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Debates
Thursday, 27 September 2007 - StrasbourgOJ edition
 ANNEX (Written answers)
QUESTIONS TO COUNCIL (The Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union bears sole responsibility for these answers)
QUESTIONS TO THE COMMISSION

QUESTIONS TO COUNCIL (The Presidency-in-Office of the Council of the European Union bears sole responsibility for these answers)
Fråga nr 22 från Anna Hedh (H-0656/07)
 Angående: Jämställdhet
 

Jämställdhet är en av gemenskapens grundläggande värderingar och mål för all verksamhet inom unionen. EU:s medlemsstater och gemenskapens institutioner är skyldiga att se till att jämställdhet genomsyrar alla EU:s politikområden. Tyvärr har vi mycket kvar att göra för att uppnå detta.

Därför undrar jag hur Portugal under sitt ordförandeskap kommer att arbeta för att se till att jämställdhetsperspektivet – ”gender mainstreaming” – blir verklighet inom unionens organ, främst inom rådsarbetet?

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

A igualdade entre sexos é efectivamente um dos valores e objectivos centrais da União Europeia. Apesar dos progressos já alcançados muito falta ainda fazer, sobretudo na área da integração da perspectiva da igualdade entre os sexos, ou seja, da promoção da igualdade entre homens e mulheres em todas as actividades. Mantendo os compromissos reiteradamente assumidos pelos Estados-Membros nesta matéria, a Presidência Portuguesa diligencia presentemente para que as questões da igualdade entre sexos sejam integradas em todos os contextos pertinentes, incluindo nos trabalhos do Conselho.

O Conselho aborda regularmente a questão da integração da perspectiva da igualdade entre sexos quando procede à revisão da aplicação da Plataforma de Acção de Pequim. Foram já concebidos por sucessivas Presidências indicadores para as áreas críticas de preocupação definidas na Plataforma de Pequim. Relativamente a este tema a Presidência Portuguesa tem por seu lado em curso a elaboração de um conjunto de indicadores sobre "as mulheres e a pobreza", bem como de um pacote de conclusões do Conselho, para aprovação pelo Conselho em Dezembro. De 8 a 9 de Outubro será realizada no Porto uma conferência sobre "tráfico de seres humanos e género".

O programa da Presidência Portuguesa inclui igualmente várias outras iniciativas de promoção da integração da dimensão de género e da igualdade entre homens e mulheres, como já comunicado pelo Ministro Pedro Silva Pereira ao Parlamento Europeu quando da sua comparência perante a Comissão para os Direitos da Mulher e Igualdade dos Géneros, em 16 de Julho de 2007.

Em 11 de Setembro de 2007 foi realizada em Lisboa uma reunião do Grupo de Alto Nível para a Integração da Perspectiva da Igualdade entre os Sexos. O Grupo debateu os indicadores projectados sobre "as mulheres e a pobreza", a igualdade entre homens e mulheres na Estratégia de Lisboa, a preparação da próxima 52.ª Sessão da Comissão da ONU sobre o Estatuto das Mulheres, bem como uma série de outras importantes questões. Em 5 de Outubro de 2007 a Presidência acolherá um encontro informal de Ministros responsáveis pela igualdade entre homens e mulheres.

Por último, a Presidência tem o prazer de recordar que 2007 é o Ano Europeu da Igualdade de Oportunidades para Todos, iniciativa baseada numa decisão conjuntamente tomada pelo Parlamento Europeu e pelo Conselho. Foram já realizados vários eventos, encontrando-se agendada para 19 de Novembro de 2007 a conferência de encerramento, em Lisboa. A Presidência tenciona apresentar ao Conselho, em Dezembro, um projecto de resolução que reflicta os resultados alcançados ao longo do ano.

Para concluir, para além dos progressos já registados na Europa nas últimas décadas em matéria de igualdade entre homens e mulheres, a Presidência está determinada a levar mais longe a promoção deste objectivo, sobretudo através da integração da perspectiva da igualdade entre sexos.

 

Vraag nr. 23 van Frank Vanhecke (H-0657/07)
 Betreft: Opdeling België
 

De Vlaamse krant 'De Tijd' meldt dat het scenario van een splitsing van België vrij reëel is in EU-kringen. De Belgische minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Karel De Gucht, zou door tal van zijn collega's zijn aangesproken over de situatie in België waarbij de Slovaakse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, Jan Kubra, parallellen trekt met de splitsing van Tsjechoslowakije.

Kan de Raad mij bevestigen dat toekomstige interne afwikkelingen behoren tot het uitsluitend interne domein van de lidstaat België?

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

Não é política do Conselho responder a questões hipotéticas sobre o futuro de um Estado-Membro.

 

Question no 24 by Marian Harkin (H-0659/07)
 Subject: Intergovernmental Conferences
 

Considering that most political debates and crucial decisions take place during Intergovernmental Conferences, and given that it is important to allow citizens and civil society to follow debates of political importance, can the Council comment on any efforts it has made or will make to ensure that Intergovernmental Conferences will become more transparent in future?

Has the Council considered opening part of the sessions of the Intergovernmental Conference to the public, to release the proceedings to the media and to organise regular consultations?

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

O Conselho não pode tomar posição sobre a questão invocada pela Senhora Deputada. Decorre do artigo 48.º do Tratado da UE que a Conferência Intergovernamental (CIG) é uma conferência dos representantes dos governos dos Estados-Membros. Embora seja convocada pelo Presidente do Conselho, o Conselho não participa nessa Conferência nem está a ela associado.

De acordo com a prática seguida para as anteriores CIG, as reuniões da Conferência não estão abertas ao público. Todavia, chama-se a atenção da Senhora Deputada para o facto de que todos os documentos da Conferência são facultados ao público e estão acessíveis na página Internet do Conselho, permitindo assim aos cidadãos e à sociedade civil acompanharem os debates da Conferência.

Gostaria também de recordar que o Parlamento Europeu está estreita e activamente associado aos trabalhos da Conferência Intergovernamental, encarregada da elaboração do Tratado Reformador, participando com três representantes.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 25 του κ. Αθανασίου Παφίλη (H-0662/07)
 Θέμα: Εξίσωση θυτών και θυμάτων του Β' Παγκοσμίου πολέμου στην Ουκρανία
 

Στην εξίσωση θυτών και θυμάτων του Β’ Παγκοσμίου πολέμου προχώρησαν, στις 2 Σεπτέμβρη, οι τοπικές αρχές του Κριχόφτσκι στη Δυτική Ουκρανία, με χρηματοδότηση τοπικών επιχειρηματιών, εγκαινιάζοντας κοινό μνημείο προς τιμή αυτών που έδωσαν τη ζωή τους για να ηττηθεί ο φασισμός, όσο και των μελών της Ουκρανικής φασιστικής οργάνωσης που συνεργάστηκε με τις δυνάμεις της ναζιστικής κατοχής. Έτσι, στη μία πλάκα του μνημείου αναγράφονται τα ονόματα των 44 κατοίκων του χωριού, που έπεσαν πολεμώντας μέσα από τις γραμμές του Κόκκινου Στρατού τους ναζί και ακριβώς απέναντι τα ονόματα των 16 ντόπιων φασιστών συνεργατών τους.

Πως κρίνει το Συμβούλιο τις διαρκώς αυξανόμενες προσπάθειες που γίνονται σ’ ολόκληρη την Ευρώπη, στις οποίες μάλιστα πρωτοστατούν οι κυβερνήσεις των Βαλτικών χωρών μελών της Ε.Ε., για να αποσιωπηθεί η Αντιφασιστική Νίκη των λαών, να παραχαραχτεί η Ιστορία, και να νομιμοποιηθούν οι ναζί και οι συνεργάτες τους και τα εγκλήματά τους σε βάρος της ανθρωπότητας;

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

O Conselho recorda que a União Europeia defende os princípios da liberdade, da democracia, do respeito pelos direitos do Homem e pelas liberdades fundamentais, bem como do Estado de direito, princípios esses que são comuns a todos os Estados-Membros. Cabe aos historiadores esforçarem-se por fazer uma narrativa objectiva, baseada em todas as fontes disponíveis, dos destinos da Ucrânia e dos países bálticos durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial e investigarem os crimes contra a humanidade cometidos nos seus territórios durante a Guerra.

 

Vraag nr. 26 van Bastiaan Belder (H-0664/07)
 Betreft: Onregelmatigheden in de besluitvorming voor internationale standaardisatie in het ISO
 

Heeft de Raad kennisgenomen van de recente onregelmatigheden in de besluitvorming voor internationale standaardisatie in het ISO, waaronder het chanteren en kopen van stemmen en het op andere manieren oneigenlijk beïnvloeden van nationale stemcommissies?

Is de Raad van mening dat de ISO-procedures aanzienlijke aanpassing behoeven om beter toegesneden te zijn op controversiële standaarden als OOXML?

Zo ja, welke aanpassingen wil de Raad voorstellen in overleg met de lidstaten en andere deelnemende landen, alsmede de nationale commissies?

Overweegt de Raad sancties jegens de ondernemingen die hun marktpositie gebruiken om Europese bedrijven tegen hun wil bij dit soort praktijken te betrekken c.q. om andere leveranciers en open source-toepassingen op concurrentieachterstand te zetten?

Zie onder meer: http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/7183/469"

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

A Organização Internacional de Normalização (ISO) é uma organização não governamental, actualmente constituída por organismos de normalização de 157 países.

A União Europeia não é nem pode ser membro da ISO, embora todos os Estados-Membros tenham diferentes tipos de participação nas actividades dessa organização (na qualidade de organismos membros ou de membros correspondentes).

Dado que não existem delegações dos Estados-Membros da UE, seria muito difícil pedir aos organismos nacionais de normalização para coordenarem as suas posições.

No âmbito da avaliação de impacto prévia à apresentação de uma nova proposta legislativa, a Comissão avalia as consequências de qualquer política de normalização, especialmente se for susceptível de impedir a livre concorrência.

Não compete ao Conselho impor sanções por comportamentos anti-concorrenciais. É à Comissão que o n.º 2 do artigo 85.º do Tratado CE atribui competências para tal.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 27 της κ. Διαμάντως Μανωλάκου (H-0668/07)
 Θέμα: Ένταση της αστυνομικής αυθαιρεσίας στο όνομα της καταπολέμησης της τρομοκρατίας
 

Σύμφωνα με καταγγελίες ακαδημαϊκών και δημοσιεύματα έγκυρων εφημερίδων, η γερμανική αστυνομία προχώρησε στην σύλληψη 4 ακαδημαϊκών ερευνητών κοινωνιολογίας κάτω από απαράδεκτες συνθήκες κράτησης με σαθρά επιχειρήματα, όπως η χρήση σε ακαδημαϊκά τους κείμενα όρων όπως «ανισότητα» και «ανάπλαση υποβαθμισμένων συνοικιών» κ.α., που χρησιμοποιούν τρομοκρατικές οργανώσεις, συνωμοτική συμπεριφορά «μη χρήσης κινητών τηλεφώνων σε συναντήσεις τους με ακτιβιστές», ή ακόμα τη «διανοητική ικανότητα σύνταξης σύνθετων κειμένων».

Γνωρίζει το Συμβούλιο το γεγονός; Πιστεύει ότι ενέργειες σαν αυτήν ενθαρρύνονται από το πλαστό δίλημμα ανάμεσα στα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα και την ασφάλεια; Θεωρεί ότι η αντιτρομοκρατική νομοθεσία σε επίπεδο ΕΕ και κρατών μελών ενισχύει την αυθαιρεσία των διωκτικών αρχών και την δημιουργία κλίματος τρομοφοβίας και ότι παραβιάζει θεμελιώδη ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα;

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

A Presidência gostaria de sublinhar que o artigo 33.º do TUE impede o Conselho de tomar posição sobre as medidas nacionais em matéria de manutenção da ordem pública e de garantia da segurança interna.

Quanto à pergunta do Senhor Deputado sobre se o Conselho considera que a legislação antiterrorista a nível da UE incentiva o comportamento arbitrário das autoridades responsáveis pela aplicação da lei, com o devido respeito, a Presidência discorda.

Toda a legislação ou demais medidas comunitárias em matéria de combate ao terrorismo se baseiam e estão consignadas no quadro do Estado de direito.

