction in developing countries" which was adopted on 30 May 2002.

In that Resolution the Council recalled its strong commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, which include achieving universal primary education by 2015 and eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005 and to all levels of education no later than 2015. The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to the Framework for Action on Education for All agreed at the World Education Forum in Dakar, and to the goals it contains.

In addition, the ACP-EC Council of Ministers decided in Luxembourg on 24 June 2005 to allocate an indicative amount of EUR 63 million from the conditional billion of the 9th European Development Fund as a contribution to the "Education for All" Fast Track Initiative. The bulk of EU funding on education to ACP states is channelled through country programmes, increasingly in the form of budgetary support.


Question no 21 by Eoin Ryan (H-0816/05)
 Subject: Democracy in Uzbekistan

As the Council are aware, earlier this year Uzbek soldiers opened fire on a crowd of some ten thousand peaceful protestors. Human Rights Watch, the Institute of War and Peace Reporting and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have all placed the number of slain civilians at no less than five hundred.

Given the fact that Uzbekistan has entered into a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) with the European Union, will the Council indicate if this matter has been discussed at Council level and, in the affirmative, what were the conclusions reached?


I can indeed confirm that the Council has discussed the issue, most recently on 3 October.

The Council has expressed its profound concern at the developments in Eastern Uzbekistan and strongly condemned the reported excessive and disproportionate use of force by the Uzbek security authorities. The Council has called upon the Uzbek authorities to respect their international commitments to democracy, the rule of law and human rights and to allow an independent international inquiry into the events in Andijan.

As the Honourable Member is probably aware, on 3 October the General Affairs and External Relations Council adopted conclusions on Uzbekistan, which spelt out detailed measures to be applied, including suspension of all scheduled technical meetings under the PCA, an arms embargo, a targeted visa ban, as well as use of the relevant mechanisms of the OSCE and the UN to secure an independent inquiry into the events in Andijan.


Question no 22 by Mairead McGuinness (H-0820/05)
 Subject: The detention of illegal immigrants in European countries in prison facilities

Can the Council outline its view and position on the issue of the detention of migrants in prison facilities in European Member States? In Ireland, illegal immigrants are detained in Cloverhill Prison. On a recent visit to the prison a delegation of MEPs found that the treatment of detainees was good and that the facilities provided were also of a good standard. However, MEPs are concerned about whether prison is an appropriate place to detain illegal immigrants.

What is the Council's view of the detention of illegal immigrants and of the very varied standard of facilities provided across the European Member States?


The attention of the Honourable Member of Parliament is drawn to the fact that the Council is not competent to reply to her question, insofar as the issue of the conditions under which irregular immigrants are detained is not covered by EU legislation at present, except as far as asylum seekers are concerned.

The Council has not yet taken a view on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning third-country nationals, which includes proposals on temporary custody, including where a Member State must resort to prison accommodation.


Fråga nr 23 från Anna Hedh (H-0823/05)
 Angående: Gender mainstreaming i EU

Jämställdhet har en stark ställning inom EU-samarbetet och är en av EU:s grundläggande värderingar och mål för all verksamhet inom unionen. Jämställdhet skall genomsyra alla EU:s politikområden. Jämställdhetsintegrering är en skyldighet såväl för EU:s medlemsstater som för gemenskapens institutioner. Hur arbetar ordförandeskapet för att se till att ”gender mainstreaming” blir verklighet inom unionens samtliga organ och främst inom rådsarbetet?


The UK is working with the Council, the European Commission and this Parliament, to progress gender mainstreaming throughout its Presidency. The UK Minister for Women and Equality, Meg Munn, addressed the European Parliament Women's Affairs Committee on 13 July 2005, to outline Presidency plans on gender equality, including the following initiatives;

on 30 September, the Presidency hosted a meeting of the European Commission High Level Group on Gender Mainstreaming, comprising representatives from every Member State. The main discussion item was the preparation of the Third Annual Report on Gender Equality, that is to be presented to the Spring European Council in March 2006;

and on 8-9 November, the Presidency will host an Informal meeting of Equality Ministers in Birmingham. Ministers will focus discussions on the EU Lisbon Strategy, in the context of "what works for women". They will exchange models of good practice on issues from education and skills for women, to worklife balance and childcare, to entrepreneurship and business creation for women.

The UK Presidency will also present a statement on gender equality to the Employment and Social Council on 8-9 December. It will outline EU progress towards implementation in acknowledgement of the tenth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action.

The Presidency is pleased with the EU's achievements in the field of gender equality and believes that progress has gone beyond purely creating a legislative framework. For example, the integration of gender equality into the employment policies of the Member States under the EU Employment Guidelines for 2005-2008 is a positive step forward in calling for "resolute action to increase female participation and reduce gender gaps in employment, unemployment and pay" as well as "better reconciliation of work and private life and the provision of accessible and affordable childcare facilities and care for other dependants".

However, the Presidency recognises that much work remains to be done and will continue to strive, in cooperation with the European Parliament and the Commission, towards achieving more progress in this area.


Question no 24 by Gay Mitchell (H-0829/05)
 Subject: Funds to fight disease

Leaders at the UN World Summit made commitments for the provision of universal access to life-saving anti-retroviral drugs for all those who need it by 2010. It has been reported, however, that the actual financial commitments made fall well short of what is needed to achieve this goal. The UK Government announced in August that it will double its aid to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Has the Council raised this issue, and what steps has it taken to encourage more financial aid from other EU Member States in this area?


The fight against HIV/AIDS is a top priority for the EU in general and for the Council in particular, both in the context of poverty reduction (which is the overarching objective of the EU Development Policy) and in the framework of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The European Council, in the framework of the Multi-Annual Strategic Programme adopted in December 2003, agreed to give priority to ensuring improvements in aid effectiveness, coherence, co-ordination and complementarity in support of the primary objective of poverty reduction. This includes the fight against diseases like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

On the basis of the Commission communication on a new coherent European Policy Framework for External Action to Confront HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, the Council adopted in May 2005 a comprehensive Plan of Action on different areas of intervention, including proposals for the future implementation, monitoring and co-ordination of the EU action to confront HIV/AIDS and the other major poverty-related diseases.

As regards the issue of funding, all EU Member States are contributing to the global EU effort in fighting poverty diseases. In May 2005(1), the Council decided on a new collective European Union target of an ODA(2)/GNI ratio of 0.56% by 2010. This implies an additional EUR 20 billion a year in Official Development Assistance, part of which will certainly be spent on HIV/AIDS prevention, care and research.

EU Member States and the European Commission were founding members of the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2001 and the European Union is currently the Fund’s largest donor. The EU has so far provided more than US$2 billion to the Fund. At the Global Fund Replenishment Conference held in London on 6 September 2005 and chaired by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, EU Member States and the European Commission pledged an additional US$2.3 billion for 2006 and 2007, which will see Europe provide 60% of contributions to the Fund for that period.


(1) Conclusions of 24 May 2005 (doc. 9266/05, p. 4), reaffirmed by the European Council in June 2005 (doc. 10255/05, p. 7-8).
(2) Official Development Assistance


Ερώτηση αρ. 25 της κ. Ρόδης Κράτσα-Τσαγκαροπούλου (H-0839/05)
 Θέμα: Αντιμετώπιση της μείωσης της επισκεψιμότητας στα μουσεία της Ε.Ε.

Βάσει των τελευταίων στοιχείων, την περασμένη χρονιά, η επισκεψιμότητα αρχαιολογικών χώρων και ιδιαίτερα των μουσείων έχει μειωθεί σημαντικά. Στα 30.000 κρατικά και μη μουσεία της Ευρώπης, είχαμε συνολικά 500.000.000 επισκέπτες λιγότερους από τις προηγούμενες χρονιές. Με στοιχεία δε του ευρωβαρομέτρου αναφορικά με τις πολιτιστικές δραστηριότητες των Ευρωπαίων, η επίσκεψη σε μουσεία κατατάσσεται στις κατώτερες θέσεις, αφού στη σχετική κλίμακα, δείκτης πλησιάζει την απάντηση "σχεδόν ποτέ".

Η βρετανική προεδρία έχει συμπεριλάβει στις προτεραιότητες της για τον τομέα του πολιτισμού, την προώθηση πρωτοβουλιών για τη διευκόλυνση των μουσείων ως προς τη διοργάνωση εκθέσεων με ανταλλαγές πολιτιστικών αντικειμένων. Σκοπεύει στα πλαίσια αυτά να παρουσιάσει συγκεκριμένες προτάσεις στο Συμβούλιο της 14ης -15ης Νοεμβρίου; Σκέπτεται να ζητήσει από την Επιτροπή να προβεί σε μελέτη του φαινομένου της επισκεψιμότητας των ευρωπαϊκών μουσείων, με ποιοτικούς και ποσοτικούς δείκτες, για την αντιμετώπιση των παραγόντων εκείνων που αποτρέπουν τους Ευρωπαίους να τα επισκεφθούν (ρόλος τουριστικών γραφείων, επιπτώσεις απειλών τρομοκρατικών απειλών - εξονυχιστικοί έλεγχοι, μη εκσυγχρονισμός μουσειακών χώρων, με ενδιαφέρουσες παρουσιάσεις κ.α.); Σκοπεύει να προωθήσει με συγκεκριμένα μέτρα μία ευρεία διαβούλευση με τα κράτη-μέλη και αρμοδίους φορείς και μία κατευθυντήρια πολιτική στα 25 κράτη μέλη για την προσέλκυση του κοινού στα ευρωπαϊκά μουσεία;


The Council notes with interest the question posed by the Honourable Member, and would like to refer initially to the report Lending to Europe - Recommendations on Collection Mobility for European Museums, which was drawn up by an independent group of experts as part of the Work Plan for Culture, as set out in the November 2004 Education, Youth and Culture Council Conclusions.

This report refers to studies which show that active exhibition programmes and temporary exhibitions tend to increase visitor numbers. In view of this, and given that only 300 of the 30,000 museums in Europe hold major temporary exhibitions on a regular basis, it is clear that the mobility of works of art, art collections and exhibitions has become an important issue for the European Union.

At the 14 to15 November 2005 Council Meeting on Education, Youth and Culture, the Council will be called upon to achieve a partial political agreement - leaving budgetary aspects to be decided later - on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing the Culture 2007 Programme(1). One of the three objectives of this draft legislative instrument is "to encourage the transnational circulation of works and cultural and artistic products".

A Mobility of Collections Conference will also be held in Manchester on 28 November 2005 where museum experts and cultural administrators from across Europe will come together to draw up comprehensive plans to build contacts and trust, share best practice and work towards developing suitable common standards for loan agreements and insurance or state indemnity schemes. This should go a long way to combating the worrying trend that the Honourable Member has identified.


(1) 13206/05


Question no 26 by Proinsias De Rossa (H-0842/05)
 Subject: Respect for human rights and democracy

The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) is the only educational institution active at European level which is explicitly mandated to reinforcing and disseminating the core Community values of respect for human rights and democracy. The European Parliament's Committee on Culture, Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Civil Liberties have called for continued EU funding for the EIUC by incorporating references in the EP Report on Lifelong Learning to its reintegration in the Lifelong Learning Action Programme.

Will the Council ensure that, irrespective of whether the EIUC's budget is allocated under Education or RELEX, it will continue to be fully funded, and will the Council support its reintegration in Article 42 of the Integrated Action programme in the field of lifelong learning to that end?

Will the Council further undertake that it will ensure that the EU's continuing commitment to the important principles of human rights and democracy are not undermined by the dispute between Commissioners Figel and Ferrero-Waldner about the source of the EIUC budget?


The Council has taken note of the concern expressed by the Honourable Member regarding continued funding for the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EUIC). This issue is part of ongoing discussions in the Council on the overall EU budget.


Ερώτηση αρ. 27 του κ. Αδάμου Αδάμου (H-0845/05)
 Θέμα: Υποβάθμιση των δικαιωμάτων των γυναικών μετά την Αμερικάνικη κατοχή του Ιράκ

Η αμερικάνικη εισβολή και κατοχή του Ιράκ ονομάστηκε από τις ΗΠΑ απελευθέρωση του Ιράκ και του λαού του. Παρ’ όλα αυτά, και όπως ήταν αναμενόμενο, τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα στο Ιράκ έχουν περιοριστεί.

Το νέο Σύνταγμα, με ενσωματωμένη θρησκευτική διακήρυξη, επέβαλε φοβερούς περιορισμούς στα δικαιώματα των γυναικών και αντί να αντιπροσωπεύει τα δικαιώματα των γυναικών, τις θέτει σε καθεστώς ημι-δουλείας. Παράλληλα, οι γυναίκες, που κάποτε είχαν μια αρκετά ανεξάρτητη και παραγωγική ζωή, τώρα, με ένα μαινόμενο πόλεμο στο όνομα της επέκτασης των δικαιωμάτων τους, η φωνή τους έχει σιγήσει και οι ελευθερίες τους περιορίστηκαν αντί να επεκταθούν. Αυτό αποδεικνύεται και από την έκθεση του Human Rights Watch από τον Ιούλιο του 2003.

Πώς σχεδιάζει η Προεδρία του Συμβουλίου να συμβάλει στην βελτίωση της κατάστασης των δικαιωμάτων των γυναικών στο Ιράκ έχοντας υπόψη ότι αυτά συνεχίζουν να καταπατούνται από το καθεστώς που έχουν επιβάλει οι κατοχικές Αμερικανικές δυνάμεις;


It is not true to say that human rights in Iraq have been curtailed since the fall of Saddam Hussein. People now have freedom of speech and action and the draft constitution offers significant protection of women’s rights. It contains specific provisions that guarantee equal opportunities for all Iraqis, men and women, including mandatory 25% participation by women in the new Parliament.

In its bilateral relations with third states as well as in multilateral and regional fora, the EU regularly raises the ratification and application of the UN human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, to which Iraq has been a party since 1986.

The Presidency will, of course, ensure that the important issue of protection of women's rights is raised during the EU political dialogue with Iraq at all levels as part of discussions on protection of human rights in general.


Question no 28 by Philip Bradbourn (H-0847/05)
 Subject: Aviation fuel

Given the current instability in oil prices, will the Council state its position on the introduction of an EU kerosene tax in the aviation sector?


The Council has not received any proposal from the Commission on this subject and cannot take a position on it.


Question no 29 by Jonathan Evans (H-0850/05)
 Subject: Stability and Growth Pact

Given the acknowledged need for fiscal discipline implicit in the Stability and Growth Pact, to what extent does the Presidency agree that countries in breach of the budget deficit limit of three per cent of GDP should be subject to sanctions? How appropriate does the Presidency consider the sanctions currently in place to be?


Article 104 of the EC Treaty and Regulations governing the Excessive Deficit Procedure provide a clear legal framework. This culminates in the possible application by the Council of sanctions set out in Article 104, paragraph 11. Member States outside the Euro area do not face sanctions or fines.

While the Commission has the right to initiate any recommendations for sanctions to be applied, the Council has the final say on excessive deficit procedures. This balance between the discretion of the Council and a clear procedural framework has not been questioned by any Member State in the negotiations leading to the recent revision of the Stability and Growth Pact.

Both the existing range of sanctions and the 3% budget reference value were confirmed in the recent review of the Stability and Growth Pact and the ECOFIN Council unanimously adopted their report in March of this year.

The Presidency therefore considers that the framework currently in place is appropriate and that the Council should continue to exercise its judgment within that framework.


Question no 30 by Philip Bushill-Matthews (H-0851/05)
 Subject: Simplification of legislation

Given that Member States were asked to submit their proposals to the Commission for simplification and reduction of EU legislation by mid-October, will the Council ensure that these submissions are freely available on the web, in the interests of transparency?


As the Honourable Member rightly notes, Commissioner Verheugen wrote to Competitiveness Council Ministers in April seeking contributions from national governments to the next phase of the Commission’s simplification programme. [The Honourable Member will be aware that the Commission announced its plans for taking forward this work earlier this week (25 October)].

Governments submitted their contribution directly to the Commission. It is for the Commission and individual Member States to decide whether to release this information.

The simplification project is important strand of the wider campaign to improve the Europe’s regulatory environment. Better Regulation is a Presidency priority. We look forward to continuing to work with EU partners - this Parliament, the Commission and other Member States - to secure real progress on this agenda, during our Presidency and beyond.


Question no 31 by Den Dover (H-0852/05)
 Subject: Reduced rates of VAT

Why has the Presidency not made any progress towards a unanimous agreement in Council to renew or make permanent Directive 1999/85/EC(1) which allows Member States to apply reduced VAT rates for renovation and maintenance work on residential property? How well would such a VAT incentive scheme, encompassing both renovation and maintenance work on residential dwellings and energy-efficient building work, complement the Lisbon Strategy and jobs and the EU's aim to cut carbon emissions while maximising energy efficiency? To what extent does the Presidency agree that such a provision should cover the alteration of buildings to meet the special requirements of vulnerable people such as the old and the disabled? What interim measures will the Presidency propose, both now and to the next Presidency, so as to ensure that homeowners and construction companies are protected from additional VAT in the event that the Council fails to reach agreement before the Directive expires on 31 December 2005?


Since July 2003 the issue of VAT reduced rates has been discussed several times by the Council and its preparatory bodies, but no consensus could be reached, despite the efforts of the last four Presidencies.

The Presidency is fully aware that the expiry on 31 December (2005) of reduced rates applicable to labour-intensive services, including the renovation and repair of private dwellings, makes it all the more important for Council to reach agreement on this dossier.

The Presidency would like to assure the Honourable Member that it is committed to making its best efforts to facilitating a unanimous agreement on the VAT reduced-rate package and is taking all the necessary steps to do so. The dossier has been considered by Coreper and will be discussed by Finance Ministers at the ECOFIN Council on 8 November.


(1) OJ L 277, 28.10.1999, p. 34.


Question no 32 by Timothy Kirkhope (H-0853/05)
 Subject: European Social Model

The forthcoming meeting of EU Heads of State or Government will consider the future of the European Social Model. Given the high rates of unemployment and tax and the low rates of growth in Europe, what lessons does the Presidency think that Member States can learn from the failure of the European Social Model as they try to promote the Lisbon Agenda?


As the Honourable Member will recall, one of the three key challenges highlighted by Tony Blair, in his keynote speech to this Parliament in June [and again earlier today], was how to respond to the challenge of globalisation, particularly the need to modernise the European Social Model.

As the European Council stressed at its meeting in March 2005, five years after the launch of the Lisbon Strategy, the results are mixed. Alongside undeniable progress, there are serious shortcomings and delay in Europe’s delivery on its ambitious reform commitments. We only have to look at the figures on potential growth and productivity to recognise the scale of the challenge. EU Heads agreed the need for action in March and committed to reinvigorating the Lisbon Strategy, with a particular focus on “jobs and growth”. The submission of National Reform Programmes by each Member State is an important demonstration of this renewed commitment.

It’s vital to focus on delivering the results that matter to our citizens. With around 19 million people unemployed across Europe, and almost half of them long-term unemployed, its clear that much progress needs to be made. For that, we need concerted effort - between Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament. We need to clearly identify where EU level action is needed and where national and indeed regional governments are best placed to deliver the necessary changes. As the Commission’s paper for the Informal Heads of Government Meeting tomorrow makes clear, “with growth, and more Europeans in more productive jobs, we can achieve the outcomes which meet Europeans’ expectations and values.”….“modernisation is essential to continue to keep Europe’s historically high levels of prosperity, social cohesion, environmental protection and quality of life.”


Question no 33 by Robert Atkins (H-0855/05)
 Subject: Treatment of journalists

Why has the Presidency provided such poor facilities and extended such poor treatment to journalists during Ministerial meetings in the United Kingdom since 1 July 2005? To what extent is the Presidency embarrassed by this state of affairs? To what extent has it has had a negative effect on the image and public perception of Britain and Britain's Presidency of the EU? How accurately does this treatment reflect media reports which claim that it is symbolic of the British Government's coolness towards the EU? What steps has the Presidency taken to ensure that journalists are treated with more courtesy and provided with better facilities at meetings during the remainder of the British Presidency?


The informal meetings which take place in the country of the Presidency are exclusively and directly managed by the Presidency's administration.


Question no 34 by Neil Parish (H-0856/05)
 Subject: Effective policy for agriculture

In the light of the hostile reception given to the President-in-Office of the Agriculture Council when he appeared before the European Parliament, does the British Presidency really believe that it can take effective action in the agricultural sphere, especially when we see attempts being made on a number of key issues - reform the EU sugar regime, the new rural development guidelines and avian influenza - to delay the procedures so that the final decisions on these legislative proposals will be taken under the Austrian Presidency?


The Council wishes to assure the Honourable Member of its firm intention to make progress on the full range of agricultural dossiers currently under examination with co-operation of the European Parliament.

As regards sugar, the Presidency intends to keep up the pace of preparation so as to ensure that the EU will be in a position to present a clear position on sugar at the Doha Round, and will be able to adopt the legislative package, as soon as the European Parliament has given its opinion. Early decisions on the Commission’s reform proposals are vital given the expiry of the existing regime on 1 July 2006.

Regarding the Community's strategic guidelines for rural development, the technical examination of the proposal by the different Council bodies of the Council is well advanced. So the Presidency foresees a discussion on this item by the Council in November. It hopes that the Council Decision will be adopted later, following receipt of the European Parliament's opinion.

With regard to avian influenza, work within the competent Council bodies is also well advanced. The Presidency intends to complete work on this dossier by the December Agriculture Council. The Council has of course activated the urgency procedure and requested the European Parliament to give its Opinion at its mini session in November, so that the Council can still adopt the Directive on avian influenza in December 2005.


Question no 35 by Syed Kamall (H-0859/05)
 Subject: Corporate tax

The European Commission has taken steps towards the development of a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB), despite the opposition of a number of Member States, including the United Kingdom. The Commission has said that there are no plans to harmonise tax rates and that it will create a system that is more transparent and which offers easier comparisons. What are the Presidency's main objections to the Commission's proposals?


There are, at present, no legislative proposals from the Commission before the Council for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base, as referred to by the Honourable Member.


Question no 36 by Malcolm Harbour (H-0860/05)
 Subject: De-regulation

Given the UK Presidency's stated aim of reducing bureaucracy, what specific percentage targets for the reduction of the 80 000-page acquis communautaire has the Council set for the Commission and over what period? How far has the Council progressed in setting targets for a reduction in the cost burden of European regulation, and when will those targets be published?


The Honourable Member will be aware that Better regulation – including simplification of existing legislation, strengthened use of impact assessments in and efforts to reduce the administrative burdens on business – is a high priority for the Council and for this Presidency. The Competitiveness Council will hold a policy debate on the Better Regulation agenda at its meeting on 28/29 November and will address the Commission's [recent] Communication on simplification and the result of the Commission's screening package. Pending that debate, the Council is not in a position to set precise targets for simplifying the regulatory framework. It is clear, however, that the Council is fully committed to playing its part. We look forward to continuing to work with this Parliament and the Commission to deliver better quality legislation, that is easier to apply, less burdensome on economic operators and thereby more effective.