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 28 του κ. Γεωργίου Τούσσα (H-0670/07)
 Θέμα: Άρνηση έκδοσης βίζας σε βουλευτές του ΚΚ Λευκορωσίας
 

Η πρεσβεία της Γαλλίας στο Μινσκ αρνήθηκε την έκδοση βίζας στον βουλευτή Ιγκόρ Καρπένκο, Β’ Γραμματέα του ΚΚ Λευκορωσίας προκειμένου να συμμετάσχει στο φεστιβάλ του «Αβάντε» στην Πορτογαλία, μετά από εξευτελιστικές διαδικασίες που περιλάμβαναν προφορική συνέντευξη και λήψη δακτυλικών αποτυπωμάτων. Μερικούς μήνες πριν οι αρχές της Τσεχίας αρνήθηκαν επίσης τη χορήγηση βίζας στην βουλευτή Τατιάνα Γκοπλούμπεβα, Α’ Γραμματέα του Κ.Κ. Λευκορωσίας, για να επισκεφθεί την Πράγα προκειμένου να συμμετάσχει σε συνάντηση Κομμουνιστικών Κομμάτων. Και στις δύο περιπτώσεις οι αρνήσεις έγιναν λίγες μόνον ώρες πριν την προγραμματισμένη αναχώρηση χωρίς επίσημη αιτιολογία και παρά την παρουσίαση διπλωματικών διαβατηρίων.

Καταδικάζει το Συμβούλιο την στάση αυτή των αρμόδιων αρχών να μην αποδέχονται τα διπλωματικά διαβατήρια χώρας με την οποία η ΕΕ και τα κράτη μέλη διατηρούν διπλωματικές σχέσεις, να υποβάλλουν βουλευτές σε εξευτελιστικές διαδικασίες λήψης δακτυλικών αποτυπωμάτων και να εκδίδουν τις βίζες με βάση αυθαίρετα πολιτικά κριτήρια;

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

O Conselho gostaria de informar o Senhor Deputado que Igor Karpenko figura na lista de restrições de visto da União Europeia, aprovada pela Posição Comum do Conselho 2006/362/PESC, de 18 de Maio de 2006, que altera a Posição Comum 2006/276/PESC que impõe medidas restritivas contra alguns altos funcionários da Bielorrússia, implementada pela Decisão do Conselho 2006/718/PESC de 23 de Outubro de 2006. Em conformidade com estes actos jurídicos, "os Estados-Membros devem aprovar as medidas necessárias para impedir a entrada ou o trânsito no seu território das pessoas responsáveis pelas violações das normas internacionais em matéria de eleições durante as eleições presidenciais bielorrussas de 19 de Março de 2006 e pela repressão violenta da sociedade civil e da oposição democrática."

A participação na Festa do Avante não se enquadra em nenhuma das situações previstas nos n.ºs 2, 3, 4 e 6 do artigo 1.º da Posição Comum 2006/276/PESC que permitem a derrogação da restrição à admissão. De facto, não se trata de um nacional português, não está em causa nenhuma das obrigações de direito internacional mencionadas no n.º 3 e 4 do mencionado artigo, não se verificam no caso razões humanitárias urgentes que justificassem a deslocação e, finalmente, não se trata a Festa do Avante de uma reunião intergovernamental em que se desenvolva um diálogo político que promova directamente a democracia, os direitos humanos e o Estado de Direito na Bielorrússia.

Como questão de política geral, a decisão de emitir ou não vistos a nacionais de países terceiros que devem possuir um visto quando atravessam as fronteiras externas de um Estado-Membro da União Europeia é da responsabilidade do Estado-Membro em causa. Como regra geral, os titulares de passaportes diplomáticos e de serviço não estão isentos de visto, caso o país de que são nacionais esteja incluído na lista comum do Anexo I do Regulamento (CE) n.º 539/2001, de 15 de Março. O mesmo Regulamento permite que os EMs celebrem acordos de supressão de visto para titulares de passaportes diplomáticos e de serviço com esses países terceiros, mas tal não sucede entre os Estados em causa. O passaporte diplomático da Bielorrússia é aceite como documento de viagem, mas apenas permite a entrada no território dos EMs com visto.

A sujeição dos requerentes de visto a uma entrevista pessoal é um dos requisitos habituais previstos nas Instruções Consulares Comuns (2005/C 326/01) e não pode ser considerado como um tratamento humilhante ou arbitrário. Quanto à recolha de impressões digitais, passará a ser igualmente um requisito com a introdução do Sistema de Informação sobre Vistos (VIS), prevista para o ano de 2009. Não está prevista, neste âmbito, uma isenção genérica para titulares de passaportes diplomáticos.

 

Pergunta nº 29 do Pedro Guerreiro (H-0671/07)
 Assunto: Expiração do denominado "Memorando de entendimento" entre a UE e a China relativamente à importação de certos produtos têxteis e de vestuário
 

Como temos vindo a salientar, ao longo deste ano, o denominado "Memorando de entendimento" sobre as exportações de certos produtos têxteis e de vestuário da China para os países da União Europeia - concluído a 10 de Junho de 2005, e integrando 10 das cerca de 35 categorias de produtos importadas deste país - expira dia 31 de Dezembro de 2007.

Este acordo introduziu, embora de forma limitada, medidas de salvaguarda específicas relativamente às exportações chinesas, não entrando em linha de conta com as importações para a UE provenientes de outros países terceiros.

É crescente o número de organizações do sector que tem vindo a alertar para a necessidade da existência de medidas que limitem o crescimento exponencial das importações de têxteis e vestuário para a União Europeia - evitando a situação ocorrida em 2005 -, como a prorrogação das restrições em vigor e a sua aplicação a novas categorias, aliás, à semelhança do contemplado em acordos celebrados entre a China e os EUA.

Quais as medidas está o Conselho a pensar accionar - incluindo ao nível da limitação da importação - de forma a defender a capacidade produtiva e os postos de trabalho do sector do têxtil e vestuário, um sector que tem uma grande importância socio-económica na UE, designadamente para as regiões desfavorecidas, onde este se concentra?

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

O Conselho está a acompanhar de perto a evolução nesse sector com base em informações estatísticas sobre importações de produtos têxteis e de vestuário, que a Comissão apresenta regularmente.

O Comité de Gestão Têxtil está a analisar diferentes hipóteses com vista a dar uma resposta às preocupações que vêm sendo manifestadas por uma grande parte dos Estados-membros. A PPUE acompanha com particular atenção esta questão que é assunto da máxima importância e deve ser tratado com a maior rapidez.

Por fim, talvez fosse útil salientar que o Memorando de Entendimento a que o Senhor Deputado se refere foi assinado pelo Comissário do Comércio Externo, em nome da Comissão, e pelo Ministro chinês do Comércio, em nome da República Popular da China.

 

Anfrage Nr. 30 von Hans-Peter Martin (H-0673/07)
 Betrifft: Zuständigkeit für "unabhängige" Einrichtungen
 

Für welche „unabhängigen“ Einrichtungen der Europäischen Union in der Art von ISS (Institut für Sicherheitsstudien) oder EUSC (Satellitenzentrum) ist der Rat derzeitig zuständig?

Welche organisatorischen Einheiten innerhalb des Rates sind für welche dieser Einrichtungen verantwortlich?

Wie viele Mitarbeiter in den jeweiligen organisatorischen Einheiten des Rates waren in den Jahren 2000 bis 2006 für diese Einrichtungen zuständig?

Wie hoch war der finanzielle Aufwand, aufgegliedert für administrative, operationelle und personelle Tätigkeiten, innerhalb der einzelnen organisatorischen Einheiten des Rates in den Jahren 2000 bis 2006 für diese Einrichtungen?

 
  
 

A presente resposta, que foi elaborada pela Presidência e não vincula o Conselho nem os Estados–Membros, não foi apresentada oralmente durante o período de perguntas dirigidas ao Conselho da sessão do Parlamento Europeu de Setembro II de 2007, em Estrasburgo.

O Conselho criou três agências no domínio da política externa e de segurança comum: a Agência Europeia de Defesa (AED), o Centro de Satélites da União Europeia (CSUE) e o Instituto de Estudos de Segurança da União Europeia (IES).

Desde a criação do IES e do CSUE enquanto agências, em 2001, e da AED, em 2004, estima-se que o pessoal do Secretariado-Geral do Conselho responsável por essas agências seja em média o seguinte: 1,5 de "equivalente a tempo inteiro" do quadro AD e 0,1 de "equivalente a tempo inteiro" de pessoal do secretariado.

 

QUESTIONS TO THE COMMISSION
Anfrage Nr. 43 von Manfred Weber (H-0666/07)
 Betrifft: Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, Kompetenzzentrum in Straubing
 

Eine Alternative zu den endlichen fossilen Rohstoffen ist die Nutzung der nachwachsenden Rohstoffe. Hierzu hat sich in Straubing (DE) ein europaweit angesehenes Kompetenzzentrum für Nachwachsende Rohstoffe (NaWaRo) etabliert. Unter einem Dach sind Forschung, Umsetzung in angewandte Technologie und Vermarktung von NaWaRos zusammengefasst. Angesichts der Klimadiskussion und verstärkten Nutzung von regenerativen Energien und Biomasse wird diesem Bereich ein immer höherer Stellenwert zukommen, der auch einen europäischen Mehrwert beinhaltet.

Wie fördert die Europäische Union die Forschung, auch die anwendungsnahe Forschung, im Bereich der nachwachsenden Rohstoffe? Wie können einzelne Forschungsstandorte von diesen Aktivitäten profitieren?

Welche Maßnahmen führt die Europäische Kommission zur Vernetzung der Forschung im Bereich nachwachsende Rohstoffe durch?

Sieht die Kommission Bedarf an einer Einrichtung zur Koordinierung eines europaweiten Netzwerks zur Erforschung und praxisorientierten Anwendung der Forschungsergebnisse im Bereich der nachwachsenden Rohstoffe, und würde sie diesbezüglich auch Finanzmittel zur Verfügung stellen?

 
  
 

The Commission’s framework programmes for research and technology development (RTD) have for many years supported research into renewable bio-resources. The current (7th) Framework Programme (FP7), under theme 5 "Energy", puts a particular emphasis on biomass-related research, with biofuel development being a key priority. The main focus is on (1) cost-competitive 1st generation biofuels produced from food crops, (2) 2nd generation biofuels produced from lignocellulosic or "woody" biomass, and (3) integrated production of energy and products from biomass in bio-refineries. Under theme 2 "Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology", collaborative research on renewable resources and their use is supported in three areas 1) Improved biomass and plant renewables, 2) Bioprocesses, and 3) Environmental biotechnologies, Use of waste and by-products. The results from EU funded biomass research in previous framework programmes over the past decade can be found at http://www.biomatnet.org/home.html"

Any research organisation, legally established in any country, may participate in FP7, provided that the minimum conditions as laid down in the Rules for Participation have been met. Actual research funding through FP7 can only be sought by putting together a pan-transnational consortium of partners who then submit a project proposal in response to a specific topic in a dedicated annual call for proposals. Research centres can also help shape EU RTD priorities by contributing to the research agendas of the relevant technology platforms.

The European Commission supports networking of research in the field of bioenergy renewable resources and bioenergy through the use of different instruments. For example, the Network of Excellence “Overcoming barriers to bioenergy” aims at the sharing of research infrastructures and research personnel in one or more of the most relevant areas of bioenergy by the creation of a new and integrated structure (a “virtual” research institute). Another example is the Coordination Action “NETBIOCOF” that promotes European cooperation between research organisations in the field of biomass co-firing in new and existing power plants. The Specific Support Action "EPOBIO", supported in the 6th Framework Programme, aims to apply genomics knowledge to improve the economic potential of plant-derived raw materials for energy or chemical use.

The ERA-NET(1) scheme provides support for the coordination of national and regional research programmes in the European Research Area. In this respect, the individual ERA-NETS for Industrial Biotechnology, for Bioenergy and for Plants are extremely relevant.

European Technology Platforms also foster networking of research by bringing together all interested stakeholders in a certain field. There are four Platforms in particular which have an important bearing on the area of renewable bio-resources: (1) Sustainable Chemistry, (2) Plants for the Future, (3) Biofuels and (4) Forest-Based Sector. These platforms have developed strategic research agendas, which provide key input to research priorities in FP7.

In addition, the FP7 Capacities Work Programme includes integrating activities to support the networking of existing research infrastructures. One of the priority topics under this programme aims at the development of the next generation of bio-fuels.

Besides the Framework Programme, the Commission has also set up a Member States' network for the coordination, the promotion and the implementation of the Knowledge Based Bio-Economy in the Member States, called the KBBE-NET.

As already mentioned there are a number of initiatives currently being financed by the 6th and 7th Framework Programmes for RTD aiming at networking and coordinating research activities in the area of renewable resources. The need for financing further activities or enhancing existing ones will be assessed in the light of the outcome of ongoing progress and inputs received in the development of future FP7 Work Programmes.

 
 

(1) European Research Area Network

 

Interrogazione n. 44 dell'on. Marco Cappato (H-0676/07)
 Oggetto: Mobilità dei ricercatori in UE
 

Considerando che il principio di libera circolazione previsto dal Trattato dell’Unione europea garantisce la mobilità per ciascun cittadino dell’Unione europea, non ritiene necessario la Commissione proporre un’iniziativa per eliminare gli ostacoli alla mobilità dei ricercatori all’interno dello spazio comunitario?

Se sì, non ritiene inoltre la Commissione opportuno armonizzare il trattamento dei ricercatori a livello europeo, sia per quanto riguarda la tipologia di contratto che le caratteristiche della retribuzione?

 
  
 

The Commission is fully conscious of the need to act in order to facilitate circulation of researchers in Europe and to promote their career development. It is the reason why a strategy - taking into account the repartition of competence with the Member States- has been defined in the recent years concerning these two aspects, particularly through two Communications endorsed by the Council.

This strategy has resulted in a number of important initiatives of a legislative, financial or more concrete nature.

Concerning the promotion of the geographical, intersectoral or interdisciplinary mobility, a lot has already been achieved, with for instance the strong increase in the budget under 7th Framework Programme (FP7) concerning human resources and especially through the Marie Curie grants; the European Mobility Portal and European Network of Mobility Centres; the ERA(1)-Link pilot initiative to network European researchers in the US; the EU 'scientific visa' directive and recommendations.

Other initiatives relate more to the promotion of the researchers' career. Thus a Recommendation on the European Charter for Researcher and a Code of Conduct for their recruitment was adopted and its adoption promoted via a number of information and awareness actions both at national and European level. A study on the remuneration of researchers was also launched, showing the progress still to ameliorate the attractiveness of the profession of researcher.

The interest of the Commission for the question of researchers is also attested by the recent consultation launched through the ERA Green Paper. Stakeholders are asked whether there is a need for a more effective European framework to improve mobility conditions for researchers and portability of supplementary pensions rights and also to ensure improved working conditions to them. The answers to this consultation will be carefully studied together with the results of another questionnaire on new forms of mobility, more focused on whether there is a need to adapt rules for coordination of social security schemes.

The Commission is currently doing this analysis work and it is thus too early to make proposals. However, it is already apparent that the majority of stakeholders are in favour of more stringent and concrete measures. In the forthcoming months, therefore, the Commission may propose specific measures aimed at removing remaining obstacles to the movement of researchers.

The Commission does not intend to propose harmonisation of the legal status as well as level of remuneration of researchers throughout Europe, which are fields under national competence. Nevertheless, in light of the set of principles stated in the Charter & Code, the Commission may propose initiatives aimed among others at improving researchers' working conditions in order to make a career in research attractive.

 
 

(1) European Reserach Area

 

Question no 49 by Seán Ó Neachtain (H-0628/07)
 Subject: Shannon airport and a new airline route development programme
 

Can the European Commission state how many programmes it has approved in recent years whereby a Member State government is allowed to subsidise the development of new airline routes in its country or from a specific airport for a period of up to three years so that these new airline routes can become profitable?

 
  
 

Since the entry into force of the "Community guidelines on financing of airports and start-up aid to airlines departing from regional airports"(1) on 9 December 2005 the Commission has approved 4 schemes whereby start-up "aid" can be granted to airlines to operate new routes from regional airports. These decisions have been:

­ Commission Decision of 11 November 2006 on Route development scheme for Malta(Case N 640/2006);

­ Commission Decision of 13 June 2007 Start-up aid to the airport of Antwerp(Case N 156/07);

­ Commission Decision of 4 April 2007 Start-up aid to the airports of Puglia (Case N 55/07) and

­ Commission Decision of 10 July 2007 creation of a marketing fund for Norrköping airport in Sweden (Case N 791/2006).

A further two cases have been adopted by the Commission, these were:

­ Commission Decision of 22 June 2006 Aid to Ryanair (route London-Toulon) (Case N 563/05);

­ Commission Decision of 16 May 2006 UK Scheme for route development fund (Case N 303/05).

These latter two Decisions did not directly apply the rules laid out in the 2005 guidelines, as the State aids question were notified before the entry into force of the guidelines.

 
 

(1) OJ C312/1 of 9.12.2005

 

Anfrage Nr. 50 von Michl Ebner (H-0642/07)
 Betrifft: Brenner-Basistunnel
 

Der Transitverkehr über den Brennerpass hat seit 1998 um mehr als 50 % zugenommen. Im ersten Halbjahr 2007 überquerten täglich beinahe 6.000 LKW die Alpen über diesen Pass. Da es sich bei den Alpen um eine ökologisch besonders sensible Region handelt, wurde schon vor längerer Zeit beschlossen, durch den Bau des Brenner-Basistunnels (BBT) das betroffene Gebiet und die Bevölkerung zu entlasten. Der Brenner bzw. der BBT scheint seit Anbeginn im TEN- V als das erste Projekt auf.

Das Großprojekt BBT soll zwischen 4,5 und 8 Mrd. Euro kosten, ein Betrag, den sich die betroffenen Mitgliedstaaten und die EU aufteilen wollen. Italien und Österreich haben im Juli 2007 die notwendigen Dokumente für die im Herbst geplante Ausschreibung von Gemeinschaftszuschüssen im Bereich Transport und Energie eingereicht.

Kann die Kommission bestätigen, dass bei der Gewährung von Gemeinschaftszuschüssen die 2007 vom Europäischen Parlament beschlossene Regelung im Ausmaß von 30 % zur Anwendung kommt? Was wird die Kommission bezüglich des Kommunikationsdefizits mit der Bevölkerung über den Nutzen des BBT unternehmen? Wie will die Kommission die Finanzierung des BBT nach 2012 sichern?

 
  
 

L'axe ferroviaire Berlin-Verona/Milano-Bologna-Napoli-Messina-Palermo (PP 1) fait partie des 30 projets prioritaires du réseau transeuropéen de transport (RTE-T). Le projet du tunnel de base du Brenner, cité par l'honorable parlementaire, constitue le maillon central de ce projet prioritaire. Le 10 juillet 2007, un Memorandum of Understanding a été signé entre M. Faymann, le Ministre des Transports autrichien, et M. Di Pietro, le Ministre des Transports italien, en présence de M. Tiefensee, Ministre des Transports allemand, qui a indiqué en leur présence que l'Allemagne fera tout le nécessaire pour garantir l'interopérabilité et la capacité nécessaire pour l'accès nord au tunnel jusqu'au moment de son entrée en service.

La signature du Memorandum of Understanding a effectivement permis aux deux Etats membres d'envoyer au mois de juillet 2007 une seule proposition de cofinancement communautaire concertée pour le tunnel de base du Brenner, en conformité avec les critères communautaires pour les projets transfrontaliers. L'ensemble des propositions reçues des 27 Etats membres dans le cadre de l'appel à proposition pour l'octroi d'un concours financier communautaire pour les travaux liés aux projets prioritaires de ce réseau sont en cours d'évaluation par la Commission. Sur base de cette évaluation, la Commission décidera de la répartition du budget RTE-T pour la période 2007-2013 à la fin de l'automne 2007.

La Commission ne peut donner à ce stade aucune indication sur l'octroi d'une éventuelle subvention communautaire pour ce projet prioritaire.

La Commission ne peut par ailleurs donner des garanties quant à un éventuel financement du tunnel de base du Brenner après 2013. Elle ne peut en effet s'engager sur des futurs budgets de l'Union européenne.

La Commission suit de près la réalisation du projet Berlin-Palerme en général et du tunnel de base du Brenner en particulier. Elle a nommé en juillet 2005 un coordonnateur européen pour cette ligne, M. Karel Van Miert, qui a remis son deuxième rapport d'activité le 19 juillet 2007. Ce rapport a été transmis au Président de la Commission TRAN(1) le 10 septembre 2007. M. Van Miert s'est fortement engagé pour coordonner ce projet prioritaire.

 
 

(1) Commission des transports et du tourisme

 

Question no 51 by Gay Mitchell (H-0645/07)
 Subject: Air transport to island Member States
 

What proposals does the Commission have to ensure adequate air transport between island Member States and the rest of the EU?

 
  
 

L'importance d'assurer la mobilité vers les régions insulaires est parfaitement reconnue par la Commission, qui considère que les transports adéquats sont une condition de la cohésion économique et sociale. Les Etats membres insulaires sont concernés au même titre.

A cet égard, le transport aérien est le mode le plus rapide pour garantir cette mobilité. La mise en place du marché intérieur européen de l'aviation a été couronnée de succès et a permis d'accroître considérablement le nombre de routes et d'opérateurs, au plus grand bénéfice des consommateurs.

Il existe la possibilité sous certaines conditions pour les Etats membres d'octroyer des aides au démarrage afin d'encourager l'établissement de nouvelles routes. Ces aides doivent être notifiées à la Commission, en vertu de l'article 88 du Traité CE. La Commission les évalue sur base des articles 86 et 87 du Traité et des lignes directrices communautaires sur le financement des aéroports et les aides d'Etat au démarrage pour les compagnies aériennes au départ d'aéroports régionaux(1).

La législation européenne actuelle prévoit également la possibilité d'imposer des obligations de service public (OSP) dans le transport aérien lorsque le marché ne répond pas aux nécessités réelles de ces Etats et régions.

Ces OSP peuvent faire l'objet sous certaines conditions de droits exclusifs d'une durée de 3 ans, renouvelable par appel d'offres.

Afin d'accroître l'attractivité de ces OSP à un plus grand nombre de candidats, la Commission a proposé d'étendre la durée à 4 ans.

Enfin, les projets d'aides à caractère social, visant à réduire les prix des billets d'avion pour les résidents insulaires, sont en principe compatibles avec le marché commun pour autant que ces aides n'entraînent pas de discriminations injustifiées entre bénéficiaires et entre transporteurs aériens.

 
 

(1) Journal Officiel C312, 09/12/2005

 

Anfrage Nr. 52 von Jörg Leichtfried (H-0647/07)
 Betrifft: Sicherheit im slowakischen Luftraum/Situation slowakischer FlugverkehrsleiterInnen
 

Mittels eines Streiks machten slowakische FlugverkehrsleiterInnen auf gravierende Sicherheitsmängel in der slowakischen Flugsicherheit aufmerksam. Daraufhin wurde ein Audit von Eurocontrol durchgeführt, das schwere Mängel, Risiken und vor allem die Nichteinhaltung europäischer Sicherheitsstandards (ESARRs) zu Tage brachte. Seitens der slowakischen Flugsicherheit werden die Resultate heruntergespielt, und trotz der Zusage der slowakischen Zivilluftfahrtbehörde, eine Evaluierung des Eurocontrol-Berichts durchzuführen und die empfohlenen Maßnahmen bis zum 30. April 2007 umzusetzen, ist bis dato nichts geschehen. Die damals streikenden Mitarbeiter wurden mit disziplinären Konsequenzen konfrontiert, Gehaltsbestandteile vorenthalten. Weiters wird eine inoffizielle Black-List mit den Namen der streikenden Mitarbeiter geführt.

Sind der Kommission diese Missstände in der Slowakei bekannt?

Was gedenkt die Kommission bezüglich dieser Missstände zu unternehmen?