Question no 37 by Ryszard Czarnecki (H-0863/05)
 Subject: EU involvement in the elections to the Palestinian Authority

The European Commission is supporting the elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council scheduled for January 2006. Hamas, a terror organisation which, time and again, has called for the destruction of the State of Israel and an ascendant power among the Palestinian public, was placed on the EU list of terrorist organisations in June 2004. The EU has clearly stated in the past that armed actions cannot be part of an electoral process.

What actual measures will the EU and the EUEOM implement to prevent the possibility of Hamas gaining official political power, and in what ways will the EU and the EUEOM coordinate its efforts with the Israeli authorities?


The way in which the EU would support the forthcoming elections to the Palestinian Legislative Council, to which the Honourable Member of the European Parliament refers in his question, remains at present under consideration by the Council and the Commission.

The EU unreservedly stands by the view of the Quartet that ultimately those who want to be a part of the political process should not engage in armed activities.


Pergunta nº 38 do Pedro Guerreiro (H-0865/05)
 Assunto: Actividade piscatória e o aumento dos combustíveis

Na sequência de tomadas de posição dos pescadores e suas organizações representativas sobre as consequências do aumento dos combustíveis para o sector das pescas, o Conselho de Ministros da Agricultura e Pescas, de 19 e 20 de Setembro, incompreensivelmente, apenas, e uma vez mais, "tomou nota" da situação, não decidindo nenhuma medida que dê resposta ao problema.

Como os pescadores têm alertado, o aumento do preço dos combustíveis está a causar grandes dificuldades ao sector, estando em causa a viabilidade de muitas embarcações se não forem tomadas medidas imediatas, como, por exemplo, o apoio financeiro que minimize o aumento do custo dos combustíveis.

Saliente-se que o aumento dos combustíveis vem agravar a já difícil situação de muitos pescadores da pesca artesanal que não contam com qualquer apoio que contribua para minorar as consequências dos sucessivos aumentos dos combustíveis.

Pelo que - independentemente de outras acções a longo prazo -, que medidas imediatas de apoio ao sector, nomeadamente à pequena pesca artesanal, pensa o Conselho tomar?


The Council is aware of the importance of this issue to the fishing industry. However, the Council cannot take any decisions on the rising fuel prices for fishermen without a Commission proposal to address the problem. Nonetheless, Ministers at the Agricultural and Fisheries Council in September had a useful exchange of views on this subject.


Ερώτηση αρ. 39 του κ. Αθανασίου Παφίλη (H-0869/05)
 Θέμα: Σύλληψη του Σιν Γκάρλαντ

Οι βρετανικές αρχές προχώρησαν στις 8 Οκτώβρη στη σύλληψη από ειδικές δυνάμεις του Σιν Γκάρλαντ, προέδρου του Εργατικού Κόμματος Ιρλανδίας σε κεντρικό εστιατόριο στο Μπέλφαστ Ιρλανδίας. Η πολιτική δίωξη που ασκείται με ανυπόστατες και χαλκευμένες κατηγορίες σε βάρος του γνωστού για την αντιμπεριαλιστική δράση του ηγέτη του Εργατικού Κόμματος και η σύλληψή του κατά τη διάρκεια του Συνεδρίου του Κόμματος συνοδεύονται από την απειλή έκδοσής του στις ΗΠΑ λόγω των κίβδηλων κατηγοριών που διοχέτευσαν μυστικές υπηρεσίες σε Μέσα Μαζικής Ενημέρωσης για κομμουνιστική συνομωσία υπόσκαψης του αμερικανικού δολαρίου.

Tί μέτρα πρόκειται να λάβει τo Συμβούλιο για να γίνουν σεβαστά τα βασικά δικαιώματα και οι ανθρώπινες ελευθερίες, να σταματήσουν οι διώξεις και οι πολιτικές μεθοδεύσεις σε βάρος του Σιν Γκάρλαντ και να εμποδιστεί η αναίτια έκδοσή του στις ΗΠΑ;


This is not an issue for the Council, but one for the UK and US Governments.


Vraag nr. 40 van Johan Van Hecke (H-0872/05)
 Betreft: Kapen van een schip met voedselhulp in Somalië

In Somalië is weer een schip gekaapt met hulpgoederen. Het is de tweede keer in enkele maanden tijd dat een boot met noodhulp wordt gekaapt. De hulpgoederen zijn eigendom van het Voedselagentschap van de Verenigde Naties. De hulporganisatie noemt het een schande dat een kleine groep van profiteurs hulpgoederen steelt die bestemd zijn voor hun eigen, noodlijdende Somalische landgenoten.

Zoals u weet, is Somalië helemaal in handen van gewapende bendes en is de arme bevolking het kind van de rekening. Wat is de reactie van de Raad op dit voorval? Is er al overleg geweest met de Verenigde Naties om dit in de toekomst te vermijden? Worden er maatregelen getroffen? Zal het hulpprogramma voor Somalië worden aangepast aan deze situatie?


The Council holds the view that episodes such as the recent hijackings of ships carrying food aid to Somalia can be prevented only by lasting peace in Somalia and the re-establishment of a functioning State. This can be achieved solely through a peaceful and inclusive process, led by the Somalis themselves.

The EU therefore continues to give its full support to the Somali peace and reconciliation process and the Transitional Federal Institutions and to actively work for dialogue and consensus-building among all parties in Somalia.


Question n° 41 de Kader Arif (H-0876/05)
 Objet: Coopération entre régions dans le cadre du processus de Barcelone

Le mois prochain, les chefs d'État de l'Union européenne rencontreront dix de leurs homologues méditerranéens à l'occasion du dixième anniversaire du processus de Barcelone célébrant le partenariat euro-méditerranéen. En septembre 2004, la Commission a présenté un règlement visant à la création d'un instrument européen de voisinage et de partenariat.

Comment le Conseil compte-t-il relancer le processus de Barcelone et ce, sans qu'il perde sa visibilité et son contenu dans le cadre plus large de la politique de voisinage? Dans cet instrument de voisinage, une attention particulière est portée à la coopération entre régions. Comme de nombreuses régions d'Europe, je suis convaincu de la nécessité d'une politique s'inspirant du modèle de la politique de cohésion régionale et complémentaire des interventions de la nouvelle politique de voisinage. Dans cet instrument, il est également prévu que le FEDER cofinance le volet de la coopération transfrontalière.

Quel rôle le Conseil compte-t-il attribuer aux régions dans la relance du processus? Quel soutien technique et financier l'Union européenne pourrait-elle apporter aux actions conjointes des régions des deux rives de la Méditerranée?


The Council hopes that, by holding, for the first time ever, of a Euro-Mediterranean Summit of Heads of State and Government on 27-28 November, it will indeed increase the visibility of the Barcelona Process. The event will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Barcelona Declaration and give a strong signal in support of the Barcelona Process. The intention is to adopt a Declaration of commitments and a five year work programme with concrete medium term commitments on essential economic, educational, governance, counter-terrorism and migration reforms. This will contribute to making the Process more visible and meaningful and also more relevant to the citizens of the region. The upcoming Summit will also be an opportunity to underline the need to strengthen dialogue at all levels, including between regional and local administrations.

The Euro-Mediterranean Ministerial Conference held in Luxembourg on 30-31 May 2005 recognised the need to bring the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership closer to citizens’ concerns and acknowledged the importance of cities and regions in the area: local and regional authorities need to be more closely involved in, take stock of their common challenges and exchange experiences and best practices.

The European Neighbourhood Policy should enhance the Barcelona Process by building on its achievements and by encompassing measures to develop its regional and national dimensions. With regard to the EU technical and financial support to the Euro-Mediterranean region, the Commission has submitted a proposal for a ENPI (European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument) draft Regulation. This proposal is currently under discussion within the Council.


Ερώτηση αρ. 42 του κ. Γεωργίου Τούσσα (H-0877/05)
 Θέμα: Κάμερες παρακολούθησης

Με προσφυγή του στο Συμβούλιο της Επικρατείας, το Υπουργείο Δημόσιας Τάξης της Ελλάδας ζητεί την ακύρωση της απόφασης της Αρχής Προστασίας Δεδομένων, που επιτρέπει την υπό όρους λειτουργία εκατοντάδων καμερών λήψης εικόνας και ήχου μόνο για την κυκλοφορία, και ζητεί να λειτουργούν οι κάμερες με όλες τις δυνατότητές τους και να είναι αξιοποιήσιμα τα στοιχεία που συγκεντρώνουν, ακόμη και αυστηρώς προσωπικού χαρακτήρα, από τις διωκτικές και δικαστικές αρχές για πρόληψη και εξιχνίαση σοβαρών αξιόποινων πράξεων κατά τη διάρκεια συγκεντρώσεων, μαζικών συναθροίσεων κλπ. Είναι όμως γνωστό, όπως έδειξε και ειδική έρευνα που διενεργήθηκε με εντολή του Υπουργείου Εσωτερικών του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου, ότι αυτού του είδους τα μέτρα δεν συμβάλλουν στη μείωση της εγκληματικότητας, ενώ περιορίζουν δραστικά έως εξαλείφουν παντελώς στοιχειώδη δικαιώματα, όπως αυτό της προσωπικής και κοινωνικής ζωής.

Θεωρεί το Συμβούλιο ότι η ασφυκτική αστυνόμευση και η μετατροπή των πάντων σε υπόπτους αποτελεί αποτελεσματικό μέτρο για τη βελτίωση της ζωής ενός λαού, και ότι η παρακολούθηση και καταγραφή των λαϊκών συναθροίσεων συνιστά ωμή παραβίαση θεμελιωδών δημοκρατικών δικαιωμάτων;


As set out in Article 33 of the Treaty of the European Union, measures to maintain law and order and the safeguarding of internal security are a matter for the Member States. In adopting any policing measures, all Member States are bound by common standards on human rights as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

As the Home Secretary said in his speech to the European Parliament on 7 September, we all need to be sure that we are striking the right balance between our collective security and our fundamental rights.


Question no 43 by Laima Liucija Andrikienė (H-0879/05)
 Subject: Security in the Baltic Sea region: Demilitarisation of the Kaliningrad Oblast

On 15 September 2005, a Russian fighter aircraft flying to Kaliningrad equipped with missiles crashed in Lithuania. This time, there were no victims or major damage. This is, however, a deeply alarming incident, which forms part of a wider pattern of issues involving violations of the airspace of EU Member States by Russia, despite the explicit written undertakings given by Russia and the EU and international principles which call for respect for the territorial integrity of all parties.

What is the Council's opinion about the demilitarisation of Kaliningrad Oblast? Does it not think that the heavily armed and fortified region of the Kaliningrad Oblast should be demilitarised so as to increase security in the Baltic region and avoid such accidents in the future?


The Council confirms that it is indeed fully aware of the incident referred to. The Council has not taken a position on the fighter jet crash or the demilitarisation of Kaliningrad.


KYSYMYS NRO 44 Reino Paasilinna (H-0881/05)
 Aihe: i2010-strategia

Komission i2010-strategia on keskeinen väline Lissabonin tavoitteiden, työllisyyden ja kasvun saavuttamiseksi. Strategian ensisijaisena tavoitteena on varmistaa, että Euroopassa muokataan toimintaympäristö, joka tekee mahdolliseksi tieto- ja viestintätekniikan markkinoiden kukoistamisen samanaikaisesti kun taataan, että yhteiskunnalliset ja kansalaisten intressit toteutuvat. Nämä tavoitteet toteutuvat ainoastaan, mikäli niiden saavuttamiseksi taataan riittävät resurssit.

Miten neuvosto aikoo rohkaista jäsenmaita konkreettisiin toimiin, jotta ne saavuttaisivat Lissabonin tavoitteet ja erityisesti i2010-strategiassa esitetyt Euroopan suurinta kasvualaa, tieto- ja viestintätekniikkaa, koskevat investointitavoitteet tutkimukseen ja tuotekehitykseen?

Minkälaista poliittista tukea neuvosto aikoo antaa i2010-aloitteelle? Miten neuvosto aikoo ottaa huomioon parlamentin näkemyksen aiheesta? Miten neuvosto aikoo puolustaa i2010:n tavoitteiden toteutumista? Voiko neuvosto vahvistaa, että nämä näkemykset tulevat huomioon otetuiksi rahoituskehyksistä päätettäessä?


The March Spring Council confirmed knowledge and innovation as the engines of sustainable growth and important elements of a reinvigorated Lisbon “jobs and growth” strategy. ICT take-up is cited among the Lisbon integrated guidelines and should feature in many Member States’ Lisbon National Reform Programmes.

i2010 is an important strand of the EU's ICT work. As Presidency, we hosted a conference in September for governments and business representatives from across the EU, as well a number of other countries, including South Korea, Japan and Switzerland, to explore and actively contribute to defining the i2010 ICT strategy. We would like to see a forward-looking i2010 initiative that commits the EU to developing a competitive, inclusive and innovative information society that helps deliver our Lisbon goals. We welcome this Parliament’s contribution to this important project.

The Council is currently examining the Commission's i2010 proposal. Of course, any funding for i2010 will have to be consistent with the budget agreed for the next financial perspective (2007-2013).


Ερώτηση αρ. 45 της κ. Διαμάντως Μανωλάκου (H-0882/05)
 Θέμα: ΗΠΑ: Χιλιάδες παιδιά σε ισόβια

Σύμφωνα με έκθεση των οργανώσεων "Human Rights Watch" και "Διεθνής Αμνηστία" χιλιάδες παιδιά κάτω από 18 χρονών εκτίουν ποινές ισόβιας κάθειρξης σε φυλακές των ΗΠΑ, αφού σε 42 Πολιτείες επιτρέπεται η επιβολή της ποινής της ισόβιας κάθειρξης σε ανήλικους. Από τους 2225 νεαρούς ισοβίτες που κρατούνται σήμερα σε αμερικάνικες φυλακές, το 16% είχε αδικοπραγήσει σε ηλικία 13-15 ετών, ενώ το 59% έχει καταδικαστεί σε ισόβια χωρίς δικαίωμα αναστολής, παρόλο που πρόκειται για την πρώτη εγκληματική τους πράξη. Στην ίδια έκθεση αναφέρεται ότι οι νεαροί μαύροι που είναι καταδικασμένοι σε αυτό το είδος ποινής είναι δεκαπλάσιοι από τους λευκούς.

Έχει γνώση το Συμβούλιο για αυτήν την επαίσχυντη νομική και πραγματική κατάσταση που ισχύει στις ΗΠΑ, και που παραβιάζει κάθε έννοια κράτους δικαίου; Έχει λάβει υπόψη τις συνέπειες της διαβίβασης πληροφοριών στις αρχές των ΗΠΑ, όταν η χώρα αυτή εφαρμόζει νόμους που παραβιάζουν κατάφωρα τα θεμελιώδη δικαιώματα και εισάγουν βάναυσες διακρίσεις; Σκοπεύει να αναλάβει πρωτοβουλίες σε διεθνές επίπεδο για να καταδικαστούν τέτοιου είδους ενέργειες και να προστατευτούν τα δικαιώματα των παιδιών και η ανθρώπινη αξιοπρέπεια;


The Council is of course aware of these reports. The EU holds bi-annual human rights consultations with the United States. During those meetings, as well during meetings in the context of the United Nations and other relevant organisations, the EU regularly raises the ratification and application of international human rights standards, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of Forms of Racial Discrimination The EU successfully submitted an amicus curiae letter to the US Supreme Court on the abolition of capital punishment for minors, following which on 1 March this year, the Court held that the execution of juvenile offenders is “cruel and unusual punishment” prohibited by the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution.


Anfrage Nr. 46 von Hans-Peter Martin (H-0883/05)
 Betrifft: Ruhestand für Beamte

Wie evaluiert der Rat die Entwicklung um die Ruhestandsregelung für Beamte der EU-Kommission, insbesondere, was den vorzeitigen Ruhestand betrifft? Sieht der Rat Anlass zur Sorge?

Trifft es zu, dass nach Anhang XIII Artikel 23 des Statuts der EU-Beamten Beamte bereits mit 50 Jahren in den Ruhestand gehen können, und würde der Rat aus heutiger Sicht wieder so eine Entscheidung zulassen?


The retirement measures to which the Honourable Member refers were introduced in the Staff Regulations of Officials of the European Communities, which entered into force on 1 May 2004.

They form part of an in-depth reform of retirement arrangements for officials which, in particular, raised the minimum pensionable age from 60 to 63 and the minimum age for early retirement from 50 to 55. These decisions affect not only new officials but also, with transitional measures, those in service before the reform's entry into force.

The only officials who would benefit from transitional measures permitting them to retire at 50 would be those who were at least 45 years of age as of 1 May 2004. Moreover, the transitional measures also include financial disincentives for those choosing to retire before the age of 65.

The reform of the Staff Regulations was the most significant part of the EU's work to modernise the institutions under the last Commission. The compromise package agreed included many important elements, including the modernisation of the pay and allowances system as well as the overhaul of the pensions system.


Anfrage Nr. 53 von Markus Pieper (H-0783/05)
 Betrifft: Klimawandel

Die Erde ist dem Klimawandel aufgrund natürlicher (Umlaufbahn, Vulkane) und exogener Faktoren (Meteoriten) ausgesetzt. Anthropogene Faktoren der letzten 2000 Jahre sind bislang nicht exakt quantifizierbar. Schätzungen aktueller Studien zufolge werden sämtliche Gegenmaßnahmen in den nächsten 100 Jahren eine Temperaturabsenkung von 0,1°C bewirken.

Stehen EU-Zwangsmaßnahmen zur Energieeinsparung (mit wirtschaftlichen Einbußen, Bürokratieaufwand) in einem angemessenen Verhältnis zu den real erreichbaren Temperatur-Senkungen?

Welche Umwelt- und Infrastrukturvorhaben sieht die Kommission vor, um die Menschheit auf die definitiv stattfindende Verschiebung der Klimazonen vorzubereiten?


Climate Change is happening. The overwhelming scientific consensus is that it is caused by emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities. This has been accepted and re-iterated by the European Union’s Heads of State and government, most recently at this year’s Spring Council meeting. The European Council acknowledged that climate change is likely to have major negative global environmental, economic and social implications. It confirmed that, with a view to achieving the ultimate objective of the United Nations (UN) Framework Convention on Climate Change, the global annual mean surface temperature increase should not exceed 2ºC above pre-industrial levels.

A first step to achieve this target is through the Kyoto Protocol. The EU is committed to meeting its Kyoto target through a series of cost-effective mitigation policies, such as the EU emissions trading scheme. The Commission has also recently put forward a Green Paper on Energy Efficiency which sets out a series of cost-effective options to significantly reduce the EU’s energy consumption. These policies will also have other important benefits, such as strengthening the security of the EU’s energy supply. Under the new phase of the European Climate Change Programme, the Commission will review progress and explore new actions to systematically exploit cost-effective emission reduction options.

The EU will maintain its leadership on climate change policy. However, in discussions on the future international climate change regime, the EU will call for broad international participation on the basis of common but differentiated responsibility, in order to ensure the efficiency of the regime.

The EU will also need to adapt to unavoidable climate change. Member States are already taking various initiatives. The Commission will explore the EU’s role in adaptation policies in view of the need to integrate adaptation fully into EU policy making under the new phase of the European Climate Change Programme, which started(1) with the ECCP stakeholder conference in Brussels.


(1) yesterday, on Monday 24 October


Question no 54 by John Purvis (H-0785/05)
 Subject: Animal tallow and the Waste Incineration Directive 2000/76/CE

Rendered animal tallow (animal fat) is included in the Waste Incineration Directive 2000/76/EC(1) (WID), and after December this year it will have to be incinerated under very strict conditions. Currently it is used as a fuel in steam boilers in rendering plants and in the production of biodiesel. However, the conditions of the WID directive appear to preclude its use for these purposes. Is this not inconsistent with the Commission's environmental policy of encouraging competitive and efficient alternative energy sources?


The Commission can confirm that the Waste Incineration Directive(2) is not intended to discourage uses of waste as competitive and efficient alternative energy sources, and agrees that it is desirable that it does not have such an effect. Indeed, it favours all uses of waste that can contribute to sustainable development. In this respect, the aim of the Directive is to prevent or to limit as far as practicable negative effects on the environment, in particular pollution by emissions into air, soil, surface water and ground water, and the resulting risks to human health, when waste is incinerated or co-incinerated.

The Directive will only apply to the burning of tallow if it takes place in an incineration or co-incineration plant, and the tallow is considered “waste” as defined under the Waste Framework Directive(3). In practical cases, it is the competent authorities of the Member States that will assess on whether or not tallow is waste.

The Commission has recently received a number of representations suggesting that the costs of applying the Directive at rendering plants and slaughterhouses outweigh the benefits and will inhibit their use of tallow as a fuel. It is unfortunate that this issue has only been raised recently, and so close to the implementation deadline, even though the Directive was adopted by the Council and the Parliament five years ago, but nevertheless we must still deal with it. The Commission recognises that there is a problem in this respect, and that this issue needs to be further investigated. In this context, the Commission’s services have been instructed to undertake further analysis.

The Thematic Strategy on prevention and recycling of waste will contain measures to improve the implementation of the waste definition. This will address the issue of by-products and the specification of when particular wastes cease to be waste.


(1) OJ L 332, 28.12.2000, p. 91.
(2) Directive 2000/76/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 4 December 2000 on the incineration of waste, OJ L 332, 28.12.2000, p. 91
(3) Directive 75/442/EEC on waste , OJ L 194, 25.7.1975, p. 39, as amended


Ερώτηση αρ. 55 του κ. Γεωργίου Παπαστάμκου (H-0796/05)
 Θέμα: Κοινοτική περιβαλλοντική νομοθεσία

Η ορθή και καλύτερη εφαρμογή της νομοθεσίας για το περιβάλλον, τόσο σε παγκόσμιο όσο και ευρωπαϊκό επίπεδο, αποτελεί προτεραιότητα για την αποτελεσματική αντιμετώπιση των περιβαλλοντικών προκλήσεων. Δεδομένων του όγκου και της πολυδιάσπασης του ευρωπαϊκού περιβαλλοντικού κεκτημένου και της ανάγκης για όσο το δυνατόν σαφή και πλήρη γνώση και εφαρμογή του εκ μέρους των αρμοδίων αρχών των κρατών μελών αλλά και των ευρωπαίων πολιτών, το αίτημα για κωδικοποίηση της κείμενης ευρωπαϊκής νομοθεσίας για το περιβάλλον παρουσιάζεται περισσότερο επίκαιρο και επιτακτικό από ποτέ.

Ενόψει των ανωτέρω, ερωτάται η Επιτροπή αν και πότε προτίθεται να προβεί στην ενοποίηση, κωδικοποίηση και ανασύνταξη της υφιστάμενης νομοθεσίας προστασίας του περιβάλλοντος; Στοχεύει η Επιτροπή να βελτιώσει ποιοτικά και να απλοποιήσει τη σχετική νομοθεσία, αποφεύγοντας κάθε περιττή τεχνικότητα που την καθιστά δυσανάγνωστη, δύσχρηστη και ως εκ τούτου μερικώς αποτελεσματική;


Over the last 4 years, the EU has launched a broad strategy to improve the regulatory environment and thus provide a more effective, efficient and transparent regulatory system for the benefit of citizens and reinforce competitiveness, growth and sustainable development, contributing to the Lisbon’s objectives.

The Commission proposed in June 2002 a comprehensive Action Plan for ‘simplifying and improving the regulatory environment’(1) and in February 2003 presented an ambitious simplification programmedesigned to simplify and up-date the existing EU legislation, and reduce its volume(2).

In March 2005, the Commission adopted a communication on “Better Regulation for Growth and Jobs(3) as a contribution to re-launch the Lisbon strategy, announcing its intention to launch a new phase of its simplification programme by October 2005 building on sectoral approach and with extensive stakeholder involvement.

The Commission attaches great importance to proper and better implementation of environmental legislation. It has engaged in a continuous codification and consolidation programme, which includes, inter alia, Community environmental legislation. As of October 2005, codification is ongoing in respect of acts in fields such as water protection and nature conservation.

But, far beyond codification and what could be seen a looking backward approach, the Commission has, as already said, committed itself to improve the lawmaking process by assessing the impacts of new proposals, holding public consultations and ensuring that policy options are suitable for effective implementation on the ground; the Commission intends to develop further this new approach. This commitment finds its demonstration in particular in the preparation of seven thematic strategies for the environment, which will greatly contribute to modernising environmental policy and legislation. The first thematic strategy was adopted by the Commission on 21 September 2005 and concerns air quality. It will lead, inter alia, to five pieces of existing legislation being merged into one comprehensive ambient air quality Directive. The forthcoming thematic strategy on waste prevention and recycling will also entail, as a follow-up measure, the recast and repeal of four waste Directives. A similar exercise should also be undertaken in the coming years in the field of emissions from industrial installations. These initiatives should be part, among others, of the simplification rolling programme the Commission will adopt in principle on 25 October 2005.


(1) COM(2002) 278, June 2002. The key measures are: (1) minimum standards of consultation; (2) guidelines on the collection and use of expertise; (3) impact assessment; (4) up-dating and simplifying existing legislation; (5) reinforcing control of transposition of Community law; (6) more attention to the choice of instruments and more use of alternatives to legislation; (7) use of a review clause in legislative acts; (8) closer monitoring of the decision-making process of EU legislation, notably through wider use of the possibility to withdraw proposals when they are obsolete or when amendments introduced by the Parliament and/or the Council denature the proposals.
(2) Communication on ‘Updating and simplifying the Community acquis’, COM(2003) 71, February 2003.
(3) Cf. COM (2005) 97.


Fråga nr 56 från Åsa Westlund (H-0822/05)
 Angående: Kommissionen måste bli aktivare i sin miljöpolitik

Människor som lever vid Östersjön kan inte längre fiska på samma sätt som förut. I somras gick det inte ens att bada i Östersjön på grund av algblomning. Utfiskning och förorening av vatten är bara ett av de många miljöhot EU står inför. EU:s invånare ger i Eurobarometern uttryck för stora förväntningar på att EU ska föra en ambitiös miljöpolitik. Därför är det mycket oroande att kommissionens arbete med ny lagstiftning på miljöområdet har bromsats in.

– Varför har kommissionen inte klarat av att följa den tidsplan för bland annat de tematiska strategier som utlovats? När avser kommissionen att presentera de tematiska strategier, inklusive strategin för hållbar utveckling, som utlovats?


Our environment is endangered by very important threats and pressures. The Commission remains firmly committed to tackling and pursuing all three dimensions of Sustainable Development, including its environment component, in an integrated and balanced manner and in full compliance with the subsidiarity and proportionality principles. This is reflected in this year’s work programme.

The review of the Sustainable Development Strategy is ongoing and the Thematic Strategies called for in the 6th Environment Action Programme were all foreseen for adoption in the 2005 Commission Legislative and Work Programme. There has been no decision to remove them from the Work Programme or to deliberately delay their adoption.

Rather, given that the review of the Sustainable Development Strategy and the Thematic Strategies are important initiatives that include actions to be taken in many sectors (e.g. agriculture, industry) and concern directly EU citizens, the Commission wants to give them very careful consideration. For instance, the Commission held an orientation debate on the Thematic Strategies in July which showed general support for maintaining ambitious but realistic objectives for the environment. The review of the Sustainable Development Strategy has involved a step-wise approach with extensive stakeholder consultations in 2004 and 2005, a first Commission Communication in February 2005 about the main orientations of the review and adoption of a declaration on guiding principles by the European Council in June.

We are now in a final phase. The Commission adopted the first Thematic Strategy on Air pollution, on 21 September. The Marine Strategy is scheduled for adoption this month and will contribute to addressing some of the issues the Honourable Member is specifically concerned about.

Four Strategies will be adopted in November and December 2005. The remaining Pesticides Strategy will come in 2006 given that two substantial measures to be referred to in the Strategy the revision of Directive 91/414/EEC on placing pesticides on the market and the Eurostat proposal on pesticide statistics will not be ready in 2005. It makes sense to wait until these proposals are ready and present one single package of measures.

The revised Sustainable Development Strategy is scheduled for adoption by the Commission in December. The Commission looks forward to broad-based support from the Council and the Parliament, and endorsement by the Heads of States and Government at the June European Council.


Pergunta nº 57 do Jamila Madeira (H-0837/05)
 Assunto: Estratégias Temáticas em Matéria Ambiental

Pergunta-se à Comissão quais as razões que sustentam a sua decisão de atrasar a apresentação, e consequente implementação, das Estratégias Temáticas em Matéria Ambiental, no âmbito do 6º Programa de Acção Ambiental. Dado o incumprimento dos prazos previstos pelo Programa Legislativo da Comissão Europeia, em 2005, em matéria de ambiente, para apresentação das referidas estratégias, para quando prevê a Comissão apresentar as suas propostas?


The Commission’s legislative and work programme foresees the adoption of all Thematic Strategies in 2005. There has been no decision to delay their adoption.

Rather, given that the Thematic Strategies are important initiatives that include actions to be taken in other sectors (e.g. agriculture, industry) the Commission held an orientation debate on them in July. This showed general support for maintaining ambitious objectives for the environment. The Commission therefore confirmed that it was necessary to bring forward the Thematic Strategies in 2005.

Current planning foresees the adoption of six of the seven Strategies in 2005. The Commission adopted the first, on Air pollution, on 21 September. The Marine Strategy is scheduled for adoption this month. The 5 remaining ones will be adopted in the last months of the year. The Pesticides Strategy will come in 2006 given that two substantial measures to be referred to in the Strategy the revision of Directive 91/414/EEC on placing pesticides on the market and the Eurostat proposal on pesticide statistics will not be ready this year.


Question n° 58 de Marie Anne Isler Béguin (H-0840/05)
 Objet: Accès du public aux études toxicologiques et environnementales sur les OGM

Lors de la réunion du 19.9.2005 du Comité d'experts du Conseil, la France a mis à l'ordre du jour (document: ENV/05/11), un débat relatif à l'interprétation à donner à l'article 25 de la directive 2001/18/CE relatif à la confidentialité des données d'un dossier OGM. Par ailleurs, la Commission française d'accès aux documents administratifs a rendu, le 8 avril 2005, un avis qui précise que "seules peuvent être regardées comme protégées par l'obligation prévue à l'article 25 (...), les informations relatives au procédé d'obtention de l'OGM ou à sa commercialisation et dont la divulgation serait susceptible de nuire à la position concurrentielle de l'entreprise qui a sollicité l'autorisation.". La décision de la Cour de justice de Münster, le 20 juin 2005, d'obliger la Société Monsanto à publier son étude toxicologique "confidentielle" relative au maïs OGM MON 863, va dans le même sens. Nous estimons que les études toxicologiques et environnementales établies dans le cadre de l'évaluation des risques d'un OGM doivent être communiquées au public, en vertu de l'article 25, paragraphe 4 et de l'annexe II paragraphe C.2 de la directive 2001/18/CE(1).

La Commission européenne partage-t-elle notre avis? Si non, pour quelles raisons juridiques et politiques? Si oui, est-elle d'accord pour mettre immédiatement à disposition du Parlement européen et des citoyens les études toxicologiques et environnementales relatives à tous les OGM approuvés par l'Union et ceux qui sont en cours d'examen pour approbation au sein de l'Union?


Directive 2001/18/EC, on the deliberate release of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) into the environment, stipulates that it is the competent authority of the Member State, not the Commission, which decides, after consultation with the notifier of the GM product, which information in the notification should be kept confidential. The Directive also specifies certain information which can in no case be kept confidential. Apart from this, the Member State competent authority is required to respect national legislation in this domain as well as to protect the competitive position of the notifier in its decisions on confidentiality.

There are currently differing opinions among Member States on whether the disclosure of documents such as toxicological studies could be harmful to the competitive position of a notifier and should therefore be treated as confidential. This is why France raised this question at the meeting on 19 September. It is important that Member States and the Commission exchange information on this issue so as to ensure consistency in decision-making. As a general principle, the Commission considers that it is preferable to be as transparent as possible and to limit confidentiality to aspects of the notification which represent a real risk to the competitive position of the notifier. It also considers that documents required for the analysis of a risk assessment should be made available to the public.

The Commission has asked the Member States to submit, in writing, the principles applied in practice in the Member States regarding confidentiality under Directive 2001/18/EC. There will then be a fuller discussion at the next meeting of the competent authorities, provisionally scheduled for 8 November 2005.


(1) JO L 106 du 17.4.2001, p. 1.


Ερώτηση αρ. 59 του κ. Αθανασίου Παφίλη (H-0870/05)
 Θέμα: Ρύπανση του Πηνειού ποταμού

Ο Πηνειός ποταμός είναι ζωτικής σημασίας για τη διατήρηση και την ανάπτυξη του οικοσυστήματος της Θεσσαλίας. Σύμφωνα με τελευταίες μετρήσεις είναι από τους πλέον επιβαρημένους ποταμούς της Ευρώπης, με τις ανάλογες αρνητικές συνέπειες στο οικοσύστημα. Τα αίτια για την κατάσταση αυτή εντοπίζονται στην απόρριψη αποβλήτων από βιομηχανίες, σφαγεία, βαφεία κλπ, στη ρίψη σκουπιδιών από διάφορους δήμους καθώς και σε υπολείμματα φυτοφαρμάκων και λιπασμάτων.

Σκοπεύει η Επιτροπή να ενισχύσει μέτρα που θα εμποδίζουν την περαιτέρω ρύπανση του ποταμού και θα βοηθούν στην αποκατάσταση του οικοσυστήματος;


The Honourable Member’s question about the pollution of the River Pinios raises the issue of implementation of EU environmental legislation. There are already a number of instruments in Community environmental legislation which Member States can use to reduce the pollution of rivers and to improve the quality of associated ecosystems. For example, the Water Framework Directive requires Member States to achieve good quality of all waters by 2015. This demands that Member States take a step-by-step approach, which consists, firstly, in the analysis of pressures and impacts, secondly, in the identification and elaboration of the necessary measures to reach the good quality of all waters, and, finally, in the implementation of these measures. Equally, the implementation of a number of other Directives is expected to be relevant in this context. This is for example the case of the Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, of the Nitrates Directive and of the Habitats Directive.

Appropriate EU legislative instruments, therefore, already exist in this area. The problems mentioned by the Honourable Member in his questions are due to a lack of correct implementation of the existing legislation.

In this context, the Commission is particularly worried that Greece is one of only two EU countries which have not yet delivered the crucial first step of the Water Framework Directive, the environmental assessment of pressures and impacts under this Directive.

Consequently, the Commission has commenced a legal procedure against Greece for not complying with the relevant provisions of the Directive. A few days ago, on 18 October 2005, the Commission has sent final warnings to Greece – as well as to Italy and Spain – for not complying with basic provisions under the EU Water Framework Directive. The timely designation of their river basin districts, which should have been done already in June 2004, is one of the important building blocs needed to achieve good quality of all water resources.

These legal steps are complementary to already ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Directive on Nitrates Pollution from Agricultural Sources and the Habitats Directive. In relation to this latter, the Commission refers for more detail to its response to written question E-1700/05 by Mr Dimitrios Papadimoulis.

At the same time, the Commission would like to recall the comprehensive funding instruments that are available for water protection and to assist in implementation of the Community acquis when the funding conditions are met. This is particularly the case for the Cohesion Fund Regulation and the Rural Development Regulation under the new Common Agricultural Policy.


Fråga nr 64 från Anna Hedh (H-0824/05)
 Angående: Europeiska kvinnors deltagande i fredsförebyggande arbete

Vid det nyligen avslutade FN-toppmötet i New York beslutades på initiativ av ett antal kvinnliga utrikesministrar att skapa en fredsförebyggande kommission för att bistå länder att hantera övergången från konflikt till hållbar fred. Erfarenhet visar att kvinnors engagemang i fredsförebyggande arbete är oerhört viktigt. Hur kommer kommissionen att agera för att europeiska kvinnor och representanter för kvinnoorganisationer från EU-länderna blir delaktiga i detta?


The establishment of the Peacebuilding Commission is one of the centrepieces of the decisions taken by the more than 170 Heads of State and Government who gathered in New York for the United Nations (UN) Summit this September.

This should become operational already by the end of this year. This is good – the Peacebuilding Commission fills a current gap in the UN system. It should allow the international community to respond to the needs of countries emerging from a conflict in a more effective and coordinated way, and ensure a better transition from immediate post-conflict assistance to the development of strategies for a peaceful and sustainable development in the longer term.

As Europeans we can bring leadership and expertise to the Peacebuilding Commission, based on our longstanding experience of peacebuilding all over the world.

In relation to the Distinguished Member’s question, the Commission would in this context like to underline that it fully agrees on the importance of the involvement of both women and men in peacebuilding. We need to ensure the involvement not only of European women and organisations in the process, but also, and this is particularly important, the women of the country struggling to rebuild after a conflict.

Gender equality is a fundamental principle of the EU’s foreign and security policy and external relations. The EU is in this context fully committed to implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 of October 2000 concerning women, peace and security. This was underlined by the Council earlier this year (GAERC February). It can be noted that several Council bodies are in fact right now working on specific recommendations on how to implement this Resolution in concrete terms within the European Security and Defence Policy.


Question no 65 by Gay Mitchell (H-0830/05)
 Subject: Parliament's role in foreign policy

What role does the Commission see for Parliament in the area of foreign policy?


The Commission attaches great importance to Parliament’s contribution to shaping the Union’s foreign policy. Together with other RELEX Commissioners, the Commissioner in charge of External Relations made this clear during the confirmation hearings of this Commission and the Commission values the constructive two-way exchanges with Parliament on this important policy area.

The Parliament’s formal role in the Common Foreign and Security Policy/European Security and Defence Policy is defined by the limits of the Treaties. But in practical terms the Parliament has made full use of its consultative and supervisory opportunities.

The Commission sees foreign policy in a broader sense covering the full range of external actions of the European Union including development policy and trade policy. Other first pillar policies, such as the environment, energy, research and transport, also all have an important external dimension, and the Parliament exercises important powers as co-legislator and as one arm of the budgetary authority. Besides this, the Commission is attentive to the need for Parliament’s assent to the accession of new Member States and the conclusion of certain international agreements. Indeed, in the revised Framework Agreement between our two institutions, the Commission has renewed and even heightened its commitment to keeping the Parliament informed about the negotiations for and conclusion of international agreements.

The Commission sees the Parliament as a valuable player in projecting European values around the world. This it does by means of its work in the Election Observation Missions, where this Commission has been happy to continue the tradition of appointing Members of Parliament as Chief Observers; by means of the continuing dialogue with parliaments around the world carried on in the inter-parliamentary delegations, and participation of Members of the Parliament as observers at international conferences such as the recent United Nations summit in New York where, as stated on an earlier occasion, the Commission very much appreciated the contribution of the Parliament delegation.

In conclusion, the Commission sees a very important role for the Parliament in foreign policy and external relations and it continues to consider a good working relationship with the Parliament and its committees as vital for the conduct of a strong and efficient European foreign policy.


Pergunta nº 66 do Ilda Figueiredo (H-0833/05)
 Assunto: Situação dos cinco cidadãos cubanos presos nos EUA

Depois da decisão do Grupo de Trabalho da ONU sobre os cinco cidadãos cubanos detidos nos EUA, em 27/5/2005, que considerou que "o julgamento não se realizou num clima de objectividade e imparcialidade", o Tribunal de Recurso do 11º Círculo de Atlanta, dos EUA, no passado dia 9 de Agosto, decidiu, unanimemente, anular o julgamento de Miami e, portanto, revogar as condenações dos cinco, ordenando um novo julgamento.

No entanto, até ao momento, os cinco cidadãos (António Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez, Gerardo Hernández, Ramon Sabañino e René González) permanecem presos e continuam a ser negados os vistos às esposas de René e de Gerardo pela Administração dos EUA, impedindo-as de visitar os maridos.

Não considera a Comissão que, nesta situação, a Administração dos EUA devia libertar de imediato os cinco cidadãos, presos há cerca de sete anos, depois de o Tribunal de Atlanta ter anulado o julgamento que os condenou?

Não considera inadmissível que as esposas de René González e de Gerardo Hernández sejam impedidas de visitar os seus maridos?


The Commission is aware of the case from press reporting.

However, it sees no legal or other basis on which it could offer an opinion either on the legal proceedings to which the five individuals are subject, or on conditions relating to prison visits in this case.


Question no 67 by Alojz Peterle (H-0844/05)
 Subject: How the Commission ensures that EU public funds help in the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the world?

Although the European Union strictly respects human rights, foreign aid continues to be given to countries that repeatedly ignore international standards such as those laid down in the Geneva Convention. Although foreign aid is sometimes directed towards specific projects such as housing for refugees and the provision of food to the needy, and given that the poorest countries in the world often suffer from high levels of corruption, how does the Commission ensure that public funds help in the protection and promotion of human rights throughout the world?


Respect for Human rights is an essential element in all the association and partnership agreements between the EU and third countries. Human Rights are equally a very important topic in the global and joint action plans we have set up with our partner countries in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy which has introduced an element of conditionality. With some countries, as for example with Tunisia, we have set up through the Neighbourhood Action Plan a human rights subcommittee where the implementation of commitments will be assessed and monitored.

Generally speaking, mechanisms of consultation and of political dialogue are set out in all these agreements with third countries. Serious violations of human rights and democratic principles have led in some cases to suspension or restriction of cooperation between the EU and the country concerned, for instance for Zimbabwe and Burma, where EC cooperation with the government has been suspended and only social programmes directly benefiting the populations continue to be funded.

Corruption is also part of the policy dialogue with third countries. For instance, in the Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the EU and ACP(1) countries, specific provisions under articles 9 and 97 are made for consultations between partners for serious corruption cases which can lead to appropriate measures, suspension of cooperation being the last resort. The fight against corruption is an issue considered in the preparation and the implementation of all EC development cooperation programmes. A standard clause for the fight against fraud and corruption is included in all the models of the financing agreements concluded by the Commission with beneficiary countries.

In accordance with the EC Development policy, good governance (and hence the protection of Human Rights) is considered as a cross cutting theme and is therefore systematically taken into account while designing and implementing the Commission's cooperation programmes.

Support to Human Rights and Democratisation is a priority area of EU cooperation with third countries. For the period 2000 to 2005, more than € 1 billion has been allocated by the Commission for programmes in developing countries and countries in transition providing technical and financial assistance in the following fields: Democratisation, Human Rights, Rule of Law, Elections, Support to Parliaments, Support to the Judiciary and good Governance.


(1) African, Caribbean and Pacific countries


Question n° 68 de Kader Arif (H-0846/05)
 Objet: Instrument de voisinage - Processus de Barcelone

Dans le cadre du Processus de Barcelone, dont le dixième anniversaire sera célébré en novembre de l'année en cours, il est prévu de mettre en œuvre à compter de 2007 six instruments pour les relations extérieures de l'UE, dont un instrument européen de voisinage et de partenariat. Certes une rationalisation des actuels instruments était nécessaire, mais l'instrument tel que proposé par la Commission, qui est destiné à un groupe de pays hétérogènes et membres de partenariats divers, pourra-t-il réellement être efficace? En effet, comment la Commission compte-t-elle répondre aux besoins spécifiques des pays partenaires méditerranéens dont les difficultés économiques et les enjeux démographiques ne sont plus à démontrer? Comment parviendra-t-elle à maintenir des financements adéquats pour la lutte contre la pauvreté dans l'instrument? En effet, certains pays concernés par l'instrument de voisinage sont également des pays en développement, qui ne seront donc plus éligibles au nouvel instrument de financement de la coopération au développement européen et de la coopération économique. Plus précisément, cet instrument mentionnera-t-il l'aide nécessaire à apporter à ces pays pour atteindre les Objectifs du Millénaire? Comment la Commission compte-t-elle concrètement intégrer ces objectifs dans l'instrument?


Through the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) the EU aims at promoting an area of stability, prosperity and friendly neighbourhood involving both our Eastern and Southern Neighbours.

The ENP works on the basis of bilateral Action Plans that identify priorities for action. Action Plans are jointly agreed with each partner, and keyed to its particular needs and capacities.

The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI), which should be operational from 2007 and replace both Co-operation Instrument financing assistance to Southern Mediterranean Countries (MEDA) and Technical Assistance to the Community of Independent States (Tacis), is a policy driven instrument, specifically conceived to support the ENP and the implementation of the ENP Action Plans.

Experience shows that linking more closely assistance and policy increases ownership and impact.

Many neighbouring countries are developing countries (not only across the Mediterranean). Thus ENPI has sustainable development and poverty reduction among its explicit objectives.

“Poverty reduction” and other Millennium Development Goals (MDG) objectives are Action Plan priorities. They will be part of our policy dialogue and supported with community assistance.

The specific needs and circumstances of each country, already reflected in ENP Action Plans where these have been adopted, will also be fully taken into account in our country programming.

Under ENPI the Commission has proposed a substantial increase in the assistance budget for neighbouring countries, and we count on the support of the Parliament in achieving this.


Klausimas Nr. 69, pateikė Justas Vincas Paleckis (H-0861/05)
 Tema: ES ir Kalinigrado srities bendradarbiavimo gilinimas

Prieš dvi savaites Kaliningrado srityje įvyko Europos Sąjungos ir Rusijos parlamentinio bendradarbiavimo komiteto susitikimas. Europos Parlamento nariai galėjo susipažinti su Kaliningrado sritimi ir jos problemomis. Susidaro įspūdis, kad atsiveria daugiau galimybių Europos Sąjungos ir šios Rusijos Federacijos srities bendradarbiavimui. Rusijos Dūma artimiausiu metu priims įstatymą dėl specialios ekonominės zonos Kaliningrado srityje, kuris turėtų plačiau atverti vartus investuotojams iš ES; srities gubernatoriumi tapo įtakingas Rusijos Federacijos politikas G. Boosas; Rusija pradėjo noriai kalbėti apie Europos Sąjungos ir Rusijos bendradarbiavimo "bandomąjį projektą" šioje srityje.

Kaip Europos Sąjungos Komisija numato pasinaudoti naujomis aplinkybėmis tam, kad Europos Sąjungos bendradarbiavimas su šia sritimi taptų pavyzdiniu visai Rusijai, kad šios srities gyventojai galėtų lengviau išvažiuoti į kaimynines ir kitas Europos Sąjungos šalis? Ar po to, kai Lietuva ir Lenkija prisijungs prie Šengeno susitarimo, bus išlaikytos nemokamos vizos šių šalių piliečiams įvažiuoti į Kaliningrado sritį ir kaliningradiečiams - į minėtas valstybes?