 
  
 

La Commission confirme qu’Eurocontrol a procédé, à l’initiative de l’administration slovaque de l’aviation civile, à un audit de sécurité au début de 2007. Cet audit a révélé certains défauts de conformité dans l’application des exigences réglementaires de sécurité d'Eurocontrol et du règlement (CE) n° 2096/2005 de la Commission du 20 décembre 2005 établissant les exigences communes pour la fourniture de services de navigation aérienne. Suite à cela, le prestataire slovaque de services aériens de navigation aérienne LPS a proposé des mesures correctives, dont certaines ont pris effet immédiatement et d’autres devraient être mises en œuvre d’ici à la fin 2007. La Commission ne dispose d’aucune information suggérant que cette procédure ordinaire ne serait pas suivie.

Il convient, en outre, de souligner que la nature des défauts de conformité recensés ne devrait pas amener à qualifier la sécurité de l’espace aérien slovaque de gravement déficiente.

 

Pregunta nº 53 formulada por Manuel Medina Ortega (H-0593/07):
 Asunto: Plan estratégico para las regiones ultraperiféricas
 

Ante el retraso que se ha producido en la presentación del Plan estratégico para las regiones ultraperiféricas y teniendo en cuenta las dificultades que se plantean para estas regiones a consecuencia de problemas nuevos como el aumento de los costes del transporte aéreo, la caída del turismo y las presiones migratorias, ¿podría la Comisión asegurar que contaremos con ese Plan estratégico en un plazo razonable y si dispondrá la Comisión de los medios necesarios para su desarrollo?

 
  
 

La Commission a adopté le 12 septembre 2007 la communication sur le bilan et les perspectives futures de la stratégie à l'égard des régions ultrapériphériques(1). Cette communication dresse le bilan de la mise en œuvre de la stratégie à l'égard de ces régions depuis 2004, et vise à en renforcer les trois axes stratégiques au travers de mesures spécifiques complémentaires à mettre en œuvre à court terme: compétitivité, accessibilité et intégration régionale.

Cette communication propose également l'ouverture d'un débat sur des thématiques à plus long terme, identifiées comme particulièrement sensibles pour les régions ultrapériphériques (RUP) et correspondant à celles évoquées par l'honorable parlementaire: le défi du changement climatique, l'enjeu de l'évolution démographique et des flux migratoires, l'agriculture et la politique maritime.

D'autre part, la question de l'accessibilité reste au cœur de la stratégie de la Commission envers les régions ultrapériphériques. Les régions ultrapériphériques dépendent de manière exclusive du transport aérien, tant pour la mobilité de leurs résidents vers le continent européen que pour celle des visiteurs et des acteurs socio-économiques vers leurs territoires. C'est pourquoi la Commission invite ses partenaires, dans le cadre de la réflexion sur le changement climatique, à s'interroger sur "les mesures qu'il faudrait adopter pour que l'objectif de la réduction des émissions n'ait pas un impact négatif sur l'accessibilité, l'économie et les citoyens des RUP".

Cette communication est adressée au Parlement, au Conseil, au Comité économique et social européen et au Comité des régions. Un échange sur la communication aura lieu avec les quatre Institutions visées, en commençant par le Parlement. Par ailleurs des travaux partenariaux complèteront la mise en œuvre actuelle et future de la stratégie à l'égard des RUP.

La Commission veillera à ce que les mesures spécifiques appropriées soient adoptées dans les différents domaines d'intervention dans le courant de la période 2007-2013 en mettant en œuvre les moyens nécessaires, et préparera la stratégie pour le futur à l'issue de la phase consultation.

 
 

(1) COM(2007)507 final

 

Question no 54 by Lambert van Nistelrooij (H-0596/07)
 Subject: Strengthening the European neighbourhood policy
 

In 2005 the European Neighbourhood Programme Initiative (ENPI) was adopted. So far, it seems that there has been a slow uptake in the specific Member States. There is therefore concern about the progress of the programme.

In order to strengthen the European neighbourhood policy I understand that the Commission will evaluate yearly – the first time being at the end of 2007 – the European Neighbourhood Policy Initiative on cross-border cooperation. This will most likely include information on the local and regional uptake per country concerned, the joint operational programmes and the related decentralised capacity-building.

Together with the evaluation, what measures will the Commission propose to increase the uptake of the cross-border initiatives at local and regional level?

 
  
 

Since the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) was adopted later than expected and entered into force only on 29 November 2006 it is too early to have either evidence of possible poor uptake of cross-border initiatives or to express concerns in this regard. On the contrary, the Commission expects this new financing instrument to enable better and more flexible co-operation on various aspects of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), especially with regard to cross-border cooperation (CBC) issues.

Currently the CBC programmes are being jointly elaborated by the participating countries. The Commission expects that the majority of programmes will be submitted in 2007, which should allow them to be adopted at the turn of 2007. This is still well within the provisions of Art 9 (6) of ENPI stipulating that programmes shall be submitted “one year after the adoption of the CBC Strategy Paper (e.g. by March 2008)”. The relatively long time needed to prepare the programmes can be explained by the novelty of the approach: it is the first time that Member States and Partner Countries go through the exercise of defining together (and in consultation with local partners) their priorities and identifying the measures to be funded over the next seven years.

In any event, under point 48 of the “Interinstitutional Agreement” on budgetary discipline and sound financial management, the two arms of the budgetary authority have undertaken to authorise the transfer to subsequent years, of allocations not used in 2007. This also applies to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) contribution to the ENPI.

The Commission is closely monitoring the preparation and implementation of the cross-border cooperation programmes, also taking into account elements such as those mentioned by the Honourable Member (local/regional uptake of the programmes). On that basis the Commission might revise and adapt its CBC Strategy during its mid-term review.

 

Klausimas Nr. 55, pateikė Justas Vincas Paleckis (H-0603/07)
 Tema: Dėl aplinkos infrastruktūros pritaikymo neįgaliesiems
 

Europos Sąjungos šalyse priimti atitinkami teisės aktai, pagal kuriuos neįgaliesiems užtikrinamos lygios galimybės. Tačiau praktiškai dažnai susiduriama su neįgaliųjų asmenų poreikių diskriminacija, ypatingai būsto ir viešosios aplinkos infrastruktūros nepakankamu pritaikymu. Daugelyje ES šalių asmenys, turintys judėjimo, regėjimo, klausos ar kitas negalias dėl nepritaikytos jų poreikiams aplinkos negali patekti į kai kurias įstaigas, pasiekti darbo vietos, naudotis informacijos priemonėmis, kultūros ar kitomis paslaugomis, kurios prieinamos kitiems visuomenės nariams.

Šiuo metu vyksta diskusijos dėl atskiros direktyvos, pagal kurią visos valstybės narės būtų įpareigotos užtikrinti aplinkos pritaikymą kokybiškam neįgaliųjų poreikių tenkinimui, parengimo. Kokia yra Europos Komisijos pozicija šiuo klausimu ir ar planuojamos atitinkamos priemonės, siekiant sustiprinti šalių narių įsipareigojimus sudaryti lygias galimybes neįgaliųjų asmenų poreikiams tenkinti?

 
  
 

Directive 2000/78/EC establishes a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation, and prohibits discrimination on grounds of disability, age, religion and belief and sexual orientation in employment and training. Article 5 of this Directive requires employers to make "reasonable accommodation" for disabled employees. This Directive has been transposed by all the Member States, and if a disabled person is discriminated against in employment they have a legal remedy at national level. This Directive does not however apply outside the field of employment, occupation and training.

As announced in its Annual Policy Strategy for 2008(1), and building on a study of existing anti-discrimination legislation in the Member States(2), the Commission plans to propose measures designed to prevent and combat discrimination outside the labour market, including on the basis of disability (as well as other grounds). The preparation of the impact assessment associated with the preparation of these measures includes a public on-line consultation(3) which will end on 15 October 2007. The Commission will use the results of the consultation and the impact assessment in the drafting of its proposals and its subsequent contacts with EU institutions, Member States and other stakeholders.

More specifically, in relation to the issue of access to information by persons with disabilities raised in the question, the Commission intends to assess by end 2007 progress achieved on accessibility to Information and Communication Technologies, as announced in the Communication on e-Accessibility(4).

 
 

(1) COM (2007)65
(2) http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/fundamental_rights/pdf/pubst/stud/mapstrand1_en.pdf
(3) http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/emplweb/news/news_en.cfm?id=270
(4) COM(2005)425

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 56 του κ. Παναγιώτη Δημητρίου (H-0608/07)
 Θέμα: Οικουμενικό Πατριαρχείο και Τουρκία
 

Σε πρόσφατη απόφασή του, το Ανώτατο Δικαστήριο της Τουρκίας διετύπωσε τον ισχυρισμό ότι η εκλογή του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη πρέπει να γίνεται σύμφωνα με ένα διάταγμα του 1923, βάσει του οποίου δικαίωμα εκλέγειν και εκλέγεσθαι έχουν μόνο Τούρκοι πολίτες, οι οποίοι ασκούν τα καθήκοντά τους εντός Τουρκίας. Mε τον τρόπο αυτό το τουρκικό κράτος, μη λαμβάνοντας υπόψη το κοινοτικό κεκτημένο, και ειδικότερα την ΕΣΔΑ και τη σχετική νομολογία του ΕΔΑΔ, παρεμβαίνει στην εσωτερική οργάνωση μιας θρησκευτικής κοινότητας, επιβάλλοντας αυστηρούς περιορισμούς όσον αφορά στο δικαίωμα μη Τούρκων υπηκόων να ασκούν το δικαίωμά τους στη θρησκευτική ελευθερία μέσω της συμμετοχής τους στα δρώμενα θρησκευτικών κοινοτήτων στις οποίες ανήκουν. Το πρόβλημα αυτό έχει επανειλημμένως επισημανθεί στις Εκθέσεις Προόδου της Ευρωπαϊκής Επιτροπής για την Τουρκία.

Ερωτάται η Επιτροπή σε ποιες ενέργειες προτίθεται να προβεί προκειμένου να διασφαλίσει ότι η Τουρκία θα συμμορφωθεί προς τις υποχρεώσεις που έχει αναλάβει στο πλαίσιο της ενταξιακής της πορείας, έναντι των μη μουσουλμανικών κοινοτήτων και του Οικουμενικού Πατριαρχείου για σεβασμό της θρησκευτικής τους ελευθερίας, όπως αυτές ορίζονται στην Εταιρική σχέση και στο σχετικό Διαπραγματευτικό Πλαίσιο;

 
  
 

The Commission will continue to closely monitor issues related to religious freedom with a view to reaching solutions that would respect fully the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights and case law of the European Court for Human Rights.

Developments related to religious freedom are reported in the annual Commission Progress Reports and reviewed as part of the accession negotiations, in the context of Chapter 23 on the Judiciary and Fundamental Rights.

When appropriate the Commission also raises individual issues with the Turkish authorities, in the framework of the regular political dialogue.

 

Anfrage Nr. 57 von Hans-Peter Mayer (H-0609/07)
 Betrifft: Vorgehen bei Ausschreibung eines öffentlichen Auftrags mit einem Budget unterhalb des Schwellenwerts, auf die ausschließlich Angebote mit einem Budget oberhalb des Schwellenwerts eingehen
 

Nach der Richtlinie 2004/18/EG(1) des Parlaments und des Rates vom 31. März 2004 zur Koordinierung der Verfahren zur Vergabe öffentlicher Aufträge, Lieferaufträge und Dienstleistungsaufträge ist die Ausschreibung öffentlicher Aufträge oberhalb des Schwellenwerts im Amtsblatt der Europäischen Gemeinschaften bekanntzumachen.

Ist bei einer öffentlichen Ausschreibung mit einem Budget unterhalb des Schwellenwerts, auf die ausschließlich Angebote eingehen, die über dem Schwellenwert liegen, die Ausschreibung aufzuheben, und muss eine neue EU-weite Ausschreibung erfolgen, oder kann gleichwohl vergeben werden?

 
  
 

The methods for calculating the estimated value of public contracts are set out in Article 9 of Directive 2004/18/EC. According to this provision, the calculation of the estimated value of a public contract shall be based on the total amount payable, net of value added tax (VAT), as estimated by the contracting authority. This estimate must be valid at the moment at which the contract notice is sent or, in cases where such notice is not required, at the moment at which the contracting authority commences the contract awarding procedure.