The Commission continues to be interested to cooperate with Russia to further promote development of Kaliningrad for the benefit of the whole Baltic region. Significant efforts have been made, including with regard to assistance. The Commission is happy to note that recent economic and trade indicators show that Kaliningrad is developing fast. Kaliningrad is making good use of the economic opportunities created by the EU enlargement.

Kaliningrad is a unique region, which deserves and gets exceptional attention from the EU. It is easy to agree that Kaliningrad should become an example of successful EU-Russia cooperation. But, it is difficult to see how it could become a ‘pilot project’ of EU-Russia cooperation. Development of regional legislation must be in line with the legislation of the Russian Federation. Tax benefits granted to Kaliningrad can hardly be made a general practice in Russia. And extension of similar amounts of EU-assistance to other regions of Russia would be financially impossible.

With regard to movement of people, the recently initialled Agreement on visa facilitation will ensure easier travel and contacts of people between the EU and Russia through a number of simplified procedures for issuing short-term visas. After the entry into force of the Agreement, its provisions are applicable to Kaliningrad residents, Lithuania and Poland, including after the accession of Lithuania and Poland into the Schengen agreement.


Pregunta nº 70 formulada por Raül Romeva i Rueda (H-0867/05):
 Asunto: Derechos Humanos en el Sáhara Occidental

Estos últimos días han tenido lugar una serie de hechos importantes en relación con la situación del Sáhara Occidental y que, desde la perspectiva de la UE, deberían entenderse como una nueva oportunidad para desbloquear definitivamente el contencioso que en relación con esta región viven las autoridades de Marruecos y el Frente Polisario. Teniendo en cuenta, por un lado, la liberación de los presos marroquíes retenidos hasta entonces en los campamentos saharaouis en Argelia, y, por otro, la delicada situación que viven los presos saharaouis en las prisiones marroquíes de El Aaiún,

¿Piensa instar la Comisión a las autoridades marroquíes a que liberen a los presos políticos saharaouis retenidos en El Aaiún? ¿Piensa adoptar la Comisión alguna medida de presión en el caso de que Marruecos no acepte llevar a cabo tal liberación?


La Commission a suivi de très près les événements survenus les derniers mois au Sahara Occidental. La Commission a aussi participé activement aux discussions au sein du Conseil qui ont amené à plusieurs démarches de haut niveau auprès de toutes les parties. La Commission ne dispose pas, pour ce type d’aspects politiques, d’autre cadre juridique que celui des démarches de l’Union Européenne et, dans ce contexte, elle maintiendra son appui à une solution respectueuse des droits de l’homme.

La Commission, dans l’attente que tous les efforts déployés par les différents intervenants puissent faire évoluer rapidement et en sens positif la question en objet, maintient néanmoins une position ouverte quant à l’insertion de la question dans l’agenda du prochain Conseil d’Association et ceci en fonction des éventuelles discussions au sein du groupe de travail Maghreb-Mashrek du Conseil.


Question no 71 by Inese Vaidere (H-0875/05)
 Subject: EU external borders

As the Commission knows, Russia is refusing to sign border agreements regarding the EU`s external border in two EU Member States: Latvia and Estonia.

It is clear that the signing of the border treaties between these countries and Russia is an imperative for the EU since they are the EU's most easterly external borders. In order to avoid a situation where different EU regions enjoy varying security levels, particularly cross-border security, this issue requires the specific attention of the EU, and it should be included in the EU-Russia dialogue, especially when EU-Russia negotiations on visa facilitation and re-admission are going on.

I and my colleagues in Parliament were surprised and disappointed to hear from Council and Commission officials (e.g. Mrs Ferrero-Waldner and Mr Solana) that the issue of the Latvian-Russian and Estonian-Russian border agreements are bilateral issues.

Does the Commission consider that this issue is bilateral and must be dealt with by the national governments of Latvia and Estonia? What are the Commission's plans and suggestions regarding the future action required for the conclusion of the Latvian-Russian and Estonian-Russian border agreements?


There is a clear EU interest in promoting the early signature and ratification of the Latvian-Russian and Estonian-Russian border agreements since they concern the external borders of the EU. For this reason signature and ratification of these agreements are a priority of the road map of the EU/Russia Common Space on Freedom, Security and Justice, agreed at the EU/Russia summit on 10 May 2005. The issue was most recently raised by Vice-President of the Commission in charge of Justice, Liberty and Security and by the Presidency at the meeting of the EU/Russia Permanent Partnership Council on Justice and Home Affairs on 13 October. They clearly spelled out the EU's position that legal certainty of the borders is a precondition for a stable EU-Russia relationship and for improved cooperation at the common border. The Commissioner in charge of External Relations personally raised the matter at a meeting with the Russian Ambassador on 14 October and urged the need for a flexible and pragmatic solution. The Commission will take all opportunities to encourage the early resolution of this issue.


Question no 72 by Laima Liucija Andrikienė (H-0880/05)
 Subject: Situation on human rights, fundamental freedoms and freedom of the press in Kazakhstan in 2005

On 4 December 2005, presidential elections are to be held in Kazakhstan. The President, N. Nazarbayev, has confirmed Kazakhstan's determination to seek the chairmanship of the OSCE in 2009. The forthcoming elections should be a litmus test for this country's determination to seek and long-term goal of securing the chairmanship of the OSCE.

Is the European Commission following the developments in Kazakhstan in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as freedom of the media? Is the Commission monitoring recent developments in Kazakhstan during the election campaign? What is the Commission's opinion about the law on political parties in Kazakhstan? Is it in conformity with international democratic standards?


Issues of human rights and democratisation are regularly raised under our political dialogue on the occasion of the annual meetings of the EU-Kazakhstan Co-operation Council in the framework of the Partnership and

Co-operation Agreement and, in the Sub-committee on Justice and Home Affairs.

Kazakhstan’s progress in democratisation and protection of human rights is significantly slower than its progress in establishing a market economy.

Particularly worrisome issues are the excessive accumulation of powers in the person of the President and the institutional system of the country, the strong dependence of the judiciary on the executive, excessive control over the civil society by the security services and systemic corruption.

However, some positive aspects should be also mentioned, notably the introduction of an open-ended moratorium on the death penalty and the establishment of an Ombudsman. The Commission, amongst other things, is urging the complete abolition of the death penalty and the strengthening of the Ombudsman.

The Commission is monitoring with concern recent developments during the election campaign through the Commission Delegation in Almaty and is aware of a number of developments currently taking place in Kazakhstan.

The media situation is worsening with the closure of several newspapers following doubtful Court decisions, forcible removal from circulation of regularly registered newspapers, and pressure on private dealers and media distributors.

Political freedom is deteriorating with repeated detentions of representatives of the democratic opposition, dispersals of peaceful demonstrations, a case of arson attack against a local office of Mr Tuyakbai, the opposition candidate for President, and use of official resources to obstruct opposition parties in disseminating their campaign materials and ideas.

A number of control visits to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and opposition movements’ premises by law-enforcement bodies have been reported. Wide-ranging pressures on State employees and students to induce them to vote for the President in office have been independently confirmed.

The Commission has on several occasions underlined that only free and fair elections in line with the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) commitments would give a real chance to Kazakhstan for its bid to chair the OSCE in 2009. It is only this basis that the EU should consider its support for the Kazakhstan’s bid for the OSCE Chairmanship in 2009.

The Commission would like to draw the attention of the Parliament, and specifically of the Honourable Members who will monitor the elections, to the key issue concerning Kazakhstan Presidential elections. An electronic voting system is expected to be introduced in up to 20% of polling stations around the country which could involve up to 35% of voters. The system lacks manual audit capabilities, does not provide a paper trail, and provides widespread opportunities for abuse. Moreover, the prevalent opinion is that the system violates the secrecy of the vote. There is a need to tackle the question of acceptable international election control/verification standards and to satisfactory agreed norms in this respect.

The Commission is very well aware of the Law on Political Parties adopted in Kazakhstan in July 2002. This law, amongst other things, raised the threshold for minimum party membership from 3.000 to 50.000. It should be noted that the population in Kazakhstan is about 15 million people. This law still represents a threat to political pluralism and is still a hindrance to the full development of political parties.

The Commission supported the OSCE/ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights), that gave its expert opinion of the new Law On Political Parties concluding that the new registration procedures impose a “substantial restriction on the freedom of association and on the rights of citizens to establish political parties” and consequently “restrict the participation of citizens in political and democratic processes”.

However it should also be noted that it is exactly this Law that obliged the opposition to gather its forces. The unified opposition block “For a Just Kazakhstan” put forward a single presidential candidate as a result of this Law.


Vraag nr. 79 van Bart Staes (H-0765/05)
 Betreft: Statuut voor Kosova

Contacten met beleidsverantwoordelijken en politieke leiders in Kosova en kennisneming van analyses van eminente waarnemers van de Kosovaarse situatie hebben me duidelijk gemaakt dat een definitief statuut voor Kosova hoogdringend is. Om de penibele sociaal-economische toestand met een werkloosheidsgraad van 70% te keren kan enkel een statuut de onontbeerlijke hefboom voor economische opleving bezorgen. De jonge Kosovaarse instellingen hebben geen reële beslissingsmacht inzake begroting en belastingen, wat de essentie van het democratisch proces is. Instellingen moeten gebonden zijn aan een statuut. De beste standaard voor een staat is een statuut. Standaarden en statuut moeten hand in hand gaan. De stabiliteit van de Zuidoost-Europese regio komt in gevaar bij een mislukking. De jongste verkiezingen in Kosova toonden de massale wil tot onafhankelijkheid.

Om al deze redenen mijn vraag: welke initiatieven zal de Commissie nemen om Kosova snel voorwaardelijke onafhankelijkheid te verlenen, zoals ook het EP aanbeveelt?


The ultimate responsibility in decision-making to facilitate the political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future status is in the hands of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, in accordance with the orientations of UN Security Council resolution 1244.

Six years after the adoption of this resolution, the Commission is very pleased of the recent recommendation (7 October) by the UN Secretary-General that talks on Kosovo's future go ahead. It is now confident that the Security Council will endorse this decision so that the process can be launched before the end of this year.

The Commission has made the United Nations aware that there is a common objective in all the Western Balkans, including Kosovo, to become members of the European Union family. It expects that the future status of Kosovo will contribute to the long-term sustainable stability of Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro and of the whole region in its approximation towards the EU.

The Commission has also made clear to all the countries of this region, including Serbia and Montenegro (via an explicit reference in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) Feasibility Report) that it expects they will work closely and constructively together to fulfil their European perspective.

Until the resolution of its final status is reached, the Commission is making all efforts to keep Kosovo firmly anchored in the Stabilisation and Association process (SAP).

It is making sure that our political and financial instruments(1) are consistent and mutually reinforcing with the implementation of the Kosovo Standards with a long term EU approximation optic, to counterbalance the perception that once the status talks start, standards will no longer be necessary.

The Commission is also ready to play its part in the contribution of the European Union to the efforts of the international community in supporting the UN Special Envoy for the status talks and in implementing any post-UNSC Resolution 1244. It supports the idea of a streamlined international presence, handing over as much responsibility as possible to local authorities which should be our direct interlocutors in the future.


(1) (e.g. Kosovo Stabilisation and Association Process Tracking Mechanism (STM), European Partnership, financial CARDS assistance, Autonomous Trade Measures and other instruments of the Thessaloniki agenda for the Western Balkans such as TAEIX, opening of Community Programmes,etc)


Question no 80 by Catherine Stihler (H-0772/05)
 Subject: Chinese collagen traffic

On Tuesday September 13, 2005 the Guardian newspaper reported that a Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe. Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company's products have been exported to the UK (and most likely to other EU states), and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is 'traditional' and nothing to 'make such a big fuss about'. Doctors and politicians say the discovery highlights the dangers faced by the increasing numbers seeking to improve their looks. Apart from the ethical concerns, there is also the potential risk of infection. In the light of these shocking revelations what plans does the Commission have to bring forward European regulations to control cosmetic treatments such as collagen and to put a stop to this outrageous trade?


The Commission is appalled by the information put forward by the Honourable Member, concerning the fact that skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts may be used to develop beauty products for sale in Europe.

First of all human collagen for lip and wrinkle treatment is not considered as a cosmetic product under Community legislation. The Commission would like to note also that in any case, because of the risk of transmission of communicable diseases, the EU law prohibits the use of human cells, tissues and products of human origin in cosmetic products.

Therefore, those products fall under the scope of the Tissues and Cells Directive.

This directive was adopted by the European Union in March last year and establishes the quality and safety requirements for human tissues and cells. This Directive does not allow practices such as those described in the media in relation to obtaining collagen for beauty products.

The Directive (2004/23/EC) ensures that the increasing number of patients in Europe, who are treated with human tissues and cells, can trust that these substances are safe and also of good quality.

The Tissues and Cells Directive includes provisions on standards, among other things, for the donation of human tissues and cells. It also deals with the requirements for the authorisation of their procurement and the authorisation of the tissue establishments that undertake activities covered by the Directive.

The Directive also incorporates a provision to regulate import of tissues and cells from third countries. The Directive states clearly that Member States shall take all necessary measures to ensure that all imports of tissues and cells from third countries are undertaken by tissue establishments authorised for that purpose. Member States and tissue establishments, which receive such imports, shall ensure that they meet standards of quality and safety equivalent to the ones laid down in the Directive.

The Directive also states as a matter of principle that tissue and cell application programmes should be founded on the philosophy of voluntary and unpaid donation, altruism of the donor and solidarity between donor and recipient. Article 13 states that “The procurement of human tissues or cells shall be authorised only after all mandatory consent or authorisation requirements in force in the Member State concerned have been met” .

The Directive has to be transposed into national law by no later than 7th April 2006.

Once in force, the Directive will explicitly respond to the concerns expressed in the Parliamentary question.

However, Member States cannot escape their responsibility that the key elements, in particular those of the ethical nature, of the Directive are enforced already today.

The Commission would like to assure the Honourable Member that it will examine further the information provided.


Question no 81 by David Martin (H-0778/05)
 Subject: World Trade Organisation: animal welfare as a criterion for sensitive products

The EU’s Comprehensive Negotiating Proposal to the WTO stresses the importance of ensuring that trade liberalisation does not undermine EU efforts to improve the welfare of animals. Will the Commission therefore make animal welfare one of the criteria for identifying Europe’s sensitive products that need to be protected in the context of such liberalisation?

The recent Eurobarometer survey on farm animal welfare reports that across the EU more people are concerned about the welfare of chickens than of any other species, and the EU’s Directive on Laying Hens (1999/74/ΕC)(1) makes major progress in addressing that. This progress is threatened by imports of dried and liquid egg products from hens kept in worse conditions abroad. Will the Commission list egg products as sensitive products in the WTO negotiations for the Agreement on Agriculture?


In his question the Honourable Member request that animal welfare should be a relevant criterion for the selection of sensitive products in the framework of the ongoing Doha trade negotiations on agriculture.

Sensitive products are a concept introduced by the Framework Agreement agreed on 1 August 2004 which provides for a different treatment for sensitive products than for non-sensitive products but contains no specific reference to animal welfare. Whether treatment as sensitive is better for the specific products the Honourable Member refers to depends on the modalities which remain to be agreed upon in Geneva.

Nevertheless, as far as the progress in the Doha negotiations is concerned, the Commission can assure the Honourable Member that it is fully committed to a balanced deal across all the three agricultural negotiating pillars, taking into consideration non-trade concerns in December this year at the Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting. As the Honourable Member knows, here is still considerable work to be done to finally come to a full modalities agreement in Hong Kong, including the number and the nature of sensitive products, a issue which is of high importance for the EU.


(1) OJ L 203, 3.8.1999, p. 53.


Fråga nr 82 från Carl Schlyter (H-0779/05)
 Angående: Konkurrenspolitik

Handeln idag har ofta procentuella påslag på sina varor. Detta ger dåliga konkurrensfördelar för varor inom samma varugrupp med högt inköpspris. Det blir således svårt att konkurrera med varor av högre kvalitet. Ett påslag i ”kronor/euro etc” skulle ge bättre och jämnare konkurrensförutsättningar. Ett exempel:

Konventionellt odlade tomater kostade förra veckan 8 kr i inköpspris; ekologiska tomater hade ett inköpspris på 14 kr. En procentuell ökning på 100 % ger ett pris på 16 kr respektive 28 kr i handeln. Prisskillnaden ökar från 6 till 12 kr kilot mellan tomaterna. Hanteringskostnaden är ungefär densamma så detta motiverar ej större påslag, utan endast momsen borde ha den effekten.

Finns det möjligheter för ekologiska odlare att hävda att detta är konkurrenshämmande och strider mot lagstiftningen då de missgynnas på bekostnad av konventionella odlare?

Finns det möjligheter att göra uppgörelser mellan odlare och handlare i ett land om fasta istället för procentuella påslag per varugrupp, utan att detta skulle strida mot några konkurrensregler?


The Honourable Member is concerned about the allegedly fixed mark-ups that retail stores practice on agricultural products. He cites cases where the retail stores practice results in higher mark-ups (in absolute terms, e.g. in Euros) on organic products. He asks if such higher mark-ups are against competition rules and if the agricultural producers and retailers of a country could under competition rules enter agreements to fix mark-ups in Euros/crowns per product group.

Community competition rules do not prevent individual retail stores to set their mark-ups as they wish.

In the case at hand higher mark-ups for organic products may reflect the high demand for such products rather than an attempt to discriminate against them.

There are no Community provisions imposing same mark-ups for conventional and organic products, neither in per cent nor in certain amounts of money.

Article 81 (1) (a) of the Treaty prohibits fixing directly or indirectly purchase or selling prices or any other trading condition. Therefore any price fixing between private parties may constitute a violation of Community law, if such price fixing affects the trade between the Member States.

Without knowing the details of the case and the products involved it is impossible to say whether certain agreements between private parties on prices constitute price fixing prohibited by Article 81 (1) or a violation of the applicable Common Market Organisation.


Question n° 83 de Jacky Henin (H-0781/05)
 Objet: Réactualisation du Livre blanc des transports

La hausse du prix du pétrole, la lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique, l’incendie du tunnel du Fréjus, la sécurité routière, les coûts induits par la dégradation des infrastructures due aux transports routiers sont autant de facteurs qui militent aujourd’hui pour qu'une priorité absolue soit accordée au développement du fret ferroviaire, en vue de combattre l’engorgement des routes.

Or, la réactualisation du Livre blanc des transports, de 2001, commence sous de très mauvais augures. Non seulement les grands projets d’infrastructures ferroviaires sont au point mort faute de financement, mais de plus, le 12 juillet, M. Barrot a participé à une réunion du lobby patronal routier qui privilégiait ouvertement, dans la perspective d’une révision du Livre blanc, la route au détriment du rail.

M. Barrot aurait ainsi déclaré, lors de cette réunion, qu’il serait « plus vigilant sur la pertinence des investissements ferroviaires », et qu’il ne serait pas hostile à ce que les nouveaux États membres investissent dans des autoroutes, tout en indiquant que la tarification des péages pour les camions de plus de 3,5 tonnes devait être très raisonnable.

La Commission va-t-elle enfin réellement impulser une politique volontariste de développement du fret ferroviaire, basée sur une coopération entre les grandes entreprises européennes de service public du chemin de fer?


La Commission travaille actuellement à la révision du Livre blanc prévue pour le début 2006, ce qui implique un large processus de consultation auquel prendront part tous les secteurs et tous les acteurs concernés.

Cette consultation ne remet aucunement en cause les objectifs du Livre blanc et l’engagement politique de la Commission de contribuer au développement du rail. L’approbation des premier et deuxième paquets ferroviaires témoigne des progrès réalisés. La Commission reste impliquée dans l’adoption du 3ème Paquet. Sans anticiper les résultats de la révision à mi-parcours, deux pistes de réflexion nous semblent fondamentales :

d’une part, améliorer les infrastructures, notamment dans le domaine ferroviaire. Il faut rappeler que 22 des 30 projets prioritaires des réseaux transeuropéens concernent le rail, soit 80% des investissements. La Commission a démontré sa politique volontariste proposant dans les perspectives financières 2007-2013 le budget communautaire requis pour un effet de levier suffisant. C’est au Conseil et au Parlement de décider. Sans attendre, le Vice-président de la Commission en charge des transports a nommé dès juillet des coordonnateurs pour faire avancer 5 projets concrets particulièrement compliqués et promouvoir l’interopérabilité grâce à ERTMS(1). A ce sujet, le Vice-président, après la communication du 4 juillet qui met à plat les enjeux de l’interopérabilité pour le développement du rail, s’est personnellement déplacé pour l’inauguration de la première liaison ERTMS transfrontalière (Vienne/Budapest) ;

d’autre part, une utilisation plus optimale des infrastructures existantes. A cet égard, il faut à rappeler que, dans de nombreux pays, il existe aujourd’hui une concurrence effective. Ainsi, au Royaume Uni et en Allemagne où le marché est ouvert depuis 1995, la croissance du fret ferroviaire, a été respectivement de +60% et de +40% entre 1995 et 2004.

En ce qui concerne les nouveaux Etats membres, ceux-ci ont des besoins spécifiques que la Commission ne peut pas ignorer, et il convient d’améliorer les infrastructures ferroviaires tout en veillant parfois aussi à l’amélioration des infrastructures routières, notamment, dans un souci de sécurité : la protection des citoyens et des travailleurs ne doit pas être limitée à un seul mode de transport.

Indépendamment de la révision du Livre blanc, encourager le développement du fret ferroviaire en Europe continuera d’être une priorité de la Commission qui prévoit à cet égard en 2006 une communication sur le développement de corridors dédiés au fret ferroviaire.


(1) European Rail Traffic Management System


Ερώτηση αρ. 84 του κ. Παναγιώτη Δημητρίου (H-0782/05)
 Θέμα: Περίοδος περισυλλογής σε σχέση με το Σύνταγμα

Οι αρχηγοί των κρατών μελών της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης, στα πλαίσια του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου της 16ης και 17ης Ιουνίου 2005, αποφάσισαν να εγκαινιάσουν μια περίοδο περισυλλογής στο ζήτημα της επικύρωσης της Συνταγματικής Συνθήκης. Στη σχετική δήλωση αναφέρεται ότι στην ευρεία και εντατική συζήτηση που θα γίνει γύρω από το θέμα αυτό, όλα τα Ευρωπαϊκά Όργανα θα παράσχουν τη συμβολή τους με την Επιτροπή να διαδραματίζει σ´ αυτή ιδιαίτερο ρόλο.

Προτίθεται η Επιτροπή να πληροφορήσει το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο για τις ενέργειες που έκαμε σ´ αυτούς τους τρεις μήνες ή που προγραμματίζει να κάμει κατά την περίοδο περισυλλογής που λήγει ουσιαστικά το πρώτο εξάμηνο του 2006, προς συμμόρφωση με την πιο πάνω δήλωση του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου;


La Commission a pris bonne note de la déclaration adoptée le 18 juin 2005 par les chefs d’Etat ou de Gouvernement des Etats membres de l’Union européenne au sujet de la ratification du Traité établissant une Constitution pour l’Europe. Comme le Président de la Commission a eu l’occasion de l’indiquer devant le Parlement le 27 septembre 2005, dans les circonstances actuelles, la Commission est favorable à une réflexion approfondie sur l’avenir du projet européen et est prête à jouer le rôle spécifique que l’on attend d’elle pendant cette période.