Therefore, if it turns out at the moment of awarding the contract that only tenders with a value above the threshold have been submitted, this does not necessarily call into question the choice of the award procedure. In particular, it is not required to cancel the procedure and organise a new EU-wide procedure, if the contracting authority can demonstrate that at the time of estimating the value, it acted bona fide and in accordance with the rules set out above.

In any event, contracting authorities have to be aware of the fact that contracts below the thresholds for application of the EU Directives on the award of public contracts have nevertheless to be awarded in accordance with the general rules and principles of Community law. These require, in particular, a sufficient degree of advertising for the award of contracts that might be relevant to the Internal Market. The Commission has published an Interpretative Communication(2) where it explains its views on the practical implication of these Community law principles.

If the Honourable Member wishes to have an opinion on a specific case, the Commission is of course willing to examine any facts that would be submitted to it in order to evaluate whether the above-mentioned conditions of legality of the tender have been complied with.

 
 

(1) ABl. L 134 vom 30.4.2004, S. 114.
(2) Commission Interpretative Communication on the Community law applicable to contract awards not or not fully subject to the provisions of the Public Procurement Directives, OJ C 179, 1.8.2006

 

Vraag nr. 58 van Frank Vanhecke (H-0610/07)
 Betreft: Vaderschapsverlof
 

In Duitsland heeft de bevoegde minister Ursula von der Leyen in het kader van de invoering van het ouderschapsgeld zogenaamde 'vaderschapsmaanden' (Vätermonate) ingevoerd: het ouderschapsgeld wordt in plaats van 12 maanden 14 maanden uitbetaald wanneer ook de vader een tijdje zijn beroepswerkzaamheden onderbreekt om voor de kinderen te zorgen.

Naar verluidt zou Europees commissaris Vladimir Spidla de invoering van een verplichtend vaderschapsverlof overwegen en zou hij na toekomstige gesprekken met vakbonden en werkgeversorganisaties daartoe een wetgevend voorstel indienen (Barbara Schäder, 'EU-Kommissar will Väter zur Auszeit verpflichten', Der Spiegelonline, 18 juli 2007).

Kan de Commissie mij bevestigen of Europees commissaris Spidla inderdaad overweegt om een wetgevend voorstel dienaangaande in te dienen? Op welke specifieke rechtsgrondslag berust een dergelijk voorstel? Vinden enkel gesprekken met vakbonden en werkgeversorganisaties plaats of ook met andere actoren? Druist een dergelijk voorstel niet in tegen de bevoegdheden van de lidstaten en het subsidiariteitsbeginsel?

 
  
 

In the Roadmap for equality between women and men(1), reconciliation of professional, private and family life has been identified as one of the priority areas for action in the period 2006 – 2010. In October 2006, the Commission launched a first stage consultation of the social partners at European level on the reconciliation of professional, private and family life(2) in accordance with the procedures set out in Article 138 of the EC Treaty. Having examined the responses to this first stage consultation, the Commission launched the second stage of the consultation process on 30 May 2007(3). In the second stage document, the Commission sets out a number of options for possible legislative and non-legislative measures, including the option of bringing forward a proposal for legislation on paternity leave. The Commission also asks the social partners to assess the provisions of their framework agreement on parental leave, which was given legal effect by means of Directive 96/34/EC(4), with a view to its review. It also indicates that depending on the outcome of the second stage consultation, of negotiations between the social partners, and of a detailed impact assessment, the Commission will consider bringing forward proposals to complement the existing legislation in the area of reconciliation.

In response to the second stage consultation, the ETUC(5), BUSINESSEUROPE(6), UEAPME(7) and CEEP(8) have decided to set up a joint working group, within the context of the European social dialogue, to evaluate the framework agreement on parental leave. They have also indicated that the European social partners intend to use this opportunity to evaluate parental leave arrangements in connection with other arrangements supporting parents and work-life balance to assess if actions need to be taken. They will report on progress in March 2008. The aforementioned organisations, as well as other European social partners, have also submitted individual responses to the second stage consultation.

The Commission is examining the social partners' responses at present. It is therefore too early to say if the Commission will submit a legislative proposal on paternity leave (i.e. a short period of leave for fathers around the time of the birth or adoption of a child).

Should the Commission decide to submit a legislative proposal in this area, the Member States and Parliament will have an opportunity to discuss and amend it, as any legislative proposal on paternity leave would be adopted in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 251 of the EC Treaty.

Issues relating to leave, including paternity leave, fall within the scope of Article 137(1)(a) of the Treaty i.e. working conditions. Community action to support and complement the activities of the Member States in this area is therefore possible.

 
 

(1) COM (2006)92
(2) SEC(2006) 1245, 12.10.2006.
(3) SEC(2007) 571, 30.05.2007.
(4) OJ L 145, 19.6.1996
(5) European Trade Union Confederation
(6) Confederation of European Business
(7) European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises
(8) European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest

 

Question no 59 by Jim Higgins (H-0612/07)
 Subject: Brazilian beef imports
 

In the light of the graphic evidence presented by the Irish Farmers Association at a meeting with the Commission on 16 July 2007 regarding the lack of standards in beef production in Brazil, is the European Commission prepared to impose a total ban on Brazilian beef imports into Europe?

 
  
 

The EU sanitary import policy is based on science, on sanitary and phytosanitary rules and relevant international standards, and endorsed by the experience of its application.

The Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) has considered one by one each of the allegations made in the Irish Farmers' Association report.

Overall, the Commission feels that the allegations made in this report are to a large extent based on an incorrect interpretation of EU requirements for beef imports.

The Commission is aware that there are still some problems that the Brazilian authorities have to address and it has requested auditable evidence of the rectification of the remaining deficiencies by the end of 2007.

The FVO has scheduled further missions to Brazil, within 2007, to ensure that these deficiencies are correctly addressed.

The Commission is ready to take all appropriate measures if these shortcomings are not corrected.

 

Question no 60 by Mairead McGuinness (H-0619/07)
 Subject: Controls and standards in place in the Brazilian beef sector
 

Can the Commission outline its view of the current situation in relation to Brazilian beef imports?

It was reported in early July that Commissioner Fischer Boel in a letter to her colleague Commissioner Kyprianou raised the issue of the Irish Farmers' Association's mission to Brazil, and the report that it produced based on its visit. She noted that '[...] These findings are so dramatic that we cannot just let it go. In my view we need to verify these findings in a convincing and effective manner'. Has this been done?

Is the Commission convinced that the quality and safety standards that apply to beef production in Brazil are sufficient?

What efforts has the Commission made to raise beef production standards at international level to match those of the EU?

 
  
 

Based on an inspection in March 2007 on the implementation of the relevant EU animal and public health requirements, the Commission assessment is that the current situation in Brazil does not warrant any immediate change to the import rules on beef currently in place.

However, following this inspection the Commission has continued to put pressure on the Brazilian authorities in order for them to further improve their veterinary control measures.

A further inspection in Brazil is foreseen before the end of 2007 and the Commission is ready to take further action, as appropriate.

The EU cannot require a third country to implement some of the veterinary measures applied within the EU like those on traceability, as this would clearly be against the principles and rules of the SPS/WTO(1) agreement.

Nevertheless, EU requirements on imports of beef are science-based, proportionate and non-discriminatory, sometimes stricter than the OIE(2) standards and adequate to protect the health of EU consumers. The Commission, together with the Member States, strives to ensure that imported products comply with these import conditions.

The Commission is aware of a visit carried out in Brazil by the Irish Farmer's Association (IFA), on the basis of which a report has been prepared. The IFA report does not provide accurate information on the EU requirements applied to the import of beef from Brazil.

 
 

(1) Sanitary and phytosanitary/World Trade Organisation.
(2) World Organization for Animal Health.

 

Question no 61 by Jim Allister (H-0614/07)
 Subject: Approval procedures for GM crops
 

Why does it take 30-36 months to approve GM crops within the EU, when such approval procedures take only 9-18 months in the USA?

Will the EU move to synchronised approval of GM varieties, so that EU procedures are not disadvantaged by inflated livestock feed costs resulting from delay in approvals?

 
  
 

The reasons why authorising a Genetically Modified (GM) crop takes on average longer in the EU than in Third Countries are complex. They deserve a specific analysis. The Commission would mention different factors:

One is that the current system for the authorization of GM food and feed is applicable only since April 2004 and, just like any new mechanism, needed some time to optimize its functioning. This is also true for the biotech companies which had to familiarize with new regulatory requirements.

Second, in order to provide an answer to the concerns of the EU citizens on the safety of GM crops, the new regulatory framework has put in place an evaluation system which is far more demanding than any other in the world. This obliges companies to prepare specific dossiers and to reply to a series of scientific questions eventually posed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) during the risk assessment procedure.

A third element is the lack of support on the conclusions of the scientific evaluation and hence the Commission proposals for the approval of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by Member States. The difficulty to get the support of a qualified majority of Member States obliges the Commission to follow the path of the comitology procedure in its entirety, i.e. to involve the Council.

Against this situation, the position of the Commission has always been clear. It is determined to fully implement the legislative framework avoiding any possible deadlock in the authorisation procedure without compromising on the principle of a very strict risk assessment.

Along this line, and as a consequence of the experience gained in these three years, relevant improvements have already been registered.

For example, the time taken by EFSA to carry out its completeness check on any new dossier has been reduced and the Authority has recently taken the commitment to finalise this section of the risk assessment within six weeks from the submission of the application.

A similar positive trend occurred in the validation of the detection methods, another crucial part of the process.

Furthermore the Commission has taken different initiatives to gain more support from Member States. Following the College debate on GMOs of April 2006, a specific action plan has been defined with the objective of improving the scientific consistency and transparency of the decisions on GMOs. For instance the GMO Panel of EFSA is now systematically providing explanations on how the comments raised by Member States have been taken into account in its opinions. Recent votes have shown an improvement in the support of Member States to authorisation proposals.

 

Question no 62 by Philip Bushill-Matthews (H-0615/07)
 Subject: Solidarity Fund
 

Can the Commission confirm that an application for assistance from the EU Solidarity Fund following massive flood damage in the UK has been lodged by the UK Government, and if so on what date this application was received by the Commission?

Can the Commission please give an outline indication of the maximum and minimum funding that might be available, and also how rapidly such funds might be transmitted, given the urgent need to improve flood defences at the earliest possible opportunity ahead of future downpours?

 
  
 

The Commission can confirm that an application for EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF) assistance has been received from the United Kingdom (UK) government on 20 August 2007. It has been announced to the Commission that more detailed information, in particular updated damage estimates, would be presented towards the end of September 2007.

If the UK application is assessed to be meeting the criteria for mobilising the Solidarity Fund, the Commission will propose an amount of aid to the budgetary authority who has to approve the necessary appropriations by way of an amending budget procedure.

The amount of aid is calculated in a standard way based on total direct damage and taking into consideration the damage threshold for mobilising the Fund applicable to the country in question. For the UK the threshold in 2007 is € 3.267 billion: A lower rate of aid of 2.5% is granted for the part of the damage below the threshold plus a higher rate of aid of 6% for the part of the damage exceeding the threshold. Any final amount will depend on the detailed analysis of the file and therefore a precise figure cannot be given at this stage.

At this stage it is not possible to predict how long the different steps of the procedure will take. It should be noted that EUSF aid may only be used for specific types of emergency operations relating to the damage caused by the floods (including the securing of preventive infrastructures). Financing preventive measures is not possible under the EUSF; however, the cohesion policy operational programmes of the regions concerned could include such measures.

 

Zapytanie nr 63 skierowane przez Ryszard Czarnecki (H-0621/07)
 Dotyczy: Wsparcie UE w budowie infrastruktury drogowej
 

Jak Komisja widzi możliwość wsparcia ze strony UE budowy dróg, autostrad i projektów kolejowych w Polsce w kontekście piłkarskich Mistrzostw Europy 2012?

 
  
 

Transport investments in Poland will mainly be financed from the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Programme, in which EU funding of €17.8 billion is foreseen for projects in the field of transport for the period 2007-2013. This programme is not finalised yet and is currently under negotiation with the Polish authorities.

Priority will be given to Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) investments, especially those included in the list of 30 projects of European interest. The priorities for the trans-European transport networks were agreed by the Council and the Parliament in 2004(1). In these Guidelines, a list of 30 priority projects or major axes of European interest were identified aiming at connecting the Member States and integrating the networks of the new Member States in a sustainable, safe and secure manner. Poland is concerned by four TEN priority projects. These will be highly relevant for the Championship by offering modern, safe and secure connections between the major cities in Poland.

The Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that EU funds may also support road infrastructure disclosing the sites and cities hosting the Championship and public transport investments, with the objective to improve access to stadiums and hosting cities.

 
 

(1) Decision 2004/884/EC on the Guidelines for the development of the trans-European transport network (TEN)

 

Pregunta nº 64 formulada por Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines (H-0622/07):
 Asunto: Directiva de Servicios Sanitarios y su impacto sobre las oficinas de farmacia
 

Ante el procedimiento de infracción abierto por la CE, Dirección General de Mercado Interior, que pretende liberalizar las farmacias rompiendo una estructura y un sistema que sirve perfectamente al ciudadano y contribuye a la calidad en el servicio farmacéutico.

¿Desea la Comisión hacer de este campo un mercado perfecto, regulado por la ley de la oferta y la demanda, donde la salud de los ciudadanos y los valores y principios acordados por el Consejo de la UE sean un factor marginal?

¿Cree la Comisión Europea que es posible modificar el Tratado (art. 152) a base de procedimientos de infracción y saltando por encima de las instituciones reguladoras, a saber, el Consejo, el Parlamento Europeo y los Parlamentos nacionales?

 
  
 

The Commission would first like to assure the Honourable Member that it is perfectly aware of the major importance of health services and notably pharmacy services for European citizens.

The Commission would however wish to stress that its infringement policy in this field is not calling for a "liberalisation" of the pharmacy service sector.

The objective of the infringement procedures is to ensure the compatibility of the national legislations on establishment of pharmacies with the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Treaty. The Commission has received and is still receiving a number of complaints from European citizens who claim that the conditions of establishment of pharmacists in some Member States are discriminatory, not transparent or unnecessarily restrictive and therefore flout their fundamental freedoms. It is the Commission's duty, as guardian of the EC Treaty, to ensure, if necessary by pursuing infringement procedures that the fundamental freedoms already conferred to the citizens are respected, over and above the existence of an Act of secondary law on the subject.

This does not imply that the Commission considers that this front-line health service cannot be subject to proportionate health related measures to ensure accessibility and more generally the highest level of pharmacy service provision to all citizens in the broadest sense of that term.

This position also does not imply that other Articles of the Treaty are in any way amended or that there is any conflict with the prerogatives of other institutions. As regards precisely Article 152 of the EC Treaty quoted by the Honourable Member, it is worth mentioning that the Court of Justice has had the opportunity to recall in a recent ruling of 16 May 2006(1) that if, according to Article 152 (5), Community action in the field of public health must fully respect the responsibilities of the Member States for the organisation and delivery of health services and medical care, that provision does not exclude that the Member States may be required under other Treaty provisions to make adjustments to their national systems of social security.

 
 

(1) Case C-372/04, points 146 and 147.

 

Fråga nr 65 från Olle Schmidt (H-0623/07)
 Angående: Den rysk-tyska gasledningen i Östersjön
 

Kommissionen uppgav i våras (H-0231/07)(1) att det inte spelade någon roll om den rysk-tyska gasledningen drogs över land eller under vatten för att klassas som ett TEN-E projekt. Själva dragningen ansågs däremot vara ett beslut som ska fattas av investerarna ”på grundval av deras egna kommersiella intressen och bedömningar”.

Uttalanden från den ryska regeringen gällande Östersjön visar att energiförsäljningen till övriga Europa också har syften utöver de rent kommersiella. EU bör därför lyssna till den oro som finns i regeringar och bland allmänheten, bl.a. i Polen, Finland, de baltiska länderna och Sverige. Särskilt de sydsvenska myndigheterna har uttryckt oro inför konsekvenser för säkerhetspolitiken i Östersjön i kombination med ett ännu starkare EU-beroende av rysk energi. Ett transeuropeiskt projekt som detta måste, inte minst i ljuset av Rysslands politiska utveckling, vara till lika delar säkerhets- som energi- och miljöpolitiskt betingat.

Håller kommissionen det verkligen för troligt att Nord Stream kommer att balansera dessa intressen?

 
  
 

Un projet de l'envergure de Nord Stream doit prendre en considération aussi bien les questions de sécurité que les problèmes énergétiques, et ne pas oublier les exigences environnementales.

Dans le cas de ce projet prioritaire, déclaré d'intérêt européen, la question de la sécurité se pose, comme pour tous les gazoducs de cette importance. Un certain risque existe donc tant pour la construction que pour l'exploitation d'un tel projet industriel, et il appartient aux opérateurs de respecter toutes les règlementations en vigueur (nationales, européenes et internationales) et de prendre toutes les mesures pour réduire au maximum ce risque. Cependant, et en règle générale, le gazoduc est le moyen le plus sûr pour le transport du gaz naturel. Le fait que Nord Stream soit sous-marin (c'est cette version qui a été retenue dans les orientations des réseaux transeuropéens d'énergie adoptés par le Conseil et le Parlement) ne change rien à ce constat: les dizaines de gazoducs "off shore" actuellement en service en Europe depuis plusieurs décennies ont prouvé depuis longtemps leur fiabilité en matière de sécurité.

Les considérations énergétiques ont aussi une grande importance, particulièrement à un moment où la demande en gaz augmente fortement et où les ressources endogènes diminuent. Vers 2015, l'UE devrait importer au moins 100 milliards de m3 de gaz naturel supplémentaires chaque année. C'est pourquoi la Commission mène depuis plus de 10 ans une politique en faveur des réseaux transeuropéens d'énergie (RTE-E), et qu'elle vient d'adopter un plan pour les interconnexions prioritaires (PIP) où une dizaine de gazoducs dont Nord Stream sont identifiés comme étant stratégiquement très importants pour satisfaire la demande en gaz de l'Union.

Les considérations environnementales doivent être pleinement prises en compte, conformément aux législations en vigueur. Dans le cadre de la convention UNECE(2)-Espoo (signée par les neuf Etats Baltes et la Fédération de Russie), la compagnie Nord Stream a entrepris la réalisation d'une evaluation d'impact environnemental dont le rapport final devrait être produit avant fin 2007. Dans ce cadre, une vingtaine de réunions publiques, et une centaine de réunions avec les autorités compétentes se sont tenues dans tous les pays concernés. En tant que représentante de la Communauté européenne, partie contractante de la Convention d'Espoo, la Commission a elle aussi été informée à l'occasion de trois réunions, et elle a déjà averti la compagnie Nord Stream qu'elle veillera au respect des obligations communautaires et internationales en matière d'environnement.

 
 

(1) Skriftligt svar av den 24.4.2007.
(2) United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

 

Question no 66 by David Martin (H-0624/07)
 Subject: Discrimination against Italian Lettori
 

Over the last 25 years, foreign language teachers have been discriminated against by Italian universities. The European Court of Justice judgment of 18 July 2006 failed to meaningfully address this situation. In light of the fact that this situation does not seem to have been resolved through the regular channels, what steps will the Commission now take to ensure that Italy stops this discrimination and, in addition, how will the Commission ensure that foreign language lecturers are properly compensated?

 
  
 

The Commission invites the Honourable Member to refer to its reply to question E-2691/07 concerning the recognition of acquired rights of former foreign language assistants ("Lettori") in several Italian universities.

The Commission recalls that the European Court of Justice ruled, in its judgment of 18 July 2006(1), that the legislation adopted by the Italian authorities was not incompatible with Community law for the purpose of re-constructing the career of Lettori. Furthermore, following this judgment, the Commission received assurances from the Italian authorities that this legislation was effectively applied.

In this context, any problem regarding the implementation of the Italian legislation in question should be dealt with at national level before the relevant authorities, including courts. Only national courts could decide to grant individual damage.

 
 

(1) case C-119/04, Rec.2006, p.I-6885

 

Question no 67 by Eoin Ryan (H-0626/07)
 Subject: EU involvement in the UN peacekeeping force to Sudan
 

Can the European Commission make a preliminary estimation as to how many peacekeepers of the 20 000 UN contingent that will be deployed in Sudan will come from EU Member States?

 
  
 

The deployment of peacekeepers by the EU is a matter falling under Member States' competence; the Commission does not have at this stage any detailed information regarding the commitments by individual Member States.

The Commission is aware that President Bashir of Sudan has insisted on several occasions that UNAMID(1) should have a predominantly African character. The United Nations for its part has indicated that it does not believe that the need for fully-equipped specialised forces – especially transport and engineering units able to protect themselves – can be met without appealing to countries from outside the African continent.

 
 

(1) The United Nations/African Union Hybrid operation in Darfur

 

Question no 68 by Liam Aylward (H-0632/07)
 Subject: Traceability and labelling requirements for countries which export food into the EU
 

What is the European Commission doing to ensure that the same level of regulation which exists in Europe for EU food products in terms of traceability and labelling requirements is put in place in other countries which export food products into the territories of the European Union?

 
  
 

Under EU law, traceability means the ability to track any feed, food, food-producing animal or substance that will be used for consumption through all stages of production, processing and distribution.

Traceability doesn’t itself make food safer. It is a risk management tool to be used in order to assist in containing a food safety problem.

Traceability is compulsory for food business operators at all stages of the food chain, namely from the importer up to the retail level.

Exporters in trading partner countries are not legally covered, as EU law could not have extra territorial effect. However, it should be noted that it is common practice among some EU food business operators to request trading partners to meet some traceability requirements.

The food labelling requirements apply to any foodstuff marketed in the EU, included to those imported.

 

Vraag nr. 69 van Philip Claeys (H-0633/07)
 Betreft: Verbod op een politieke partij in Duitsland
 

Eind augustus 2007 sprak de Europees Commissaris voor burgerlijke vrijheden zich uit voor een verbod op de Nationale Partei Deutschlands (NPD). Hij stelde dat ook andere EU-lidstaten met 'grote problemen in verband met rechtsextremisme' te maken hebben en noemde daarbij expliciet Frankrijk, België, Denemarken en Italië. Volgens hem moet in deze landen de strijd tegen racisme en xenofobie worden opgevoerd en moeten er zowel inzake preventie als inzake repressie maatregelen worden genomen.

Wat bedoelt de Commissie in kwestie met 'grote problemen in verband met rechtsextremisme'? Over welke politieke partijen gaat het volgens de Commissie? Is de Commissie van mening dat ook de partijen in kwestie verboden moeten worden? Zo ja, op basis van welke bevindingen?

 
  
 

The Commission considers that it is important to maintain the memory of Nazi crimes as a tribute to its victims and as a means for educating future generations. Any attitude aiming at giving a positive or banal image of this ideology including the participation in the political life of parties claiming and defending it, is opposed to European Union values.

As regards extremism, the Commission reiterates that racism and xenophobia are incompatible with the principles upon which the European Union is founded and which are common to the Member States.

The establishment of an inventory of political parties on the basis of their ideology or their banning in the Member States does not fall as such within the powers conferred to the Commission by the EC Treaty.

An important step in the fight against racism and xenophobia is that the Justice and Home Affairs Council of Ministers, on 19 April 2007, reached a political agreement on a Framework Decision on Combating certain forms and expressions of Racism and Xenophobia by means of criminal law. The aim of this Framework Decision is to approximate criminal law provisions related to racist and xenophobic offences.

In the future, under certain circumstances, specific actions including actions of political parties could be considered under this new legislation.

 

Pregunta nº 70 formulada por Maria Badia i Cutchet (H-0634/07):
 Asunto: Renovación de la pedagogía de la ciencia en las escuelas
 

En los últimos años, muchos estudios han destacado un descenso alarmante de los estudiantes de ciencias y de matemáticas, un descenso atribuido principalmente al método de enseñanza de la ciencia en las escuelas. El informe encargado por la Comisión a Michel Rocard sobre una pedagogía renovada para el futuro de Europa, recomienda recuperar métodos pedagógicos más efectivos en las escuelas, basados en el cuestionamiento, y promover activamente la formación continua del profesorado, así como el desarrollo de redes entre los docentes. También considera que debería concederse una mayor atención a la participación de las niñas en las asignaturas científicas de las escuelas, para incrementar su confianza en la ciencia.