La Commission a récemment présenté sa contribution à la période de réflexion sous la forme d’une communication destinée au Conseil, au Parlement et aux autres institutions et organes de l’Union ; cette contribution prend la forme d’un plan D pour « dialogue, débats et démocratie ». Elle contient une série de mesures destinées à assister les débats nationaux dont l’organisation relève en premier lieu de chaque Etat membre. Elle liste ensuite une série d’actions à prendre au niveau communautaire par la Commission telles que des visites de groupes de commissaires dans les Etats membres, l’organisation de tables rondes pour la démocratie, le soutien aux panels européens de citoyens, etc. Dans toute la mesure du possible, la Commission souhaite que ces initiatives soient prises conjointement avec les autres institutions, et en premier lieu le Parlement.


Question no 85 by Glyn Ford (H-0788/05)
 Subject: The European Football Club

Is the Commission aware of the allegation that the European Football Club is being used for money-laundering?

If the Commission is not aware of this issue, does it intend to contact UEFA about it?

If the Commission is aware of this allegation, what steps is it taking to investigate the allegation?


Le sport professionnel, du fait de son attrait pour de larges franges de la population, est l’enjeu d’intérêts financiers de plus en plus importants liés notamment à la publicité autour des compétitions et des droits de retransmission télévisuels. Cette tendance est particulièrement perceptible dans le cas du football, où les clubs les plus connus tendent à devenir de véritables entreprises introduites et cotées sur les marchés financiers. En outre, certains matchs sont utilisés comme support pour des paris, ce qui accentue les enjeux financiers. Dans ces conditions, le secteur sportif ne peut en aucune façon se considérer immunisé contre la menace que fait peser la criminalité organisée sous la forme du blanchiment d’argent.

L’efficacité de l’approche relative à la lutte contre le blanchiment, au sein de l’Union européenne ou au niveau international, dépend de l’implication des acteurs concernés (institutions financières et certains acteurs commerciaux et professions) qui, en raison de leur exposition particulière à ce type de délit, sont appelés à appliquer des mesures renforcées visant à prévenir et détecter le blanchiment d’argent.

Le dispositif anti-blanchiment mis au point par la Commission répond à la nécessité d’ériger des barrières solides contre l’infiltration du crime organisé dans tous les secteurs économiques. Il revient donc aux Etats membres d’appliquer les règles telles qu’elles ont été définies dans les textes communautaires. The first EU anti-money laundering Directive (1991), as modified by the second one (2001), has been adopted precisely with the aim of protecting the legal economy from criminal misuse. When the FATF agreed upon a revision of its standards in June 2003, the existing Directive needed to be updated in order to continue to reflect best international practices embodied in the revised Forty Recommendations as well as the commitment of the European Community to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. Selon les dispositions de la troisième directive anti-blanchiment, qui fut adoptée par le Parlement et le Conseil il y a peu, financial institutions and designated non financial businesses and professions ont une obligation de vigilance envers leur clientèle afin d’identifier avec précision l’identité de celle-ci et le bénéficiaire final des transactions financières qui sont réalisées. En outre, le rôle of such institutions and designated professions consiste à identifier à un stade précoce les opérations pouvant se prêter à du blanchiment d’argent dans le secteur sportif, comme dans tous les autres secteurs, afin d’alerter les autorités nationales compétentes chargées de la lutte anti-blanchiment.

En réponse à l’honorable parlementaire, la Commission souhaiterait indiquer qu’elle ne dispose pas d’informations selon lesquelles certains clubs de football européens seraient utilisés à des fins de blanchiment d’argent. Elle rappelle qu’elle ne dispose pas de pouvoirs d’enquête en la matière et qu’il revient aux Etats membres de l’Union européenne d’établir les contrôles adéquats, en particulier lorsqu’un club sportif est racheté par des individus ou des capitaux dont l’origine est inconnue.


Question no 86 by Claude Moraes (H-0791/05)
 Subject: European City Guide scam

What action is the Commission taking and does it plan to take regarding misleading direct mail marketing to ensure that citizens are protected from companies pursuing such practices now and in the future?

For example, I have received correspondence from a number of my constituents, and complaints have been made from various EU countries about the dishonest business practices employed by the European City Guide (ECG).

The ECG is an online company which sends out misleading forms to businesses requesting information and inviting them to enter their directory. Whilst these forms give the impression that entry is free, once they are completed and signed, the businesses actually enter a contract which requires them to pay fees. The company then sends letters threatening legal action if payment is not made, and debt collection agencies are employed to intimidate businesses into paying. A campaign has been set up against the ECG and a petition has been tabled to the European Parliament.


The Commission is committed to ensuring a high level of consumer protection throughout the EU.

Regarding business-to-business misleading advertising, the Misleading Advertising Directive(1) bans misleading advertising, including advertising directed to business customers, such as the European City Guide scam. The enforcement of EU consumer legislation lying in the hands of national courts and authorities, there is limited room for action by the Commission.

As far as non-regulatory measures regarding unfair practices in business-to-business relationships are concerned, the Commission would like to point out that it also supports the development and application of Codes of Conduct. In addition, it will soon publish a “Legal study on unfair commercial practices within business-to-business e-markets”.

Notwithstanding, as regards the specific and recurrent case of the European City Guide, the Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that, despite the absence of enforcement competence by the Commission, the Commissioner responsible for Health and Consumer Protection, wants to follow this subject closely. In this sense, he will personally write to his counterparts in the Member States concerned by the practices, such as the one by the European City Guide, drawing their attention to the weak enforcement of the respective Community legislation.


(1) Directive 84/450/EC of 10 September 1984 as amended by Directive 97/55/EC of 6 October 1997


Question no 87 by Richard Corbett (H-0793/05)
 Subject: Benefits of the single market

What are the latest figures available to the Commission on the total economic benefits to European citizens of the existence of the European single market?


A comprehensive study on the total economic impact of the Internal Market was carried out in 1996 and published in 1998. It concluded that in 1994, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was between 1.1% and 1.5% higher than it would have been if the Internal Market did not exist. For the same year, the employment gain was estimated to have accounted for over 300.000 jobs.

Since then, there have been partial assessments. Among the latest are:

The Communication on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Internal Market included a new round of macroeconomic estimates of the impact of the 1992 programme. According to these estimates, EU GDP in 2002 was 1.8 percentage points, or €164.5 billion, higher thanks to the Internal Market. In addition, about 2.5 million jobs had been created in the EU since 1992 as a result of the opening up of frontiers between Member States;(1)

A study by Commission services based on accounting data of EU firms, has found evidence of a significant impact of the Internal Market programme on productivity. Efficiency, as measured by the productivity of assets, increased by approximately 25% between 1993 and 2001;(2)

In the field of Public Procurement, a study for the Commission estimated the economic benefits from the application of EU Directives. Results show that the application of the transparency procedures required by the Directives could reduce prices of goods, services and works contracts by approximately 30%. The study also showed that the success rates of foreign firms operating in other Member States to win contracts are actually comparable to those of domestic firms bidding in their home countries.(3)


(1) See the publication “The Macroeconomic Effects of the Single Market Programme after 10 Years”, and the background document “The Macroeconomic Effects of the Single Market Programme after 10 Years”. Both documents are available for download at http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/10years/background_en.htm
(2) See “The Impact of the Implementation of the Single Market Programme on Productive Efficiency and on Mark-Ups in the European Union Manufacturing Industry”, ready for download at http://europa.eu.int/comm/economy_finance/publications/economic_papers/economicpapers192_en.htm
(3) See the press release and link to the background document available for download at http://europa.eu.int/comm/internal_market/publicprocurement/studies_en.htm


Question no 88 by Philip Bushill-Matthews (H-0797/05)
 Subject: Atypical workers' Directive

Can the Commission please share its thoughts on the next steps regarding the Atypical Workers' Directive?


La proposition de directive sur les conditions de travail des travailleurs intérimaires, à laquelle se réfère sans doute l'honorable parlementaire, est toujours sur la table du Conseil. Il lui appartient de se prononcer sur la proposition modifiée de la Commission qui a intégré bon nombre des amendements du Parlement lors de l'examen en première lecture de la proposition initiale.

Bien entendu, à l'instar de toute initiative de la Commission, cette proposition se doit d'être appréciée au regard des évolutions législatives qui l'entourent. C'est pourquoi, dans sa communication du 27 septembre 2005(1), la Commission a indiqué qu'elle se réserve le droit de réexaminer la proposition sur les travailleurs intérimaires à la lumière de la future discussion d'autres propositions.


(1) COM (2005) 462 final


Anfrage Nr. 89 von Michl Ebner (H-0799/05)
 Betrifft: Schutz und Förderung der alpinen Bergrinderrassen

Durch die Verordnung (EG) Nr. 639/2003(1) wird das Alter der Kühe und Kalbinnen für die Gewährung der Ausfuhrerstattungen von 36 Monaten auf 30 Monate herabgesetzt. Früher waren gemäß Verordnung (EG) Nr. 615/1998(2) Tiere bis zu einem Alter von 36 Monaten für die Gewährung der Ausfuhrerstattung zugelassen.

Viehzüchtern in Berggebieten ist das Leben somit erschwert: Sie sind an Herbstabkalbungen im Alpzyklus gebunden. Außerdem entwickeln sich Bergrinderrassen mit Alm- und Weidenutzung wegen der rauen Umwelt langsamer und können unter Beachtung der biologischen Gegebenheiten erst im Alter von 24 Monaten gedeckt werden.

Die Kommission wird dringend ersucht, für die alpinen Bergrinderrassen eine Ausnahmeregelung zu gewähren und das Exportalter für die Bergrinder wieder auf 36 Monate anzuheben.


The decision to reduce from 36 to 30 months the age for eligibility for export refunds for female pure-bred animals was taken on the basis of statistics on our exports of pure-bred bovine animals which showed that mainly young pure-bred female animals were exported. Today the request is still predominant for the category of animals under 30 months.

From a technical point of view, the Commission believes that with an average mating age at 24 months, young heifers and even in some cases young cows of alpine mountain cattle breeds can still benefit from refunds when exported.

In addition from an administrative point of view, it appears difficult to set up a specific regime for alpine mountain cattle breed as requested given the fact that the export nomenclature used to define eligible categories of animals does not allow such specificity. Moreover, some of those breeds are also kept and raised by breeders outside mountain area, where the conditions of production are different.

Finally, public concern in relation to exports of live animals with refunds has been continuously rising. The Commission agrees that mainly exports of cattle for slaughter have been subject to heavy criticism in the past. But pure-bred animals, because of long distance transport, have also been criticised.

In view of all these elements, the Commission is not in a position to proceed to the requested adjustment.


(1) ABl. L 93 vom 10.4.2003, S. 10
(2) ABl. L 82 vom 19.3.1998, S. 19


Fråga nr 90 från Jan Andersson (H-0800/05)
 Angående: Kommissionens nya ståndpunkt om "REACH"

Behandlingen av kommissionens förslag till förordning om registrering, utvärdering, godkännande och begränsning av kemikalier (REACH) pågår som bäst i Europaparlamentet. Utgångspunkten för parlamentets behandling av ärendet är det förslag som kommissionen lade fram den 29 oktober 2003 (KOM(2003)0644 slutlig). Mitt under denna behandling i parlamentet har tydligen kommissionen nu planer på att lägga fram ett nytt förslag till förordning. Att göra detta utan att invänta parlamentets ställningstagande är exceptionellt. Vad är orsaken till att kommissionen inte inväntar Europaparlamentets första behandling innan man agerar?


Fråga nr 91 från Hélène Goudin (H-0805/05)
 Angående: Informellt dokument om REACH

Uppgifter i media har gjort gällande att EU-kommissionen har författat ett modifierat förslag till kemikalielagstiftningen REACH. Detta informella dokument är daterat den 20 september 2005. Kommissionens nya förslag innehåller flera av de synpunkter som framförts i utskotten för industri och den inre marknaden, två av de utskott som har behandlat REACH. Kommissionens agerande har väckt irritation inom miljörörelsen. Kritik har framförts mot att kommissionen genom sitt agerande försöker påverka parlamentets fortsatta behandling av REACH.

Kan kommissionen klargöra orsaken till att den mitt under pågående debatt i EU-parlamentet lägger fram ett nytt dokument om kemikalielagstiftningen REACH? Vilket är syftet med detta dokument?


The Honourable Member may rest assured that the Commission has no plans to submit a new proposal for a Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

The Commission would like to recall that in its Communication to the spring 2005 European Council it has stressed with regard to the proposed REACH regulation, the need to arrive at a decision which will be consistent with the Lisbon goals as regards the competitiveness of the European industries and encouraging innovation, and which will achieve a marked improvement in health and environment to the benefit of Europe’s citizens. The Commission further signalled its willingness to cooperate fully with Parliament and with Council in search for pragmatic solutions to key issues which have emerged in the examination of REACH in order to improve its workability. This approach has been broadly welcomed.

In the course of the examination of REACH in Council and in Parliament the responsible Commissioners have been frequently exhorted to indicate their positions on the main issues which have emerged, and which have been the subject of specific amendments by the responsible committees and/or by the Council Presidency.

In response to such requests, and in the perspective of encouraging early progress towards a political agreement in Council, and a first reading in Parliament, the Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry and the Commissioner for the Environment have considered it opportune to put the Commission negotiators in the position to participate in the debate.

The Commission will only present an amended proposal in the light of the first reading in the Parliament.


Ερώτηση αρ. 92 της κ. Κατερίνας Μπατζελή (H-0801/05)
 Θέμα: Τιτλοποίηση ληξιπρόθεσμων οφειλών και ελληνικό δημόσιο έλλειμμα

Η ελληνική κυβέρνηση προτίθεται να προωθήσει την τιτλοποίηση ληξιπρόθεσμων οφειλών, ως δημόσια έσοδα που θα καλύψουν μέρος του δημοσίου ελλείμματος το οποίο προήλθε μετά την απογραφή στην οποία προέβη το 2004.

Η τιτλοποίηση οφειλών είναι ένα καθαρά προσωρινό μέτρο το οποίο δεν βελτιώνει στην ουσία την πραγματική οικονομική κατάσταση για την οποία υπάρχουν άλλωστε και σημαντικές αποκλίσεις από τις προβλέψεις της κυβέρνησης στο ύψος των φορολογικών εσόδων, λόγω υπολειτουργίας των ελεγκτικών μηχανισμών, και στον ρυθμό ανάπτυξης.

Σε ποια φάση βρίσκονται οι διαβουλεύσεις της Επιτροπής με την ελληνική κυβέρνηση στο θέμα της αποδοχής ή όχι της τιτλοποίησης των ληξιπρόθεσμων οφειλών ως μηχανισμού κάλυψης του δημοσίου ελλείμματος;

Ποιες προϋποθέσεις, όρους και εγγυήσεις θα ζητήσει η Επιτροπή και η Eurostat σε περίπτωση αποδοχής του αιτήματος, εφόσον σε άλλες χώρες μέλη έχει απορρίψει παρόμοιο αίτημα ή σε άλλες χώρες δεν απέφερε τα αναμενόμενα αποτελέσματα;


The Commission is aware of the Greek authorities’ intention of securitising claims, notably in relation to tax arrears.

From the accounting viewpoint, Eurostat is currently in contact with the Greek statistical authorities on the treatment of that operation. While the Greek authorities have already provided some general description of their intention, Eurostat has not received yet full documentation.

According to the accounting rules, the impact of securitisations on the government deficit depends notably on the transfer of risks to the private sector. To be recorded as deficit reducing, the government must have shifted most risks and rewards to the private sector; otherwise, the securitisation is recorded as borrowing. The assessment of all relevant elements (possible substitution of assets, guarantees, existence of a deferred purchase price, management of the assets, etc.) for each specific transaction is only possible after a careful analysis of the contract.

More generally, Eurostat intends, as soon as possible, to clarify for all Member States the rules on securitisation operations in the ESA 95 Manual on government deficit and debt. This is due to the fact that problems of interpretation of existing rules have recently appeared, especially as regards the provision of guarantees and the transfer of risks and benefits by government.


Question no 93 by Ewa Klamt (H-0802/05)
 Subject: Lifting Chinese visa obligation

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány pressed for lifting the visa obligation for Chinese citizens in a lecture given at Qinghua University, Beijing, on 9 September, 2005.

As quoted by the Hungarian and international media, Gyurcsány stated that Hungary is among those EU countries that support the abolition of the visa requirement for Chinese visitors and added that there are only a few states left within the EU who wish to maintain it.

Has the Commission any plan to lift the Chinese visa obligation?

Could the Commission, please, comment on the statement of the Hungarian Prime Minister in light of the ongoing 'construction' of the common EU visa policy?


The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to priority written question P-3399/05 by Ms Kinga Gál on the same subject.


Interrogazione n. 94 dell'on. Vittorio Agnoletto (H-0803/05)
 Oggetto: Commissione Europea e controllo delle "Organizzazioni Non Profit" (ONP

Il 22 luglio 2005, la Commissione Europea (Direzione Generale Giustizia, Libertà e Sicurezza) ha redatto una "Bozza di Raccomandazione in merito ad un codice di condotta per le Organizzazioni Non Profit (ONP)". In tale documento si afferma addirittura che "esistono prove che le ONP siano state utilizzate per finanziare il terrorismo e per commettere altri crimini”. Nonostante sia riconosciuto il ruolo delle stesse come “fondamentale nello svolgimento di attività e servizi umanitari ai cittadini in aree di vitale importanza”, nella bozza vengono elencate una serie di proposte di controllo che ne stravolgerebbero le attività, fino a snaturarne il significato. Nel documento non vengono mai menzionate le ragioni per le quali le ONP vengono classificate come “vulnerabili al crimine”´. È sicuramente auspicabile ottenere trasparenza e certezza dell’operato, ma proporre di designare un organismo di supervisione che risponda ai governi pregiudica ogni forma di autonomia e libertà d' azione delle ONP.

Non ritiene la Commissione di dover ritirare la proposta, che di fatto sottoporrebbe le ONP ad un controllo che ne nega la legittimità democratica, e di promuovere invece un dialogo strutturato con le "organizzazioni no profit" su tutt'altre basi, elaborando regole non unilaterali bensì condivise dalle ONP?


The Honourable Member is surely aware of the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) “Special Recommendations” on terrorist financing. The task of the FATF is to coordinate and spearhead the international campaign against criminal money laundering and terrorist financing. Special Recommendation VIII requests that countries should address the vulnerabilities of the non profit sector to terrorist financing.

Furthermore, the Conclusions of the European Council of 16-17 December 2004 invited the Commission to come up with proposals to prevent the misuse of non-profit organisations to terrorist financing by the end of 2005. Additionally, the Council Declaration on the EU response to the London bombings of 13th July 2005 calls on setting up “a Code of Conduct to prevent the misuse of charities by terrorists”.

In this context, the Commission is planning to issue this year a Communication on Terrorist Financing, which will contain a Recommendation to Member States to encourage compliance with the first principles of a Code of Conduct.

The draft Commission Communication has been significantly revised on the basis of comments received during the public consultation. Through the Communication the Commission will promote a structured form of dialogue with the non-profit sector. The Communication will represent a start of a new phase in the debate with the non-profit sector on the issue. The Commission foresees to organise a conference in 2006 with the participation of the non-profit sector and public bodies to find a common understanding of the problem of prevention and fight against misuse of non-profit organisations to terrorist financing and other criminal ends.

Finally, the Commission would like to emphasise that the aim of the Recommendation and Framework for a Code of Conduct is not in any way to undermine the vital humanitarian and other important activities carried out by non-profit organisations of the European Union. The purpose of the planned Commission proposal is to encourage non-profit organisations to take reasonable measures to protect themselves from vulnerabilities to terrorist financing and other forms of criminal abuse.


Pregunta nº 95 formulada por Cristobal Montoro Romero (H-0806/05):
 Asunto: Interconexiones eléctricas

El Consejo Europeo de Barcelona de los días 15 y 16 de marzo de 2002 acordó un nivel mínimo para las interconexiones eléctricas equivalente a un 10% de la capacidad de generación instalada en cada Estado miembro para mejorar la fiabilidad y la seguridad de las redes, la seguridad del abastecimiento y el funcionamiento del mercado interior. Las interconexiones forman parte de las Redes Transeuropeas de la Energía y son un elemento indispensable para que los operadores del mercado de la electricidad tengan acceso a otros mercados nacionales.

¿Podría indicar la Comisión en qué estado se encuentra la interconexión eléctrica entre Francia y la Península Ibérica, así como las consecuencias que su reforzamiento tendría para España, Portugal y el Mercado Ibérico de la Electricidad?


The Parliament and Council Decision on the Transeuropean network in the field of Energy specifies the priority projects “EL.3 France-Spain Portugal”, which have in particular the objective to increase electricity interconnection capacities between these countries.

France and Spain have agreed to add some 1 200 MW of additional capacity by 2006 to the current 1400 MW with the objective of reaching 4 000 MW in the future. Towards that end, a number of feasibility studies are exploring various alternatives for transporting extra wattage across the Eastern, Central and Western Pyrenees. Under the Transeuropean Network budget line, studies of various interconnections between Spain and France were supported for a total of € 2.5 million.

The current 1400 MW interconnection capacity between Spain and France is only 2.3 % of the capacity installed in Spain. In consequence, the line in the Eastern Pyrenees is used at the limit of its capacity, which leads to frequent congestion, and most of the time even exceeds the available limit. Even the envisaged target of 4000 MW transmission capacity is still well below the 10% target.

The Spanish and Portuguese Governments signed an agreement in 2001 to develop a common Iberian power market. A new east-west interconnection between Sines (PT) and Balboa (ES) is under construction as well as an upgrade for the connection between Aldeadavilla (ES) and Recarei (PT). In addition, the north-south connection in Portugal will also be strengthened (Valdigem–Viseu–Anadia). The present transmission capacity between Portugal and Spain is above the 10% target, which makes it feasible that up to 10% of Portugal's power demand can be imported from and/or through Spain.

However, it should be noted that although already in 2003 9% of Portuguese demand were imported from Spain, the average congestion levels from Spain to Portugal in the first half of 2004 were 25%, and reached 66% in July 2004 and 47% in August 2004 (see COMP.M. 3440 EDP/ENI/GDP – recitals 80-83).


Pregunta nº 96 formulada por José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil (H-0807/05):
 Asunto: Obligaciones de notificación

El anuncio de una OPA recientemente lanzada por un grupo energético español ha generado dudas sobre si esta operación podría distorsionar la competencia en el sector energético de España y Portugal y si sería compatible con los objetivos del Tratado de garantizar un entorno competitivo justo.

¿Cuáles son los plazos para la notificación? ¿Ha solicitado la intervención de la Comisión algún Gobierno u organismo de defensa de la competencia de un Estado miembro? ¿En qué fecha?