Teniendo en cuenta que sólo una mejora de la cultura científica permitirá la emergencia de una verdadera sociedad y economía del conocimiento en la Unión Europea, y que el aprendizaje científico parece ser la clave para avanzar en esta dirección, ¿qué acciones piensa tomar la Comisión para promover la renovación de la pedagogía científica en las escuelas de la Unión?

 
  
 

The Commission shares the concern of the Honourable Member at the relative decline of youngsters' interest in mathematics and science, especially of girls. This is happening while Europe faces a growing demand for qualified human resources in science and technology (S & T) and skills shortages in those areas. It is all the more critical given the importance of mathematics, science and technology for European competitiveness and for the knowledge based society. Moreover, a good level of scientific culture plays a major role not only by enabling citizens to participate effectively in societal debates, but also to access better jobs.

For all these reasons, combating the declining interest and recruitment into science and technology studies and addressing the gender imbalance in this field is a priority objective of the Work Programme "Education & Training 2010"(1) which supports Member States in delivering their responsibilities for their education systems. It is also one of five European benchmarks for education and training agreed by the Council in 2003(2). 'Mathematics, Science and Technology' is also among the eight key competences for lifelong learning, set out in a 2006 Recommendation from the Parliament and the Council(3). The Commission's new Communication "Improving the Quality of Teacher Education" (adopted 3 August 2007)(4) underlines the importance of teachers acquiring the full range of subject knowledge, attitudes and pedagogical skills needed to better prepare young people to take their place in society and in the world of work, namely by helping them to acquire the key competences identified in the Recommendation.

Within the Open Method of Coordination, the Commission has been working closely with Member States in this field since 2001. Two progress reports have been published, recommending that: “More effective and attractive teaching methods should be introduced, in particular by linking more systematically S&T learning to real-life context and experiences”, and “teachers should be given opportunities to update their knowledge of both content and didactics”(5). A mapping of relevant initiatives across Europe has also been carried out to encourage exchanges of experience and good practice(6).

Eurydice, the information network on education in Europe, has carried out a survey on ‘Science Teaching in Schools in Europe’(7) in 30 countries. The survey stresses the role of teachers in linking theory and practice and the importance of practical work in science learning. It also underlines the crucial role of gender awareness in teacher training.

The experts' report "Science Education NOW: A renewed pedagogy for the future of Europe" (group chaired by Mr Rocard), to which the Honourable Member refers, is a joint initiative of Commissioner responsible for Science and Research and Commissioner responsible for Education, Training, Culture and Youth. The report looks at existing European initiatives for more effective science teaching and calls for the introduction of a new approach to science education, mainly through inquiry-based teaching methods.

The Commission has started a debate under the current Presidency to identify together with the Member States possibilities to implement this report's recommendations.

The Commission will support initiatives of Member States and their efforts to modernize their education systems, namely on scientific teaching and learning. The instruments of the new Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) offer a wide range of possibilities to this end.

The Commission also supports through its 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological development actions aiming at enhancing formal and informal science teaching. In its Science in Society part, the 7th Framework Programme calls for the “creation of an open environment which triggers curiosity for science in children and young people, by reinforcing science education at all levels, including schools, and promoting interest and full participation in science among people from all backgrounds”.

 
 

(1) Detailed work programme on the follow-up of the objectives of Education and training systems in Europe (February 2002)
http://europa.eu/eur-lex/pri/en/oj/dat/2002/c_142/c_14220020614en00010022.pdf
(2) http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/2010/doc/after-council-meeting_en.pdf (OJ C 134, 7.6.2003)
(3) OJ L394, 30.12.2006, p.10.
(4) http://ec.europa.eu/education/com392_en.pdf
(5) http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/2010/doc/math2004.pdf
(6) ibidem
(7) http://www.eurydice.org/portal/page/portal/Eurydice/showPresentation?pubid=081EN

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 71 του κ. Νικόλαου Βακάλη (H-0635/07)
 Θέμα: Ενεργοποίηση του άρθρου 100(2) της ΣΕΚ στην περίπτωση της Ελλάδας
 

Προτίθεται η Ευρωπαϊκή Επιτροπή να προτείνει στο Συμβούλιο τη χορήγηση κοινοτικής χρηματοδοτικής ενίσχυσης στην Ελλάδα, όπως προβλέπει το άρθρο 100(2) της Συνθήκης, μετά τις φονικές και καταστροφικές πυρκαγιές του Αυγούστου; Μέχρι ποιο ύψος μπορεί να φτάσει και ποια μορφή να έχει η ενίσχυση αυτή; Ποιοι μπορεί να είναι "οι όροι" -όπως αναφέρει η Συνθήκη- που θα θέσει το Συμβούλιο για τη χορήγηση της ενίσχυσης αυτής;

 
  
 

A full and detailed assessment of the damages caused by the wildfires in southern Greece and the island of Evia in August 2007 has not been yet concluded by the Greek authorities. Fires have a direct damage effect in the stock of wealth (buildings, agricultural fields, livestock) that will slow growth. On the other hand the rebuilding efforts and the funds from public and private sources to be channelled to the regions hit by the fires, should positively impact investment activity over the coming years. Therefore the impact on economic growth of Greece is likely to be contained.

Regarding the possible application of Article 100(2), the Commission will examine the situation once a full and detailed assessment of the damages becomes available.

Other EU solidarity instruments are nevertheless envisaged. The President of the Commission and the Commissioner responsible for Regional policy stressed, in a visit to the affected areas, that when an assessment will have been made of the damage caused to the economy and to the environment, the Commission will activate the Solidarity Fund and whatever else is necessary to help Greece. In addition, the European Investment Bank has offered to put in place a framework loan rapidly in favour of Greece for an amount of €100 million, as a first instalment of a larger loan to be decided in view of Greece’s final requirements.

 

Question no 72 by Bill Newton Dunn (H-0646/07)
 Subject: Environmental impact assessments
 

Would the Commission kindly confirm that, under Article 5(3) of the EIA Directive, mitigation proposals in respect of development applications on or affecting Natura sites must be made available for public consultation as an Addendum to the Environmental Statement before any decision at all on the application is taken, and that practices in parts of the UK such as granting primary consent before the public is informed followed by secondary consent afterwards are invalid legally?

 
  
 

According to Article 5(3), second indent of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive as amended(1),(2),(3), the information to be provided by a developer shall include at least inter alia, "a description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce and, if possible remedy significant adverse effects"; Article 3, first indent, specifies that an EIA shall identify, describe and assess direct and indirect effects on "fauna and flora", which would include of course Natura 2000 sites where these may be adversely affected by the development concerned.

According to Article 6.1 of the same Directive, "authorities likely to be concerned by the project by reason of their specific environmental responsibilities are given an opportunity to express their opinion" on the information supplied pursuant to Article 5; this information is also made available to the public concerned which is "entitled to express comments and opinions when all options are open to the competent authority or authorities before the decision on the request for development consent is taken" (Article 6.4).

It is therefore clear that the public and competent environmental authorities have to be given an early and effective opportunity to participate in the environmental decision-making procedures before development consent is given.

This was confirmed by the European Court of Justice in Case C-201/02 ex parte Delena Wells in its judgement of 7 January 2004(4) at paragraph 52 where the Court held that "where national law provides that the consent procedure is to be carried out in several stages, one involving a principal decision and the other involving an implementing decision which cannot extend beyond the parameters set by the principal decision, the effects which the project may have on the environment must be identified and assessed at the time of the procedure relating to the principal decision. It is only if those effects are not identifiable until the time of the procedure relating to the implementing decision that the assessment should be carried out in the course of that procedure".

 
 

(1) Council Directive 85/337/EEC, OJ L 175 05.07.85
(2) amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC, OJ L 73, 14.03.97
(3) amended by European Parliament and Council Directive 2003/35/EC, OJ L 156, 25.06.03
(4) OJ C 47, 21.02.2004

 

Fråga nr 73 från Anna Hedh (H-0648/07)
 Angående: Alkohol
 

Enligt kommissionen finns klara kopplingar mellan alkoholkonsumtion och folkhälsa. Enligt kommissionär Kyprianous tal i plenum den 5 september bidrar alkoholen till att 100 000 människor dör i alkoholrelaterade skador och sjukdomar varje år i Europa. Alkoholen kostar 125 miljarder euro per år och samhällskostnaderna i EU för alkoholen är därmed i stort sett av samma storleksordning som kostnaden för tobak. Den referensnivå som används i Sverige för att avgöra om en transport av alkohol över landgränsen är av privat eller kommersiell karaktär är i dag 230 liter alkoholhaltiga drycker per införseltillfälle. Svensk alkoholpolitik består av ett antal delar varav en har varit höga punktskatter och därmed inköpspris. Detta verktygs betydelse har nu kraftigt minskat då rådande EU-regler tillåter import av stora mängder alkohol från andra medlemsstater som inte tillämpar samma politik. Anser kommissionen, med tanke på den tydliga koppling som finns mellan alkoholkonsumtion och folkhälsa, att Sverige av folkhälsoskäl kan justera den svenska referensnivån nedåt utan att bryta mot EU:s regelverk? Kan Sverige med stöd av artikel 30 eller annan del av fördraget sätta andra införselgränser för alkohol som en del i sin restriktiva alkoholpolitik?

 
  
 

The Commission shares the concern of the Honourable Member regarding alcohol misuse and that is why the Commission adopted on 24 October 2006 a Communication on reducing alcohol related harm. However, the vast majority of Member States do not consider it appropriate to curb alcohol consumption through the level of excise duties, inter alia because moderate, responsible consumption by adults is not considered detrimental to health or raises social concerns generally. Sweden follows a different policy in the matter. This forms part of the discretion left to Member States.

In accordance with the principle governing the internal market, Article 8 of Directive 92/12/EEC lays down that private individuals wishing to purchase alcohol in another Member State may do so provided the goods are transported by and are for the own use of the individual. The indicative level, totalling 230 litres of various categories of alcoholic drinks (among which only 10 litres of spirit drinks), to which the Honourable Member refers is laid down in Article 9 of that Directive. The purpose of guide levels fixed in accordance with this provision is only to provide orientation when it comes to establish whether the products are genuinely for the individual's own use and, therefore, not subject to duty in the Member State of destination, or whether they are for commercial purposes in which case duty will be due. Thus, the figures given in Article 9 shall not be considered as allowances. However, Member States may not fix guide levels lower than those set out in Article 9.

With regard to Article 30 of the Treaty, the Commission notes that Article 8 of Directive 92/12/EEC, read in connection with Article 9 thereof, exhaustively deals with the matter in question, namely importation of products from a given Member State into another Member State without payment of taxes in the latter. Indeed, these provisions take account of the interest, on the part of Member States, to apply their own taxes on products brought into their territory from other Member States. This interest may be related to tax income reasons or, indeed to other policy reasons linked to alcohol taxation, such as health protection. In this regard, it has to be recalled, first, that the harmonisation system to which these provisions belong does not foresee maximum rates, which implies that Member States may fix their national rates at any point equal or above the minimum rate, including for reasons of health protection. It has to be recalled, secondly, that in this very context, some Member States including Sweden have been granted transitional regimes. These regimes derogate from Articles 8 and 9, having regard to the particular position of these States(1), notably in terms of public health policies.(2) Those regimes have expired on 31 December 2003 (for Sweden, cf. Article 26(3) of Directive 92/12/EEC).

In sum, the way in which Member States of importation may apply their own tax rules to private imports from other Member States is harmonised at Community level, including with regard to possible health policies of the former. Consequently, Member States are not entitled to invoke Article 30 EC in the matter, in order to unilaterally lay down and apply stricter rules.

 
 

(1) In the case of Sweden, the Accession Treaty provided for a transitional period ending 31 December 1996. This period was prolonged through Directive 96/99/EC (OJ L 8 of 11.1.1997) and through Directive 2000/44/EC (OJ L 161 of 1.7.2000). both of which amended Article 26 of Directive 92/12/EEC.
(2) The fifth recital of Directive 96/99/EC as well as the second recital of Directive 2000/44/EC refer to the fact that Sweden has "traditionally applied high excise duties to the products concerned both as an important source of revenue and for health and social reasons".