The concentration Gas Natural/Endesa has been notified to the Spanish competition authority on September 12, 2005 on the assumption that it does not have a Community dimension. On Endesa’s request, the Commission is now carefully verifying if this assumption is correct and will announce the result of this investigation as soon as possible.

Pursuant to Article 4(1) of the Merger regulation(1), “concentrations with a Community dimension shall be notified to the Commission prior to their implementation and following the conclusion of the agreement, the announcement of the public bid […]”

Pursuant to the same article, “notification may also be made where the undertakings concerned demonstrate to the Commission a good faith intention to conclude an agreement or, in the case of a public bid, where they have publicly announced an intention to make such a bid […].”

Always on the assumption that the Gas Natural/Endesa has not a Community dimension, on September 21 the Portuguese antitrust authority requested the Commission, pursuant to Article 22 of the EC Merger Regulation, to assess the competitive impact of this concentration in the territory of its State. On October 7, the Italian antitrust authority joined this request. The Commission will decide on those requests by October 27 2005.


(1) Council Regulation No 139/2004 of 20 January 2004 on the control of concentrations between undertakings, OJ L 24, 29.1.2004, p. 1


Question no 97 by Bill Newton Dunn (H-0809/05)
 Subject: Harmonising of national statistics about crime

In Question Time last January I asked the Commissioner when his proposal would be produced. It is now October, well past the promised date. When does he now promise to make the proposal? Meanwhile we continue to have no clear picture of organised criminal gang activity across the Union - a lack which is good for the criminals but bad for the citizens.


As the Honourable Member is aware, the Commission is devoted to developing high quality statistics on crime and criminal justice. In the medium term, the project aims at collecting available indicators and statistics in different areas and enhancing the quality of those; in the longer term, harmonised statistics on crime and criminal justice will be developed. The work follows several different but coordinated strands. The harmonisation of statistics on crime and criminal justice will require great economic and human resources, both in the Member States and in the Commission, and will have to be done step by step and on the basis of knowledge, so that all Member States agree the usefulness of the harmonised definitions and rules, and the validity of the produced statistics.

As regards organised crime in general, Europol has decided not to take part in the work to develop long-term harmonised quantitative measures, but to devote their energy to develop qualitative information for the Organised Crime Threat Assessment, which will be published for the first time in 2006. This will assess the threat that organised crime poses, as a basis for adequate measures.

The formidable methodological problems posed by differing national statistical systems were examined by a task force of experts from twelve Member States convened by Eurostat in May-June 2005. Based on the task force’s evaluation of data already available in the Member States, data collection will begin late 2005 with information based upon police reports and prison populations. The Commission is in the process of engaging independent experts to complement that collection.

The task force confirmed that quantitative information on organised crime does not at present exist in the Member States in any systematic form, but the Commission has initiated a number of studies which it is hoped will provide some useful guidelines to enable organised crime to be included in the data collection. By 2007 Eurostat will propose a common module on victimisation for inclusion in national surveys in order that this information may be more easily comparable.

To be able to provide for a continuous and overall evaluation of the Action Plan on Drugs 2005-2008, the Commission has created a set of assessment tools/indicators, in collaboration with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) and Europol, for each action of the Plan. Data on this field is collected regularly by the EMCDDA as well as Europol, allowing an overview of the situation in the EU in this field.

In the particular field of racist crime, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) is also a very active player. The EUMC produces reports on racism, and, in particular, made public last spring a specific report on racist violence. In order to overcome the stumbling blocks to data collection identified in that report, and in order to improve the quantity and quality of the data available on racist violence, the EUMC will undertake in 2006 a pilot survey on victims on racism. The Commission supports these efforts.

A Communication that is planned for late 2005 will outline the development for the coming years, and set up an expert group to advise the Commission, in addition to the Task Force.


Question no 98 by Brian Crowley (H-0811/05)
 Subject: Action not words on AIDS

Will the Commission indicate if it has drawn up a specific report on tangible actions undertaken by the EU to combat and ultimately eradicate the scourge of AIDS in the developing world?

In the affirmative will the Commission make this report available immediately to the Members of this Parliament?


Depuis l’année 2000, la Commission a décidé d’apporter une réponse intégrée aux grands défis posés par les trois principales maladies transmissibles, notamment le VIH/Sida, le paludisme et la tuberculose à travers un cadre politique et stratégique cohérent et unitaire. C’est dans cette optique que le 26 octobre 2004 la Commission a adopté le deuxième rapport sur l’état d’avancement du Programme d’Action de la Communauté européenne sur le VIH/Sida, paludisme et tuberculose. Ce rapport(1) a, entre temps, été transmis au Conseil et au Parlement.

Le but principal du rapport sur l’état d’avancement du Programme d’Action était de fournir un cadre complet des progrès et/ou des résultats obtenus pour chacun des secteurs d’actions sélectionnés : impact des interventions, accessibilité aux médicaments ainsi que l’appui à la recherche et développement de nouveaux outils thérapeutiques de lutte contre ces maladies.

Dans plusieurs pays, la Commission appuie, à travers l’aide budgétaire, les programmes de santé des pays partenaires mais les enveloppes financières spécifiquement allouées au VIH/Sida ne sont pas quantifiables. Les ressources financières allouées au secteur santé à travers les programmes par pays ont diminué en conséquence (le support annuel est passé en moyenne de 393 millions € entre 1998-2002 à 246,6 millions € entre 2003-2006). Outre les contributions fournies par le biais de l’aide budgétaire et sectorielle, les ressources allouées spécifiquement à la lutte contre les trois maladies ont enregistré une nette augmentation, passant de 59,3 millions € par an entre 1994-2002 à 259 millions € par an entre 2003-2006, tous instruments confondus (Fonds Européen de Développement, lignes budgétaires thématiques, Fonds Recherche). En particulier, entre 2003 et 2006 on a assisté à une augmentation progressive des montants de la ligne budgétaire concernant l’assistance communautaire aux pays en développement pour la lutte contre les trois maladies, des fonds régionaux pour les Pays d’Afrique, des Caraïbes et du Pacifique (ACP) ainsi que des ressources allouées à travers le 6ème Programme Cadre de la Recherche pour les trois maladies, quatre fois supérieures par rapport au 5ème Programme Cadre.

Ainsi, pour la période 2003-2006, la Commission, via le 6ème Programme Cadre de Recherche, consacre un montant de 200 millions € à l’initiative EDCTP(2). Cette initiative pilote, appelée Partenariat des pays européens et en développement sur les essais cliniques, bénéficie d’une contribution équivalente (200 millions €) de la part des Etats européens participants et met l’accent sur le développement de nouveaux médicaments, vaccins et microbicides contre les trois maladies en question ainsi que sur le renforcement des capacités des pays de l’Afrique subsaharienne en matière de recherche clinique. A ces fonds viennent s’ajouter environ 220 millions € supplémentaires pour la mise en œuvre d’un grand nombre de projets de recherche fondamentale et préclinique pendant la durée du 6ème Programme Cadre.

La Commission a fourni une contribution substantielle au Fonds Global pour la Lutte contre le VIH/Sida, le paludisme et la tuberculose ainsi qu’à d’autres initiatives de partenariat comme l’International Initiative for AIDS Vaccine (IAVI), la Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) et l’ International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM). La contribution totale de la Commission au Fonds Global s’élève – entre 2001 et 2005 – à 432,5 millions €. En 2006, la contribution de la Commission en faveur du Fonds Global pour la lutte contre le VIH/Sida, paludisme et tuberculose s’élèvera à presque € 90 million, dont € 62 million à valoir sur le Fonds Européen de Développement.


(1) doc. SEC/2004 1326 du 26/10/2004
(2) Partenariat des pays européens et en développement sur les essais cliniques


Question no 99 by Liam Aylward (H-0815/05)
 Subject: Farmers' contribution to controlling climate change

The Commission recognises the importance of the bio-ethanol industry and also the fact that EU farmers who are guardians of the rural environment could and would seriously contribute to controlling climate change by alternative use of agricultural land for the production of alternative and renewable energy resources.

As alternative energy sources are vital for our future, will the Commission comment on the uptake of available EU funds, by the Member States, for the creation of European biofuels projects and if they consider the uptake to be satisfactory or not?


With the 2003 reform of the Common Agricultural Policy farmers may now grow any biomass for energy purpose without loosing decoupled income support.

Under the decoupled income support, farmers do not have to declare how they use their agricultural areas. Therefore the Commission information on energy crops cultivated on land eligible for decoupled support is limited. More precise information is available for farmers’ applications to the set-aside and energy crops regimes.

Under the set-aside regime which allows growing non-food crops on obligatory set-aside land an area of about 900 000 hectares is used for energy crop production.

In addition, the 2003 reform introduced a specific energy crop premium of € 45 per hectare for a maximum guaranteed area of 1.5 million hectares. In 2004, the first year of application, the energy crop premium was granted for about 300 000 hectares.

The Commission expects that the number of hectares which apply for the energy crop premium will increase in 2005 and the following years.

The current production of energy crops is not sufficient to achieve the EU targets on renewable energy for 2010.

A report on the implementation of the energy crop premium is scheduled for the end of 2006 and, where appropriate, will be accompanied by proposals for amendment. For biofuels, a market share of 2% should be reached this year, increasing to 5.75% by 2010. Member States had to report to the Commission on the development in this area in 2004 and 2005, and the Commission will present a report to the European Council and Parliament in 2006, based on this information. Further actions may be proposed by the Commission if appearing necessary to achieve the envisaged objective.

Biofuels result in different life cycle greenhouse gas savings depending on how they are produced. It is desirable for policy to take account of this and encourage the introduction of more desirable biofuel technologies.

The European Union has provided significant financial support over the years to research and development in the field of biofuels. In the fifth framework programme, biofuels were supported in the Quality of life and Energy thematic programmes. In the current sixth framework programme, a number of Integrated Projects in the field of biofuels are being financed.

The Commission is currently preparing a Biomass Action Plan to further promote the debate on encouraging biomass, including biofuels. Moreover, a specific Communication on biofuels will take up this debate and complement the strategies outlined, in particular concerning the supply of biofuels feedstock and the global context for the EU biofuels policy.


Question no 100 by Eoin Ryan (H-0817/05)
 Subject: Television broadcasting rights

DG Competition recently stated that the English Premier Football League must ensure that the broadcasting rights on offer make 'a meaningful slice of the cake' available to a second broadcaster".

The Premier League should by now have shown the Commission that it is 'realistically' implementing a 2003 agreement on the marketing of football TV broadcasting rights. Will the Commission confirm that they have indeed received a reply from the English Premier League and will they indicate if they intend to send out a statement of objection or not?


The Commission can confirm that there have been ongoing discussions with the Football Association Premier League (FAPL) over their collective sale of media rights in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In December 2003, the FAPL proposed a set of commitments, which contained a rule that no one buyer would win all live TV rights in the United Kingdom from 2007 onwards. This set of commitments was subject to a public consultation in 2004 and discussions on the outcome of that consultation continued in 2004 and 2005.

In June 2005, the FAPL submitted a revised proposal, which the Commission indicated was insufficient. In a meeting between the Commissioner in charge of Competition and the FAPL on Tuesday 18 October 2005, the FAPL submitted significantly revised proposal which moved the two sides closer to an amicable result in this case. In particular, the FAPL have agreed that the rights will be sold to the highest bidder on a standalone basis, subject to a rule that no one buyer can buy all of the packages of live TV rights. The Commission has considered this proposal and replied to the FAPL on Friday 21 October 2005, requesting FAPL to take a clear position regarding a number of clarifications. The Commission can further confirm that it received a reply from FAPL in the evening of Monday 24 October, and that it is currently giving this reply its full consideration.


Pregunta nº 101 formulada por Luisa Fernanda Rudi Ubeda (H-0826/05):
 Asunto: Liberalización de los mercados de gas y electricidad

Las Directivas 2003/54/CE(1) y 2003/55/CE(2) establecen los criterios básicos para una adecuada liberalización de los mercados de gas y electricidad. Las Directivas contienen unos requisitos mínimos de libre competencia necesarios para alcanzar unos precios razonables, al mismo tiempo que promueven un servicio de calidad, la protección de los consumidores más vulnerables y la seguridad del suministro. Las Directivas garantizan que a partir del 1 de julio de 2007 todos los clientes domésticos pueden elegir libremente el proveedor de electricidad y gas.

¿Cuáles cree la Comisión que son los principales obstáculos en la actualidad para la creación de un verdadero Mercado Europeo del Gas y la Electricidad?


Most of the provisions in Directives 2003/54 and 2003/55 should have been transposed by Member States by 1 July 2004. The most important requirements were the opening of competition to all non-household customers, the establishment of ex-ante regulation for access to electricity and gas networks, and the separation of transmission and distribution system operators from the other parts of vertically integrated businesses.

Most Member States have now fulfilled these requirements. However there were several where implementation was up to one year behind schedule. There remain seven Member States which have not yet notified the measures taken to transpose the Directives and infringement cases are underway.(3)

The Commission is currently preparing a comprehensive report on the implementation of the Directives, as envisaged in the texts (Article 28 – electricity, and Article 31 – gas). Work is still ongoing on the report but, aside from the above delays in implementation, the important obstacles to real competition relate – amongst others - to the levels of concentration in many markets concerned, to the lack of available interconnection capacity between Member States, to different levels of powers and independence of regulators, to insufficient transparency in certain markets, to the lack of liquidity in certain wholesale markets and possibly inadequate unbundling provisions. It is anticipated that some of these issues will be progressively resolved both the Directives, the Regulation for Cross Border Electricity Exchanges (1228/03), and the forthcoming Regulation on Gas Transmission.

In order to clarify the competitive conditions in european gas and electricity markets the Commission launched an inquiry into the european gas and electricity sectors on 13 June 2005. The sector inquiry, which is an enforcement tool under european Competition law, was triggered following complaints about price increases and lack of customer’s choice. First results of the inquiry can be expected at the end of 2005. The final report is foreseen for 2006.


(1) DO L 176 de 15.7.2003, p. 37.
(2) DO L 176 de 15.7.2003, p. 57.
(3) These are as follows: Greece (electricity), Ireland (gas), Luxembourg (both), Spain (both), Portugal (electricity), Estonia (gas), Slovenia (gas).


Question no 102 by Reinhard Rack (H-0827/05)
 Subject: Ratification procedure of the Ankara Protocol by Turkey

Following the final votes of the European Parliament, after the submission by the Turkish Government to the Turkish Parliament of the Protocol extending the customs union to the ten new Member States and after its ratification, the Protocol will be transposed into the Turkish legislation and will have binding force erga omnes, i.e. inside and outside Turkey, regarding its relations with the EU and the third countries. If its ratification is recognised as a ratification of an international treaty by the Turkish Constitution, it will have constitutional force. If the submission of the Protocol is accompanied by Turkey's unilateral statement on Cyprus - even if the latter is considered by European legislation as devoid of legal effect- the unilateral statement will have the same force as the law, in the light of the aforegoing.

What measures have the European institutions undertaken, especially the European Commission, in order to avoid a situation where the declaration is submitted for ratification and remains just a political declaration without legal implications?


The Commission welcomes the signature by the EU and Turkey of the Additional Protocol to the Ankara Agreement. The Commission expects that Turkey will ratify and fully implement the Protocol in good faith and in due course. This was stressed by Commissioner in charge of Enlargement during his visit to Turkey in early October.

It is the Commission’s understanding that when the Turkish Parliament will have approved the ratification of the Protocol, the Turkish President will sign the decision expressing the consent of the Republic of Turkey to be bound by the Protocol, and that this instrument will be deposited with the Secretariat General of the Council.

The declaration by the European Community and its Member States, in response to the declaration by Turkey made at the time of signature of the Additional Protocol, set out clearly that Turkey’s declaration is unilateral, does not form part of the Protocol and has no legal effect on Turkey’s obligations under the Protocol. The ratification procedure relates only to the Protocol.


Question no 103 by Avril Doyle (H-0831/05)
 Subject: Safety and security at Sellafield

In view of the decision announced by BNFL on 30 September 2005 to sell off key operations, including British Nuclear Group, i.e. the business that maintains the safety of the UK´s nuclear power stations:

Can the Commission give assurances that, if the private sector becomes involved, there will be no short cuts on safety and security at the £470 million loss-making Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant and that there will be adequate transparency and accountability on these issues?


Every operator must comply with Community and national regulations on safety and security.

With respect to nuclear material safeguards, all nuclear operators, whether private or public, are obliged under the provisions set out in Title II, chapter 7 of the Treaty stablishing the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) to fully account for their nuclear inventories. The Commission ensures the operators’ compliance with their legal obligations.

For nuclear safety, the competent national authorities are responsible for the implementation of Community regulations, as set out in Title II, Chapter 3 of the Euratom Treaty on Health and Safety, irrespective of any internal financial restructuring of the industry.

The national safety and radiation protection authorities are entrusted with the necessary controls; the Commission has the mission of independently monitoring and verifying the respect of the Euratom Treaty, including its health and safety provisions, as well as the secondary legislation based on it.

Finally, the Commission has proposed a Directive setting out basic obligations and general principles on the safety of nuclear installations. The Directive is still under discussion.


Ερώτηση αρ. 104 της κ. Ρόδης Κράτσα-Τσαγκαροπούλου (H-0832/05)
 Θέμα: Εγκλήματα τιμής και διεύρυνση

Το φαινόμενο των εγκλημάτων τιμής στις χώρες της Ε.Ε. εξακολουθεί να παραμένει ανησυχητικό. Με βάση στοιχεία Μη-Κυβερνητικών Οργανώσεων, 5000 γυναίκες πέφτουν θύματα εγκλημάτων τιμής ετησίως σε παγκόσμια κλίμακα, ενώ ένας μεγάλος αριθμός αφορά την Ευρώπη κυρίως γυναίκες προερχόμενες από τρίτες χώρες, μετανάστριες μέλη μουσουλμανικών κοινοτήτων.

Διαθέτει η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή ποιοτικά και ποσοτικά στοιχεία για το φαινόμενο αυτό και σκοπεύει να λάβει συγκεκριμένες πρωτοβουλίες για να παροτρύνει τα κράτη - μέλη να αντιμετωπίσουν το φαινόμενο αυτό με στόχο την προάσπιση των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων και του κράτους δικαίου στην Ε.Ε.;

Τέτοια κρούσματα αφορούν γυναίκες τουρκικής ιθαγένειας όπως φαίνεται και στο ψήφισμα του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου σχετικά με τον ρόλο των γυναικών στην Τουρκία στην κοινωνική, οικονομική και πολιτική ζωή (Ρ6_ΤΑ(2005)0287). Έχει λάβει η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή υπόψη την διάσταση αυτή στις ενταξιακές διαπραγματεύσεις με την Τουρκία; Σκοπεύει να προωθήσει μία συντονισμένη πολιτική ευαισθητοποίησης και ενημέρωσης για το φαινόμενο αυτό στα κράτη μέλη αλλά και στις υποψήφιες χώρες;


The Commission does not have reliable data available on the extent of honour killings in Europe. Given the lack of good quality statistics on crime at the EU-level, the Commission is committed to developing a system of EU comparable statistics on crime and criminal justice, in cooperation between Directorate-General for Justice, Freedom and Security and Eurostat.

The Commission will shortly issue a Communication on the establishment of a system for comparable statistics on crime and criminal justice, which will present a long-term action plan to develop comparable statistics. Moreover, in order to contribute to better statistical surveying of violence against women, young people and children in particular, and to harmonized and comparable data collection, the Commission has identified as one of its priority areas under the Daphne Programme the development of indicators and related data collection on violence.

The Commission supports efforts to prevent and eliminate crimes against women committed in the name of honour by encouraging Member States in particular to:

address the root causes of patriarchal violence with the aim of changing the attitudes in societies and communities that encourage, accept or at least tolerate violent behaviour in the name of honour;

collect data on honour-related violence and create statistics;

enact and implement appropriate legislation based on international resolutions to combat patriarchal violence;

adopt gender equality policies;

cooperate with, support and learn from civil society and grassroots organizations.

The Commission can in particular through the Daphne II Programme provide assistance to local-level organisations that provide, inter alia, long-term and short term education and training of all groups of society to prevent the occurrence of honour-related violence. The Daphne Programme can also support social services, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations, to ensure protective and supportive measures for victims through shelters/alternative housing and counselling.

During the accession negotiations, political reforms in Turkey and their implementation will continue to be closely monitored by the Commission and women’s rights will remain a priority. The negotiating framework agreed on 3 October, which will form the basis for negotiations, requires Turkey to “consolidate and broaden legislation and implementation measures” in the area of women’s rights.

In Turkey steps have already been taken towards ensuring greater protection of women’s rights. A new Parliamentary Committee on Violence against Women and Children began its work this month. Among other things, it will conduct research on the causes of honour killings in Turkey and propose measures aimed at preventing such crimes.

The Law N° 5251 on the organization and duties of the Directorate General for Women's Status from October 2004 provides for this government department to "conduct work for the prevention and elimination of all forms of violence against women". Violence against women had also been highlighted in the conference held on 26 and 27 June 2005 in Elazig, organised by the Turkish Government and the Commission und funded within the gender equality framework strategy programme.

The new Turkish Penal Code, which entered into force in June 2005, envisages life imprisonment for crimes against life that are motivated by “tradition and customs”. The Commission is aware of two recent court decisions where, in accordance with the new code, the perpetrators of honour killings have been sentenced to life imprisonment.


KYSYMYS NRO 105 Esko Seppänen (H-0834/05)
 Aihe: Matkustajakoneiden alasampuminen

Suomen eduskunta on muuttanut maan poliisilakia niin että se tekee mahdolliseksi armeijan virka-avun saannin matkustajalentokoneiden alasampumiseen terrorismin torjunnan nimissä. Voisiko komissio kertoa, onko tällainen siviilikohteiden tuhoaminen mahdollisesti peräisin EU:n lainsäädännöstä tai Suomen hallituksen EU:lle antamista sitoumuksista, ja jos on, ovatko kaikki EU-jäsenmaat sitoutuneet ampumaan alas siviililiikenteen lentokoneita?


There does not exist any EC legislation or EU common position or joint action on the issue of the interception of civil aircrafts in case they are under a terrorist threat. How a Member State uses its military means remains in the sole competence of the Member State in question.

Finland nor any other Member State has given any commitment at EU level to adopt national legislation that would permit using military means to intercept civil aircrafts in case of terrorist attack. However, the issue is by no means a novelty; several Member States have already respective legislation in place that permits using military capabilities in case of terrorist attacks, e.g. Denmark, United Kingdom, Latvia, the Czech Republic etc. The question has also been extensively debated at the North Atlantic Organisation (NATO) and at the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL).


Ερώτηση αρ. 106 του κ. Ιωάννη Μάτση (H-0835/05)
 Θέμα: Εποικισμός σε βάρος της Κύπρου από την Τουρκία

Ο εποικισμός σε βάρος της Κύπρου από την Τουρκία, αποτελεί σύμφωνα με το διεθνές δίκαιο έγκλημα πολέμου. Υπάρχουν δυο σχετικές εκθέσεις του Συμβουλίου της Ευρώπης, η μία του κ. Cuco και η άλλη του κ. Laakso, οι οποίες καταδικάζουν την τουρκική πολιτική σε βάρος της Κύπρου και τονίζουν ότι ο εποικισμός είναι ένα από τα βασικά εμπόδια στην εξεύρεση βιώσιμης λύσης.

Είναι σε θέση η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση και προτίθεται, εφόσον της ζητηθεί από την Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία, να θέσει υπό την δική της εποπτεία και έλεγχο απογραφή πληθυσμού σε ολόκληρο το νησί για να εξακριβωθεί ο ακριβής αριθμός του γηγενούς πληθυσμού και των εποίκων;


As regards the issue of monitoring and supervising a census, the Commission does not have the necessary competence in this respect and considers that the Council of Europe is the appropriate institution to undertake such action. Nonetheless, the Commission would provide any possible support to such an initiative.

A comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem will obviously have to address the issue of settlers.


Zapytanie nr 107 skierowane przez Zbigniew Krzysztof Kuźmiuk (H-0836/05)
 Dotyczy: Budowy gazociągu północnego na dnie Morza Bałtyckiego

W dniu 8 września 2005 rosyjskie przedsiębiorstwo Gazprom i niemieckie koncerny E.ON-Ruhrgas i BASF podpisały umowę o budowie gazociągu na dnie Bałtyku. Gazociąg ma połączyć Niemcy i Rosję omijając kraje nadbałtyckie i Polskę. Polska uważa, że inwestycja ta zagraża zarówno bezpieczeństwu energetycznemu naszego kraju jak i również naszym interesom ekonomicznym jako, że zamraża budowę przez Polskę drugiej nitki gazociągu Jamalskiego.

Jakie jest stanowisko Komisji Europejskiej w tej sprawie i czy inwestycja ta będzie wspomagana z budżetu UE?


The trans-European energy networks (TEN-E) guidelines(1) define a number of priority projects for increasing the EU’s security of energy supplies, amongst which is a new additional gas supply route from Russian sources to Northern Europe. Given the expected significant increase in EU gas demand over the coming years, it is clearly in the EU’s interest to promote the development of new gas transport infrastructure.

Two potential routes have been under discussion for some time, namely:

An off-shore pipeline from Russia directly to Germany via the Baltic Sea (“North European Pipeline ” – possibly with branches to the Scandinavian and Baltic states),

From Russia via Belarus and Poland to Germany along the existing Yamal Pipeline (“Yamal II”), including its variant from Russia via the Baltic States to Poland, Germany (“Amber”).

The final route of the Yamal Europe Gaspipeline is clearly the decision of the commercial actors involved, in consultation with the interested national authorities.

Financial assistance from the Community budget for infrastructure projects can be provided only in the framework of the TEN-Energy annual work programme if there is an application submitted following the call for proposals and it is selected for funding.

Under the call for proposals of the TEN-Energy 2003 an application was made by a consortium of European and Russian companies to investigate technical feasibility of the North European Pipeline including environmental, safety and health matters. The project was selected for funding. However, the applicant did not sign the grant agreement offered by the Commission and the feasibility study did not start. There was no application under the 2004 call for proposals for this project. Thus, the North European Pipeline project has not received so far any funding from the Community budget.

Regarding other routes, under the Call for Proposal TEN Energy 2004, a study proposed by Poland has been selected for funding to investigate the feasibility of the two alternative projects “Amber” and “Yamal II”. For both routes, it includes investigations of technical, economic, financial, legal and market issues and the impact on the environment. The aim is to provide the basis for a decision as to which of the two on-shore alternatives is more advantageous taking all relevant aspects into account. The final Commission Decision on the funding is expected to be made shortly.


(1) Decision no 1229/2003/EC adopted on 26 June 2003


Question no 108 by Mary Lou McDonald (H-0838/05)
 Subject: European Ferries Directive

What measures is the Commission proposing to take in relation to intra-EU passenger and ferry services operating under flags of convenience and subjecting workers to pay and conditions below the minimum standards applicable in the EU? Does the Commission intend to submit a proposal for a directive on this issue?


As regards regular passenger and ferry services between the Member States, the Commission had presented a proposal intended to ensure for third-country seafarers, who are employed on ships engaged in such trades, comparable terms and conditions of employment to those applicable to Community citizens. This proposal was the subject of long controversial discussions within the Council of Ministers that failed to reach a majority agreement. For this reason, the Commission was bound to withdraw its proposal in October 2004.

Following the withdrawal of this proposal, the Commission is exploring other ways likely to attain the same objectives. In the framework of the social dialogue committee for maritime transport, the Commission is discussing how the social partners could contribute to achieving the goals of the proposal. While these discussions are ongoing, the Commission does not intend to present a new proposal on manning conditions.


Question no 109 by Alexander Nuno Alvaro (H-0841/05)
 Subject: Access to customers' personal data

Is the Commission aware of the fact that, according to a press article in the Wall Street Journal Europe of 30 May, a number of US-based companies, such as Western Union, America Online and Wal-Mart, have granted to US law enforcement authorities access to the personal data of their customers, including EU citizens. In addition, the shipping company FedEx has granted customs' inspectors access to the company's database of international shipments, which includes, among other things, the name and the address of a shipper?

Does not the Commission think that, since these data also concern EU citizens, the fundamental right of those citizens to privacy and data protection, as conferred by EU Directives, is being violated?

Which measures does the Commission intend to take to stop this breach of EU law?

Will the Commission raise this issue with the US Administration, with EU Member States and with national data protection authorities?


The question refers to a press report describing the cooperation of various American based companies with United States (US) law enforcement agencies which may entail the disclosure of EU customers’ personal information to such enforcement agencies.

Whether the disclosure of EU customers’ personal information from various American based companies to US law enforcement agencies constitute a violation of the EU citizens’ fundamental rights to privacy and data protection notably as recognized by the data protection Directives must be examined on a case by case basis. The disclosure of EU citizens’ personal information to US enforcement agencies does not necessarily mean that the personal right to data protection of these individuals has been violated. To reach a conclusion therein, it is necessary to know the facts and circumstances by virtue of which each US based company collected the personal information of EU citizens in the first place.

In this context the Commission would like to recall that, in accordance with the data protection Directives, the analysis of the lawfulness of the reported disclosures must be carried out primarily by national data protection authorities, which are the bodies competent, among others, for the application of the national provisions that implement the data protection Directive, including the monitoring of international transfers. To engage in such activity, national data protection authorities are endowed with investigative, effective powers of intervention and the power to engage in legal proceedings.

The Commission trusts that national data protection authorities, either triggered by third party complaints or on their own initiative, will exercise their obligations towards ensuring the application of the Directive, in particular the monitoring of international transfers, to guarantee the protection of personal data of EU citizens. The Commission is not aware of the existence of any claim made to national data protection authorities nor has been informed by the latter of any problems in this matter. However, the Commission will raise this issue with US authorities competent for data protection matters.


Question no 110 by Proinsias De Rossa (H-0843/05)
 Subject: Respect for human rights and democracy

The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) is the only educational institution active at European level which is explicitly mandated to reinforcing and disseminating the core Community values of respect for human rights and democracy. The European Parliament's Committee on Culture, Committee on Foreign Affairs and Committee on Civil Liberties have called for continued EU funding for the EIUC by incorporating references in the EP Report on Lifelong Learning, to its reintegration in the Lifelong Learning Action Programme.

Will the Commission ensure that, irrespective of whether the EIUC's budget is allocated under Education or RELEX, it will continue to be fully funded, and will it support its reintegration in Article 42 of the Integrated Action programme in the field of lifelong learning to that end?

Will the Commission further undertake that it will ensure that the EU's continuing commitment to the important principles of human rights and democracy are not undermined by the dispute between Commissioners Figel and Ferrero-Waldner about the source of the EIUC budget?


The Commission reaffirms its continuing and deep commitment to promoting education and training in the fields of human rights and democracy. The Commission intends to propose a thematic programme for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide, replacing the current European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights.

With regard to the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice, this is currently funded from Budget Line 19.04.01, under the external relations Heading of the budget.

In the Proposal for a Decision establishing an integrated action programme in the field of lifelong learning that is now in the legislative procedure of adoption, the institutions that the Commission proposes should be designated for operating grant funding under Article 42(2) of the draft Decision are those with intergovernmental representation in their governance or funding. The European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation does not fulfil this criterion and, for this reason, has not been included in the list.

The Commission would point out that institutions or associations active in the fields of education and training which are not included in the designated list in Article 42(2) will be able to receive operating grant funding, in response to calls for proposals under Article 42(3), if they meet the eligibility and selection criteria defined in those calls.


Pregunta nº 111 formulada por Luis de Grandes Pascual (H-0848/05):
 Asunto: Nuevo incidente en la Bahía de Algeciras

Hace unas semanas se produjo un incidente en la Bahía de Algeciras. La gabarra Eileen vertió mas de 7 000 litros de fuel frente a las costas de Cádiz. ¿Tiene la Comisión información sobre las deficiencias de este buque, en particular las detectadas en la inspección a la que fue sometido en diciembre de 2004? Puesto que la mayor parte de la contaminación marina proviene de pequeños derrames como éste, ¿ha previsto la Comisión nuevas iniciativas para reforzar los requisitos legales de los buques más pequeños en materia de seguridad?

Por otra parte, ¿puede confirmar la Comisión si el buque monocasco Moskovsky Festival ha fondeado o ha realizado alguna maniobra de carga de fuel recientemente en la Bahía de Algeciras?


With regards to the spill caused by the vessel “Eileen”, the Commission, on the basis of the information available, has found no apparent relation between the deficiencies reported in the inspection of December 2004 and the recent pollution off the coast of Cadiz. The deficiencies were mainly related with the personal equipment.

The Commission shares the concerns raised by the Honourable Member about the global impact of a high number of relatively small spills, often linked to the ships’ operations. In this context, Article 10 of the Directive 2005/35/CE on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements provides for "accompanying measures" which will help enforce the system of dissuasive sanctions to better prevent ship-source pollution. Such "accompanying measures" will notably focus on the tracing of pollution and the early identification of ships discharging polluting substances in violation of the Directive. The Commission has already started to work on the development of such "accompanying measures" in the perspective of the entry into force of the Directive in April 2007.

According to the information published by the classification society Lloyd’s Register, the “Moskovsky Festival” is a double hull oil tanker. The conditions of operation of this vessel into the Bay of Algeciras is a matter of national competence.


Question no 112 by Christopher Beazley (H-0849/05)
 Subject: Labour mobility and the recognition of teaching qualifications in the single market

Under the single market agreement to enable the free movement of working people throughout the EU, what action does the Commission propose taking and within what timescale against the educational authorities in Italy and France, who currently persist in failing to recognise the professional qualifications of experienced teachers from other Member States, thereby preventing them from pursuing their careers in French and Italian schools, colleges and universities?


The Commission monitors the application by Member States of the rules on the recognition of professional qualifications in the teaching sector on a constant basis. And it believes that the European citizens are its greatest ally in this task the most reliable source of information on how these rules are applied in practice. They contact the Commission regularly and report the difficulties they are confronted with when applying for the recognition of their qualifications in other Member States.

The Commission’s actions aimed at dismantling existing barriers to labour mobility vary according to the circumstances. The Commission works closely with national administrations, for instance via SOLVIT, or other informal contacts. However, where such contacts fail to produce a satisfactory outcome, the Commission opens infringement proceedings against those Member States who repeatedly breach Community rules.

There are no infringement procedures currently pending against either France or Italy concerning the recognition of qualifications for the purposes of the right to exercise a teaching profession. If the Honourable Member has any specific information about cases of maladministration by the Italian or French authorities with regard to the recognition of teachers’ diplomas, the Commission will of course investigate.

However, in relation to other questions of cross-border mobility of teaching staff the Commission can provide the following additional information:

In relation to the recruitment of teachers, the Commission would like to draw the attention to the latest developments in this area. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) clarified in the Burbaud case that the organisation of competitions as a means of recruitment is not as such contrary to EU law. Fully qualified professionals may however not be required to undergo recruitment procedures designed to select candidates who are not fully qualified for a training course which will lead to a final qualificationwhich is a precondition for access to a post in the public sector. The Commission services are currently holding discussions with the French authorities to assist them in setting up of a legal framework that could be applied for such competitions across all professions in the public sector;

The Commission has opened a number of infringement cases against Italy concerning entry barriers that language lecturers face when they present themselves for competitions.;

Another issue concerns the taking into account of qualifications in the recruitment procedure (e.g. by granting points for qualifications in the recruitment procedure in order to place persons on a higher place on the reserve list). An infringement procedure is pending against Italy on this issue.

Finally the issue of taking into account professional experience for the purposes of access to the public sector and for determining professional advantages (e.g. salary; grade) is an important issue. In view of the ECJ's case law the Commission considers that migrant workers' previous periods of comparable employment acquired in another Member State must be taken into account by Member States' administrations for the purposes of access to their own public sector and for determining professional advantages in the same way as applies to experience acquired in their own system. The Commission has opened numerous infringement procedures against a number of Member States including Italy and France. France has adopted a set of new rules on the issue of taking into account of professional experience for the purpose of determining the salary; the Commission continues to monitor the way in which the new rules are applied in practice. In relation to Italy the ECJ recently concluded that the Italian authorities had infringed the principle of free movement of workers because they did not appropriately take into account the professional teaching experience acquired by migrant teachers who entered a competition for a teaching vacancy at an Italian state school (decision of the ECJ of 12 May 2005). In relation to the question of taking into account of professional experience for the purpose of determining professional advantages another infringement procedure is pending against Italy (C-371/04).


Ερώτηση αρ. 113 του κ. Γεωργίου Καρατζαφέρη (H-0854/05)
 Θέμα: Άδικη μεταχείριση των αναπληρωτών καθηγητών στην Ελλάδα

Στην Ελλάδα υπάρχει ο θεσμός των "αναπληρωτών καθηγητών" που καλύπτουν ανάγκες στη μέση εκπαίδευση και οι οποίοι έχουν αποφοιτήσει από την ελληνική τριτοβάθμια εκπαίδευση (όπως και οι μόνιμοι συνάδελφοί τους), εκτελούν τα ίδια ακριβώς καθήκοντα με αυτούς και τοποθετούνται για να διδάξουν - στη μεγάλη τους πλειοψηφία - σε απομακρυσμένες περιοχές της ελληνικής επικράτειας. Παρόλα αυτά, αμείβονται με άδικο τρόπο, αφού δεν πληρώνονται τους καλοκαιρινούς μήνες που τα σχολεία είναι κλειστά, ούτε λαμβάνουν πρόσθετους μισθούς τα Χριστούγεννα και το Πάσχα (όπως παίρνουν όλοι οι μόνιμοι συνάδελφοί τους) ενώ τελούν και σε καθεστώς μιας ιδιαίτερα ψυχοφθόρας αβεβαιότητας, αφού ποτέ δεν είναι σίγουρο αν θα κληθούν να εργασθούν.

Είναι σύμφωνες με την αρχή της ίσης αμοιβής για ίση εργασία οι παραπάνω ρυθμίσεις; Πώς μπορεί να παρέμβει η Επιτροπή για την παύση τού ιδιότυπου αυτού "ρατσισμού" κατά των "αναπληρωτών καθηγητών" μέσης εκπαίδευσης;


The Directive 1999/70/EC of 28 June 1999 concerning the framework agreement on fixed-term work concluded by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Union of Industrial and Employers’ Confederations of Europe (UNICE) and the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation (CEEP)(1) obliges the Member States to introduce rules in order to implement the principle of non-discrimination between fixed-term workers and comparable permanent workers as regards employment conditions and periods of service qualifications. The Directive applies to fixed-term workers who have an employment contract or employment relationship as defined at the national level.

Greece has notified the Commission that the Directive in the respects mentioned above has been transposed by Decree 81/2003 and subsequently for the public sector by Presidential Decree 164/2004. Both of these Decrees contain rules on the principle of non-discrimination between fixed-term workers and comparable permanent workers in respect of employment conditions and periods of service qualifications. In the view of the Commission these rules are in conformity with the requirements stipulated by the Directive.

The question whether the treatment of supply teachers in Greece is in accordance with the rules laid down at the national level in order to transpose the Community legislation in this field is in the first instance a matter for the competent Greek authorities. The Commission can intervene if the rules at the national level in practice are applied in a manner which is contrary to Community law. It can be added that the Commission for the moment has no indications that this would be the case.


(1) OJ L 175, 10.7.1999


Zapytanie nr 114 skierowane przez Ryszard Czarnecki (H-0857/05)
 Dotyczy: Macedonii innych krajów Europy Południowo-Wschodniej

Czy Komisja ma - przynajmniej wstępny - kalendarz negocjacji przedakcesyjnych z Macedonią, a następnie z innymi krajami Europy Południowo - Wschodniej (Serbia, Czarnogóra, Bośnia i Hercegowina, Albania)? W kontekście daty rozpoczęcia negocjacji z Turcją nasze relacje z Europą Południowo - Wschodnią nabierają bowiem specjalnego znaczenia.


There is no timetable for accession negotiations with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or with any of the other countries of South East Europe mentioned by the Honourable Member (Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania).

The Honourable Member will recall that accession negotiations take place once the Council has decided so, following an application for accession by the aspiring country, in accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on the European Union. The Council decides on the basis of an Opinion emitted by the Commission.

The countries of the Western Balkans are all potential candidates for membership and the European Union has repeatedly stated that their future lies within the EU. However, at this stage, only Croatia is a candidate negotiating its accession.

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia tabled its application for membership in March 2004 and the Council requested the Commission to prepare an Opinion in May of the same year. The Commission will adopt its Opinion on 9 November. The Commission is in no position today to pre-empt its recommendation, notably on the possible opening of accession negotiations with that country.

In the case of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro, no application for membership has been filed by these countries, which indeed have not yet concluded Stabilisation and Association Agreements (SAA) with the European Union. A recommendation on possible conclusion of negotiations for a SAA with Albania could be presented by the Commission in the near future; similar negotiations have just started with Serbia and Montenegro, and will also probably start in the next few months with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Relations with south-eastern Europe are a high priority for the EU, regardless of the opening of accession negotiations with Turkey. The European perspective of this region is particularly significant in the context of forthcoming developments in the area, such as the opening of status talks on Kosovo. Important progress on the road towards the EU has been achieved throughout the region, reflecting both the reform efforts of the countries in question and the political will on our side. However, in most cases there is still a long way to go. The pace of advancement of each country and, hence, the timetable for steps ahead, depends on its own progress in fulfilling the established criteria for coming closer and eventually joining the Union.


Pregunta nº 115 formulada por Manuel Medina Ortega (H-0858/05):
 Asunto: Procedimiento de infracción en materia de seguridad aérea

¿Ha iniciado la Comisión, o se propone iniciar, algún procedimiento de infracción por violación de las medidas comunitarias en materia de seguridad aérea?


La Commission a entamé, le 3 octobre 2005, plusieurs procédures d’infraction pour non communication des mesures nationales de transposition de la directive 2003/42/CE(1) du Parlement et du Conseil, du 13 juin 2003, concernant les comptes rendus d'évènements dans l'aviation civile.

En outre, la Commission a ouvert plusieurs procédures d’infraction concernant la mauvaise application du règlement (CE) No 549/2004(2) du Parlement et du Conseil, du 10 mars 2004, fixant le cadre pour la réalisation du ciel unique européen, notamment en ce qui concerne la création et la notification à la Commission des autorités nationales de surveillance prévue à l’article 4 du règlement.


(1) OJ L 167 of 04.07.2003
(2) OJ L 096 of 31.03.2004


Otázka č. 116 od Milan Gaľa (H-0862/05)
 Vec: Zlepšenie prístupu k adekvátnej zdravotníckej starostlivosti pre politických väzňov na Kube

Spolu s kolegami z poslaneckého klubu EPP-ED som si nedávno symbolicky adoptoval politického väzňa Antonia Diaz Sanchéza odsúdeného v marci 2003 kubánskym režimom na 20 rokov väzenia. O jeho situácii ma informujú zástupcovia občianskeho združenia Človek v ohrození a nadácie Pontis zo Slovenska. Začiatkom októbra som dostal list od manželky A. Sancheza - Gisely (členky hnutia Ženy v bielom - kandidátky na cenu Andreja Sacharova), v ktorom píše o zhoršenom zdravotnom stave manžela a o tom, že mu odopierajú zdravotnícku starostlivosť. Pomery na Kube sa dlhodobo nemenia. Rád by som sa opýtal Európskej komisie, ako môžeme diplomatickou cestou dosiahnuť, aby A. Sanchez a iní, za svoje politické presvedčenie neprávom väznení, mali lepší prístup k adekvátnej zdravotníckej starostlivosti?


La Commission se félicite de cette nouvelle expression de support de la part de membres du Parlement à l’égard de personnes emprisonnées à Cuba en raison de leurs idées politiques. Elle partage la profonde inquiétude pour le sort des prisonniers politiques à Cuba.

Lors de sa visite à Cuba au mois de mars dernier, le Commissaire en charge du Développement a rencontré plusieurs familiers de prisonniers politiques, dont Mme Gisela Sanchez Verdecia, épouse de M. Antonio Diaz Sanchez, ainsi que plusieurs représentants de la dissidence pacifique. Le commissaire a évoqué lors de cette visite, avec tous ses interlocuteurs officiels y inclus le Président Castro, la question des prisonniers politiques. La délégation de la Commission à La Havane maintient un contact étroit et permanent avec les membres des familles de prisonniers politiques et les organisations de droits de l’homme à Cuba, notamment la Commission cubaine pour les Droits de l'Homme et la Réconciliation Nationale.

L’Union Européenne a appelé de manière ferme et réitérée depuis mars 2003 les autorités cubaines à libérer tous les prisonniers politiques et assurer que, entre temps, ces prisonniers ne sont pas soumis à des souffrances ou à des traitements inhumains. Récemment, dans un communiqué de presse du 24 juillet 2005, la Commission a exprimé son inquiétude sur l’évolution de la situation politique à Cuba et a dénoncé les nouvelles arrestations de dissidents à La Havane. La Présidence, au nom de l’Union, a exprimé cette même préoccupation dans deux déclarations, le 15 et le 25 juillet 2005, et a réitéré la demande de libération de tous les prisonniers politiques.

Le 29 septembre 2005, l’Union Européenne a également, dans une nouvelle déclaration, appelé les autorités cubaines à « entreprendre des actions immédiates afin d’améliorer les conditions de détention de tous les prisonniers politiques à Cuba, maintenus dans des conditions en dessous des Standards Minimaux des Nations Unies en matière de Traitement des Prisonniers ». L’amélioration des conditions de détention inclut, certainement, l’accès des prisonniers politiques à des soins de santé adéquats.

La Commission reste en faveur du maintien d’une politique d’engagement constructif par un dialogue politique avec les autorités cubaines, accompagnée du renforcement des contacts avec la dissidence et des représentants de la société civile. La décision du Conseil du 13 juin 2005 a justement renforcé la nécessité d’utiliser ce dialogue pour appuyer des avances concrètes en matière de droits de l’homme. Cette politique d’engagement constructif est, pour la Commission, celle qui a le plus de chances d’aboutir dans la libération de tous les prisonniers politiques à Cuba.


Ερώτηση αρ. 117 του κ. Παναγιώτη Μπεγλίτη (H-0864/05)
 Θέμα: Χρηματοδότηση κοινών σχεδίων "διδυμοποίησης" φορέων κρατών μελών με φορείς των Δυτικών Βαλκανίων

Σύμφωνα με την ευρωπαϊκή στρατηγική για τα Δυτικά Βαλκάνια, που υιοθετήθηκε στο Ευρωπαϊκό Συμβούλιο της Θεσσαλονίκης (Ιούνιος 2003), προβλέπεται η χρηματοδότηση, από το κοινοτικό πρόγραμμα CARDS, κοινών σχεδίων "διδυμοποίησης" (twinning) φορέων της ευρύτερης δημόσιας διοίκησης των κρατών μελών με αντίστοιχους φορείς των χωρών των Δυτικών Βαλκανίων, με στόχο την ενίσχυση της διαδικασίας εκδημοκρατισμού και τον εκσυγχρονισμό των θεσμών, στο πλαίσιο της ευρωπαϊκής τους προοπτικής.

Ποια σχέδια υπέβαλαν οι ελληνικές αρχές κατά το χρονικό διάστημα 2004-2005 και ποια υλοποιούνται στις χώρες των Δυτικών Βαλκανίων; Ποια σχέδια έχουν υποβληθεί από άλλα κράτη μέλη της ΕΕ; Γενικότερα, πώς προχωρά η υλοποίηση της διαδικασίας της "διδυμοποίησης" στα Δυτικά Βαλκάνια, σύμφωνα με την απόφαση του Ευρωπαϊκού Συμβουλίου της Θεσσαλονίκης;


The Commission has launched twinning projects in the framework of the CARDS since 2001, i.e. before the adoption of the European strategy for the Western Balkans at the Thessaloniki European Council in June 2003.

Between 2001 and 2005 the Commission has initiated 54 CARDS twinning projects and called on the public administrations of the Member States to propose public sector expertise to that effect. According to the presently available data, Greece has submitted 25 twinning proposals for these projects and the Greek administration has been selected to implement two projects.

More generally it has been recognised that twinning, as a tested institution building instrument for targeted administrative co-operation, should be more widely used to follow up on the Thessaloniki European Council conclusions in order to strengthen the process of democratisation and stabilisation in the Western Balkans. This is and will be reflected in an increasing number of CARDS twinning projects .


Question no 118 by Sharon Margaret Bowles (H-0871/05)
 Subject: Sectoral inquiry

During the discussion on the Commission's presentation of the New Legal Framework for Payments (NLF) to the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, it was stated that the results of DG Competition's sectoral inquiry into debit and credit cards is expected next year. It seems likely that there could be some overlap with NLF. If so, would the Commission agree that Parliament should have available to it the relevant parts of this inquiry when it discusses this directive?

More generally, it seems possible that other parts of the sectoral inquiry could also be relevant. Can the Commission indicate whether it is intending to coordinate at least provisional responses to the sectoral inquiry with the New Legal Framework and make the information available to Parliament?


The proposal for a New Legal Framework (NLF) for payments has been fully considered by the Commission services from the angle of ensuring that it is pro-competitive in its effects. Directorate General (DG) Internal Market and DG Competition closely co-operated in the preparation of the proposal. It has also undergone a proper impact assessment.

The NLF proposal focuses on the relationship between payment service providers and their users and addresses relevant competition aspects in this respect, including harmonization of market access conditions of national payment markets and improved market transparency for users. The sector inquiry into retail banking is a distinct exercise, based on the competition rules. Payment services are one part of the inquiry.

The Commission will, of course, share the results of its sector inquiry with the Parliament once available. However, the Commission does not expect that the findings of the sector inquiry will change the justification and impact assessment on which the current proposal for the New Legal Framework (NLF) for payments is based. The Commission therefore sees no obstacle to discussing this important piece of proposed legislation before the findings of the sector inquiry are available.


Vraag nr. 119 van Johan Van Hecke (H-0873/05)
 Betreft: Invoer van Europese likeuren naar Zweden

Volgens recente berichten zou Zweden invoerbeperkingen willen opleggen voor de invoer van likeuren uit andere EU-lidstaten. Zweden heeft nog een staatsmonopolie wat sterke alcoholische dranken betreft.(het zgn. "Systembolaget"), dat indertijd werd ingesteld om het drankprobleem van vele Zweden te bestrijden.

De Zweedse overheid zou nu plannen om een invoerbeperking op te leggen voor likeuren die haar landgenoten in het buitenland, vooral in de grensstaten gaan aankopen. Reden is dat het drankverbruik de jongste jaren terug angstwekkend is gestegen. Dit lijkt mij echter in strijd met het principe van de interne markt en het vrij verkeer van goederen. Vooral de buurlanden en de Europese likeurproducenten zullen hiervan de dupe worden. Gaat de Zweedse overheid op die manier geen intern probleem trachten op te lossen ten nadele van andere Europese lidstaten? Zal de Commissie dit toelaten en zo ja, onder welke voorwaarden? Zal dit geen tegenreactie uitlokken van andere lidstaten, zodat het hele vrij verkeer op de helling komt?


The question of the Honourable Member seems to concern a possible proposal by the Swedish Government to restrict the import of the alcoholic beverage of the type “liqueur” into Sweden on the basis of the protection of public health. The Commission was not aware of the existence of such a proposal, which has not yet been notified under Directive 98/34/EC.

The Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that the Commission decided on 7 July 2004 within the infringement procedure of Article 226 of the EC Treaty to bring Sweden before the European Court of Justice for maintaining a ban on Swedish consumers using independent intermediaries to import alcoholic beverages for their private use into Sweden from other Member States. Having regard to the public health objective that it is supposed to achieve, the Commission believes that the ban represents a disproportionate obstacle to the free movement of goods in contravention of Articles 28 and 30 of the EC Treaty. In the Commission’s view, the protection of public health can be achieved by other means that are less restrictive for trade between Member States, such as public information campaigns and introducing procedures which check the age of those buying alcoholic drinks.

Furthermore, the Commission would like to bring the Honourable Member’s attention to the judgment of the European Court of Justice in the Franzén case (Case C-189/95, Harry Franzén, judgment of 23 October 1997). The European Court of Justice confirmed in that judgment that for public health reasons, the existence and the operation of a domestic monopoly on retail of alcohol beverages, such as “Systembolaget”, was compatible with the EC Treaty, more particularly with Article 31 concerning national monopolies. Article 31 of the EC Treaty does indeed not require national monopolies having a commercial character to be abolished, but requires them to be adjusted in such a way as to ensure that no discrimination regarding the conditions under which goods are procured and marketed exists.

The Commission will follow the developments regarding possible intentions to restrict the import of alcoholic beverages into Sweden with utmost attention.


Ερώτηση αρ. 120 της κ. Διαμάντως Μανωλάκου (H-0874/05)
 Θέμα: Παρακράτηση χρημάτων από τις αγροτικές επιδοτήσεις

Η τριτοβάθμια συνεταιριστική οργάνωση της Ελλάδας (ΠΑΣΕΓΕΣ), με υπόδειξη της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης, παρακρατεί παράνομα και καταχρηστικά από τους αγρότες 10 έως 25 ευρώ για κάθε αίτηση διόρθωσης λαθών που έκανε ο Οργανισμός Πληρωμών και Ελέγχου Κοινοτικών Επιδοτήσεων Προσανατολισμού και Εγγυήσεων (ΟΠΕΚΕΠΕ) κατά τον υπολογισμό της ενιαίας ενίσχυσης που δικαιούται κάθε αγρότης στα πλαίσια της νέας ΚΑΠ. Η παρακράτηση αυτή είναι παράνομη και καταχρηστική γιατί τα έξοδα διαχείρισης της ενιαίας ενίσχυσης αποτελούν δημόσια δαπάνη, και σύμφωνα με γενικό κανονισμό, απαγορεύεται οποιαδήποτε παρακράτηση από τις αγροτικές επιδοτήσεις, και κυρίως γιατί οι αγρότες καλούνται να πληρώσουν όχι δικά τους λάθη, αλλά τα λάθη του ΟΠΕΚΕΠΕ.

Έχει γνώση η Επιτροπή για το θέμα και τι ενέργειες θα κάνει για να σταματήσει την παράνομη παρακράτηση και να επιστραφούν όσα χρήματα έχουν καταχρηστικά παρακρατηθεί;


The Commission will remind the Greek authorities of the legal obligation that payments of direct aids to farmers have to be made in full without any reductions to cover administrative costs. In addition, in the framework of the clearance of account procedure this important aspect of the implementation of the single payment system will be verified.

Farmers who are dissatisfied with the way the payments have been executed should request clarification from the Greek authorities and ask for full payment. They also have the option of using the legal remedies in force at national level.


Spørgsmål nr. 121 af Anne E. Jensen (H-0878/05)
 Om: Fællesskabets interesse i at indføre antidumpingtold på fodtøj

Kommissionen indledte den 7. juli en antidumpingundersøgelse vedrørende importen af ”fodtøj med overdel af læder” fra Kina og Vietnam. Undersøgelsen blev iværksat efter kraftigt pres fra en organisation, der repræsenterer virksomheder, der står for under halvdelen af produktionen i EU af de pågældende varer.

Sagen har allerede haft skadelige konsekvenser for den globalt orienterede del af den europæiske fodtøjsbranche, og om få måneder vil konsekvenserne slå igennem på detailhandlen og forbrugerne i EU, der vil opleve stigende priser allerede inden en eventuel antidumpingtold er blevet gennemført.

Kan Kommissionen bekræfte, at den kun vil foreslå en antidumpingtold indført, såfremt den mener, at dette vil være i fællesskabets interesse? Kan den samtidig oplyse, hvorledes den agter at sikre, at såvel hele fodtøjsbranchens som forbrugernes interesser bliver inddraget i vurderingen af, hvad der er i fællesskabets interesse?


Any industry operating in the European Community, or any producers representing such industry, has the legal right to lodge an anti-dumping complaint containing evidence that it suffers from an injury caused by dumping practices. If this complaint contains sufficient elements showing evidence of injurious dumping, the Commission has no choice but to initiate an investigation.

In this specific case, a complaint was received from more than 800 footwear producers in the Community, representing around 60,000 employees. Those companies represent a major proportion of the European footwear industry, i.e. in this case more than 40% of the overall Community production of footwear with uppers of leather. Those producers are deemed to legally represent the Community footwear industry.

It should be underlined that the opening of an investigation is obviously without prejudice to its outcome. The on-going investigation will determine whether there is dumping, injury and a causal link between them.

In the event that the investigation confirms the allegations of injurious dumping then the Commission will be faced with the task of balancing the various interests of all parties concerned including those of EU producers, importers, distributors and consumers and to determine whether it, on balance, is in the Interest of the Community to impose measures.

Like in any other anti-dumping investigation, the Commission has given the opportunity to all economic operators, directly concerned by any imposition of measures, to come forward and to co-operate to the investigation by providing their views and any relevant information necessary to analyse to what extent they would be affected by any measures. Association of consumers have also been contacted in that respect.

The investigation will entail a thorough analysis of those comments, in order to ensure that any measures would only be imposed if it is determined that, on balance, the economic interest of retailers and consumers, does not carry more weight than those of the Community industry and the effect of the remedial action. The Commission will conduct this analysis with the utmost care.


Anfrage Nr. 122 von Hans-Peter Martin (H-0884/05)
 Betrifft: Ruhestand für Beamte

Trifft es zu, dass EU-Beamte nach Anhang XIII Artikel 23 des Statuts der EU-Beamten bereits mit 50 Jahren in den Ruhestand gehen können?


Laut Anhang XIII, Artikel 23 des Statuts der Europäischen Beamten, kann ein Beamter, der zum Zeitpunkt der Reform des Statuts (1.5.2004) bereits 45 Jahre alt war oder 20 Dienstjahre abgeleistet hat, ab dem Alter von 50 Jahren aus dem Dienst ausscheiden. Seine Ruhegehaltsbezüge werden dementsprechend gekürzt (Anhang XIII, Artikel 23, Absatz 2)(1).

It is important to note that this provision was included in the transitional measures applying to the revised Staff Rules to ensure the legitimate expectations of existing staff were protected. Since the reform of the Staff Regulations, the usual minimum age for early retirement has been raised to 55. Moreover, in practice retirement before the age of 55 has always been extremely rare in the Commission, probably because the reduction in the pension payable is very substantial in such cases. Retirement before the old normal retirement age of 60 is also relatively uncommon.


(1) ’In einem solchen Fall kommt es zusätzlich zu der in Anhang VIII Artikel 9 des Statuts genannten Kürzung der Ruhegehaltsansprüche bei Beamten, die vor Vollendung des 55. Lebensjahrs aus dem Dienst scheiden, zu folgender Kürzung: um 4,483 % der erworbenen Ruhegehaltsansprüche, falls das Ruhegehalt ab dem 54. Lebensjahr bezogen wird, um 8,573 %, falls das Ruhegehalt ab dem 53. Lebensjahr bezogen wird, um 12,316 %, falls das Ruhegehalt ab dem 52. Lebensjahr bezogen wird, um 15,778 %, falls das Ruhegehalt ab dem 51. Lebensjahr bezogen wird, und um 18,934 %, falls das Ruhegehalt ab dem 50. Lebensjahr bezogen wird’


Pregunta nº 123 formulada por Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines (H-0885/05):
 Asunto: Proyectos para la ejecución del Trasvase del Río Ebro

El año 2003 el Gobierno Español presentó a la Comisión Europea cinco proyectos para la ejecución del Trasvase del Río Ebro cuya cantidad ascendía aproximadamente a 1 200 Millones de euros. La financiación de estos proyectos procedía, en parte, de los Fondos Estructurales correspondientes a Regiones Objetivo 1 (Valencia, Murcia y Andalucía) y, el resto, de los Fondos de Cohesión. Estos proyectos fueron estudiados en la Dirección General de Política Regional.

Teniendo en cuenta que posteriormente el Gobierno Español retiró dichos proyectos, pregunto a la Comisión:

¿A qué proyectos se han destinado esos fondos, cual es su nombre y su situación administrativa? ¿Ha habido algún descompromiso automático de los Fondos implicados? ¿El Plan Agua presentado por el Gobierno Español ha sido propuesto para ser financiado por estos fondos? y en caso afirmativo ¿qué proyectos del Plan Agua y cuáles son las cifras solicitadas?


The projects for the Ebro transfer were submitted for Community financing by the Spanish authorities in December 2003 and January 2004, as a set of four large projects with a total cost of € 2,728 Million and requested Community financing of € 1,262 Million. The situation concerning the possible Community financing of works included in the Spanish National Hydrological Plan (SNHP) was the subject of intense discussion between all parties concerned, in particular as regards to the proposed transfer of 1050 Hm³ of water per year from the Ebro river to the Spanish Mediterranean coastal regions of Cataluña, Valencia, Murcia and the province of Almería in Andalucía. There was no unanimity between the different Spanish regions regarding this transfer. After the change of government in Spain as a result of the general elections of March 2004, the new Spanish authorities declared that the “Ebro transfer” would be withdrawn and substituted by alternative projects. These requests for co-financing were officially withdrawn by letter from the Spanish Permanent Representation of 29 June 2004.

Therefore, the “Ebro transfer” projects have never been approved by the Commission and no funds were ever committed to co-finance these projects.

Through Royal Decree 2/2004 of 18 June 2004, the new Spanish government modified the articles and projects in the NHP law related to the Ebro river transfer and proposed, for the watersheds affected, a set of alternative priority and urgent measures.

These measures have been presented by the Ministry of Environment on the 2nd of September 2004 under the new name of Programme A.G.U.A. (Actuaciones para la Gestión y la Utilización del Agua – Interventions for the Management and the Use of Water).

A series of urgent interventions in the Mediterranean watersheds in the framework of the A.G.U.A. programme is intended to deliver to the same regions plus the province of Málaga, in Andalucía, a total of 1.063 Hm³ of water per year (practically equivalent to the proposed 1.050 Hm³/year proposed to be transferred from the Ebro, though affecting a larger area) through a mixture of measures including water savings and management improvement, the reuse of treated wastewaters and the construction of desalination plants.

On October 1st, 2005, the estimated investment for the more than one hundred AGUA interventions was € 4,360 Million. In declarations to the press at the presentation of the A.G.U.A. programme, the Spanish Minister for the Environment stated that Spain counts on € 1,362 Million of Community funds.

Following the latest information received from the Spanish Ministry of Environment, from the investment envisaged of € 4,360 Million, € 432 Million correspond to 11 projects in implementation phase, € 26 Million to projects completed, € 71 Million to projects for which a call for tenders has been published, € 3,350Million to projects being in project definition phase and € 481 Million for projects for which feasibility studies are ongoing.


Question no 124 by Elizabeth Lynne (H-0886/05)
 Subject: Electromagnetic Fields Directive

Will the Commission undertake to review the Electromagnetic Fields Directive (2004/40/EC(1)), given the consensus among leading scientific experts in this field of the damage that this Directive will inflict on the future development and provision of medical devices across the EU, in particular the impact on clinical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is potentially disastrous?


Directive 2004/40/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risk arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) is designed to protect workers against excessive exposure to MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and electromagnetic fields which scientific experts agree is dangerous for health as well as other radiations. It was drafted by the Commission based on the results and recommendations issued by ICNIRP (International Commission for Non Ionizing Radiation Protection), an independent world wide recognized organisation using the expertise of technicians, scientists and doctors working in the field.

The Parliament and the Council (unanimously) agreed in April 2004 that it is essential to have the same standards for the health and safety of workers regarding electromagnetic fields since the risk is the same for nurses and doctors throughout Europe. The Directive was adopted unanimously and has to be implemented by April 2008.

The Commission is aware of the concern expressed by some doctors and scientists about the coming into force of this Directive. To this effect, the Commission would like to recall that the risk of MRI is a real one for everybody who is exposed to it regularly and that this directive will give a solid protection to doctors and nurses exposed to MRI and should have no negative impact on the quality of health care.

In any case, the Directive foresees a review mechanism every five years based on the implementation reports received from the Member States. Any unintended effect on the quality of health care will be addressed in this context-


(1) OJ L 159, 30.4.2004, p. 1.


Anfrage Nr. 125 von Richard Seeber (H-0887/05)
 Betrifft: Biokraftstoffe

Der Straßenverkehr ist einer der größten Energieverbraucher und darüber hinaus für mehr als ein Fünftel aller CO2-Emissionen in der Europäischen Union verantwortlich. Eine Möglichkeit, den Straßenverkehr umweltfreundlicher zu machen, ist die Nutzung von Biokraftstoffen. Besonders interessant erscheint die Verwendung von Rapsmethylesther, so genanntem Biodiesel, der aus Raps, also nachwachsendem Rohstoff gewonnen wird. Biodiesel würde zu einer Senkung der Russemissionen beitragen. Bei der Verbrennung würde Rapsmethylesther etwa ebensoviel CO2 abgeben, wie die Pflanzen während des Wachstums aufgenommen haben. Raps kann in der EU produziert werden, weshalb die Verwendung von Biodiesel zur Unabhängigkeit von Erdölimporten beiträgt. Darüber hinaus würde eine verstärkte Nachfrage nach Biodiesel und damit nach Raps auch einen positiven Impuls für die Landwirtschaft bedeuten.

Sind der Kommission Studien über den Einsatz von Rapsöl als alternativem Treibstoff bekannt, aus denen sich dessen ökologische Sinnhaftigkeit ergibt? Wenn ja, könnte Biodiesel nicht auch einen Beitrag zur Erreichung der Kyoto-Ziele leisten?

Welche Vorraussetzungen müssten für eine Wettbewerbsfähigkeit von Biodiesel vorliegen? Wäre es von Seiten der Kommission denkbar, Rapsöl über Verbrauchssteuern wettbewerbsfähig zu machen?


The Commission agrees completely. The Union has committed itself to use more transport biofuels. It is true that biofuels are expensive (biodiesel would need an oil price of about €75/barrel to become as cheap as conventional fuel, bioethanol €95). But they are one of the few measures we have that can significantly reducing transport’s dependence on oil and its ever-growing emissions of greenhouse gases. In addition, they offer important benefits for economic activity in rural areas.

The Union has already done several things to promote biofuels. In 2003, it adopted Directives setting targets for their use(1) and making it easier to adjust consumption taxes to support them.(2) The reform of the common agricultural policy will help biofuels by permitting farmers to choose the markets they grow crops for. Biofuels also receive support from Community financial instruments like the European Regional Development Fund, the Rural Development Programme and the Energy Crops Credit. The Research and Technological Development (RTD) framework programmes are supporting research into “2nd-generation” biofuels that can be made from wood and wastes. If the remaining technical obstacles can be overcome, it is hoped that these will offer greater greenhouse gas savings.

The biofuels directive set the objective of a 2% market share for biofuels at the end of 2005. It is becoming clear that this will not be achieved. At best, if all Member States achieve the targets they have set, the share will be 1.4%. In the light of this, and the added importance given to biofuels by high oil prices, the Commission will look closely, in its forthcoming Biomass Action Plan, at what more needs to be done. And it will bring forward a more detailed communication on aspects of biofuels policy in early 2006.


(1) The biofuels directive, 2003/30
(2) The energy taxation directive, 2003/96


Vraag nr. 126 van Frank Vanhecke (H-0888/05)
 Betreft: EU-antidiscriminatiecampagne

In 2003 startte de Europese Commissie een grootscheepse zogenaamde antidiscriminatiecampagne. Ook een groot aantal landelijke, zowel als EU-organisaties, zoals werkgeversorganisaties, vakbonden en niet-goevernementele organisaties, zijn actief betrokken in de campagne. De meeste campagneactiviteiten worden niet centraal vanuit Brussel georganiseerd, maar landelijk en regionaal in elke lidstaat afzonderlijk.

Op 13 oktober 2005 trachtte ik op de betreffende website informatie te bekomen over de zogenaamde nationale partners en de nationale campagne in de lidstaat België. Ik werd zowaar geconfronteerd met het feit dat deze informatie enkel in het Frans beschikbaar is. Een versie in de Nederlandse taal, de taal van het meerderheidsvolk van België, de Vlamingen, is gewoonweg niet beschikbaar.

Is de Europese Commissie op de hoogte van het feit dat de Vlamingen de meerderheid uitmaken van de bevolking van de lidstaat België en dat ook het Nederlands, naast het Frans, een officiële taal is van het koninkrijk België? Vindt de Europese Commissie niet dat zoiets in deze campagne - die officieel verscheidenheid en respect voor de andere wil bevorderen - totaal onaanvaardbaar is? Wie is hiervoor verantwoordelijk? Heeft de lidstaat België enkel een Franse versie bezorgd of is het zo dat de diensten van de Europese Commissie het enkel nodig achtten de Franse versie van de betreffende tekst op de officiële website van de Europese Commissie te plaatsen?


The website of the information campaign ‘For Diversity. Against Discrimination’ (www.stop-discrimination.info) is available in all 20 EU languages. From the index page information is available according to language rather than country. To access country specific information, all further webpages of the site are accompanied by a drop down menu in the right hand column. For information about the Belgian campaign, in both Dutch and French, Belgique/België should be selected.

Õigusteave - Privaatsuspoliitika