 

Pergunta nº 74 do Paulo Casaca (H-0649/07)
 Assunto: Surto de cólera no Curdistão iraquiano
 

Perante o gravíssimo surto de cólera que se está a desenvolver no Curdistão iraquiano, as autoridades regionais solicitaram já a ajuda internacional. Tenciona a Comissão Europeia responder ao apelo?

 
  
 

The Commission is alarmed by the outbreak of cholera in Iraqi Kurdistan and is following the situation closely. As reported by the World Health Organization, a high level committee chaired by the Minister of Health has been set up and necessary measures have been taken. The mortality rate has been reported as less than 1%, which suggests that the treatment of the patients is under control.

The World Health Organization is coordinating the response to the outbreak of the disease. As part of this response, the International Committee of the Red Cross, with the financial support of the Humanitarian Aid Directorate General (DG ECHO), donated necessary infusions to the local Ministry of Health authorities.

Furthermore, since 2004 the Commission has been systematically supporting the health sector in Iraq through the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, United Nations Development Group - Iraq Trust Fund (UNDG - ITF), cluster D dedicated to Health and Nutrition. A new contribution amounting to € 12,000,000 was allocated to this cluster in June 2007 in order to prepare the national health authorities to deal with these and other threats of public health.

 

Zapytanie nr 75 skierowane przez Bogusław Sonik (H-0650/07)
 Dotyczy: Sytuacja mniejszości chrześcijańskiej na Bliskim Wschodzie i w Maghrebie
 

Chciałbym zwrócić uwagę na sytuację chrześcijan na Bliskim Wschodzie i w Maghrebie. Obecna sytuacja w regionie powoduje, że chrześcijanie czują się coraz mniej bezpieczni. Jednym z powodów jest wzrost radykalizmu islamskiego. Skutkuje to tym, iż wielu chrześcijan udaje się na emigrację. W najgorszej sytuacji są chrześcijanie mieszkający od wieków w Iraku. Stają się oni często ofiarami terroru szerzącego się w Iraku. Również w Libanie, podczas wojny, ucierpiało wielu chrześcijan zamieszkujących ten kraj, niemających nic wspólnego z Hezbollahem. W Egipcie chrześcijanie znaleźli się w środku konfliktu między rządem a radykałami islamskimi. W sierpniu aresztowano dwóch chrześcijańskich aktywistów z Middle East Christian Association, którym zarzucono agresywne wypowiedzi w stosunku do islamu. W Algierii rząd ograniczył niemuzułmanom swobody w wyznawaniu wiary, co bezpośrednio uderzyło w chrześcijan zamieszkujących ten kraj.

Jakie kroki Komisja podjęła w celu zwiększenia bezpieczeństwa chrześcijan w regionie?

Czy Komisja zamierza zwrócić się do szefów rządów państw, w których problem prześladowań istnieje?

Czy Komisja przygotowuje w ramach Euro-Mediterranean Partnership działania mające na celu poprawę sytuacji mniejszości chrześcijańskich w regionie?

 
  
 

The Commission would like to thank the Honorable Member for his question regarding the situation of Christian minorities in the Middle East and the Maghreb.

The Commission is acutely aware of the reported constraints that Christians, but also other religious minorities are facing in many countries of the region. Together with the Member States it is paying very close attention to the human rights and democracy situation in the region, including as regards the respect for religious freedom and protection of religious minorities.

The EU is actively engaged in discussions on freedom of thought, conscience and religion with a broad range of countries in the region and raises these and other human rights concerns in political dialogue meetings with the countries concerned. It also voices its concerns regarding religious freedom and related intolerance and discrimination via demarches and public statements, reminding partner countries of their commitments under international law which prohibits discrimination on any grounds.

The EU is also actively seaking to advance the cause of human rights protection under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). The jointly agreed ENP Action Plan with Egypt contains objectives to promote the protection of human rights in all its aspects; to improve dialogue between cultures and religions; to cooperate in the fight against intolerance, discrimination, racism and xenophobia and in the promotion of respect for religions and culture. Similarly, the ENP Action Plan with Lebanon attaches importance to the protection of rights of minorities as well as the fight against discrimination, racism, xenophobia and racial hatred discourse. Regrettably, there is no ENP action plan yet with Algeria.

As to the Commission assistance programmes, the Commission has extensively funded human rights and democracy projects addressing discrimination and minority issues under the EIDHR (European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights), and will continue to do so in the future. In addition, the MEDA programme(1) has given support to the establishment of national human rights strategies and national institutions on human rights.

 
 

(1) Instrument of economic and financial cooperation under the Euro-Mediterranean partnership

 

Question no 76 by Marian Harkin (H-0652/07)
 Subject: Food additives
 

Recent findings from a study commissioned by the UK Food Safety Authority published in the Lancet medical journal found that a number of food additives including, E110, E102, E122, E124, E211, E104 and E129 have revealed a possible link to hyperactive behaviour and can adversely influence the behaviour of children.

In light of these findings can the Commission comment on what action it has taken or will be taking to address these alarming findings in order to review the safety of all EU permitted food additives?

 
  
 

The Commission is aware of the work recently published in the scientific journal 'The Lancet' which indicated that consumption of some food additives could have an influence on hyperactive behaviour in children.

The Commission has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), as the risk assessment body within Europe, to examine the findings of this study and any other related information in the public domain and to provide an opinion as soon as possible.

On the basis of the opinion of EFSA the Commission will consider if any further measures are necessary.

Before food additives are approved for use within the European Union they must first be evaluated for their safety. All food additives which are authorised within the European Union have therefore previously been evaluated by either the EFSA or the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF). Moreover the Commission keeps all additives under continuous observation and requests EFSA to examine any new findings which may change the outcome of a previous evaluation.

Additionally in relation to the proposal on food additives which is part of the Commission's package of proposals on food improvement agents, the Commission has asked the EFSA to undertake a re-evaluation of all currently permitted food additives. This re-evaluation is underway and EFSA are in the process of re-evaluating the permitted food colours.

 

Question no 78 by Colm Burke (H-0658/07)
 Subject: EU research into suicide prevention
 

World Suicide Prevention Day took place on 10 September. This reminds us of the fact that premature deaths from suicide necessitate urgent action.

Each year in Europe 58 000 people commit suicide. In my own country, Ireland, the suicide rate has doubled since the early 1980s, with now an average of 495 deaths each year through suicide.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among young people. About 14% of all suicides affect the 15-24 age group, with young males particularly at risk.

How is the Commission supporting research into the causes of suicide and evaluation of strategies for suicide prevention across the EU?

 
  
 

With the last enlargement round, the number of deaths from suicide in the EU has come to about 60,000 per year. It is estimated that 10 times more people undertake suicide attempts. Suicide rates in some Member States are among the highest in the world. At the same time, there is evidence showing that preventive action can reduce suicide rates. Tackling suicidal behaviour should therefore be a public health priority.

The Commission is active. It co-finances the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD) from its Public Health Programme. Depression is a major cause for suicide and many regional networks against depression has already been created across Europe.

Secondly, under the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development, relevant calls for proposals were just closed on “Evaluation of suicide prevention strategies across and within European countries” and "From mood disorders to experimental models". The proposals received will now undergo the usual evaluation process.

 

Question n° 79 de Alain Hutchinson (H-0660/07)
 Objet: Éligibilité aux fonds structurels des dépenses de rénovation de logements à vocation sociale
 

Le nouveau règlement FEDER (CE) n° 1080/2006(1) limite la possibilité d’intervention de ce fonds en matière de logement pour les seuls pays membres ayant adhéré à l’Union européenne après le 1er mai 2004. Outre le fait que le choix du critère basé sur la date d’adhésion, et non pas sur la situation socio-économique d'un État ou d'une région, est étonnant, il est également contestable dans la mesure où d'importants problèmes d'accès au logement se posent dans de nombreuses villes et régions d'Europe qui ne sont pas forcément toutes situées sur le territoire d'un nouvel État membre. En cette matière, il est pourtant très important pour la poursuite de l'objectif européen de cohésion de pouvoir agir partout où cela s'avère nécessaire. C’est dans ce souci que le Parlement européen a adopté, le 10 mai dernier, une résolution P6_TA(2007)0183 sur le logement et la politique régionale (2006/2108(INI)) dans laquelle il demandait que l'accès aux fonds communautaires pour la rénovation de logements sociaux soit étendu à l'ensemble des États membres lors de la prochaine révision des règlements régissant la politique de cohésion. La Commission pourrait-elle informer le Parlement des mesures qu'elle compte proposer afin de répondre à cette demande du Parlement?

 
  
 

La Commission confirme l'information qu'elle a déjà transmise au Parlement dans le cadre de la suite donnée à la résolution P6_TA(2007)0183 sur le logement et la politique régionale(2), approuvée le 10 mai 2007.

La Commission ne prévoit pas de révision de la réglementation régissant la politique de cohésion, qui restera en vigueur jusqu'à la fin 2013. L'opportunité d'élargir l'éligibilité du logement à tous les Etats membres se posera, le moment venu, dans le cadre de la discussion sur la réforme de la politique de cohésion après 2013.

 
 

(1) JO L 210 du 31.7.2006, p. 1.
(2) 2006/2108(INI)

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 80 του κ. Αθανασίου Παφίλη (H-0663/07)
 Θέμα: Απειλή για τη δημόσια υγεία η μόλυνση των υδάτων στον Ασωπό
 

Νερό-δηλητήριο χρησιμοποιούν δεκάδες χιλιάδες κάτοικοι πολλών πόλεων και περιοχών της Αττικής και της Βοιωτίας, λόγω της μόλυνσης του υδροφόρου ορίζοντα και των πηγών που υδροδοτούν τις παραπάνω περιοχές με εξασθενές χρώμιο, νιτρικά, χλώριο και μόλυβδο που εντοπίστηκαν στην ευρύτερη λεκάνη του Ασωπού ποταμού. Βαρύτατες είναι οι ευθύνες των ελληνικών κυβερνήσεων από το 1996 μέχρι σήμερα αφού παρά τις επισημάνσεις αρμόδιων φορέων για την διαρκώς αυξανόμενη μόλυνση του υδροφόρου ορίζοντα από την ανεξέλεγκτη απόρριψη βιομηχανικών αποβλήτων, δεν έλαβαν κανένα μέτρο προστασίας της δημόσιας υγείας.

Σκοπεύει η Επιτροπή να εξετάσει μέτρα και να χρηματοδοτήσει ενέργειες που θα συμβάλουν στην προστασία της δημόσιας υγείας και την εξασφάλιση ασφαλούς υδροδότησης των περιοχών αυτών, στην απορρύπανση του υδροφόρου ορίζοντα και στην προστασία του από τα βιομηχανικά απόβλητα, καθώς και τη διενέργεια ερευνών για τις επιπτώσεις στη δημόσια υγεία των κατοίκων των περιοχών αυτών και τους κινδύνους επέκτασης της μόλυνσης;

 
  
 

The Water Framework Directive(1) (WFD) requires Member States to carry out an analysis of the impacts of the human activities on the status of waters by 2004. To date, Greece has not carried out a proper environmental assessment as required by the WFD and consequently the Commission initiated an infringement procedure in relation to compliance with Articles 5(1) and 15(2) of the WFD, which has been brought before the Court on 21 March 2007.

The limited information provided by the Greek authorities in the context of WFD reporting acknowledges the presence of high concentrations of organic pollutants and nutrients (phosphorus and nitrates) in the river Asopos, due to industrial and waste water discharges and agricultural activities.

The Commission will further investigate this case and request additional information from the Greek authorities about the situation in the Asopos river basin, and in particular as regards the quality of the drinking water.

EU funding instruments such as the Cohesion Fund(2), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development(3) and the European Regional Development Fund(4) provide for eligibility of a range of measures to protect and enhance the quality of our waters – from planning and assessment to operational measures. However, it is the responsibility of Member States to choose, within these eligible measures, their priorities and projects.

 
 

(1) Directive 2000/60/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy, OJ L 327 of 22.12.2000, as amended
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 1084/2006 of 11 July 2006 establishing a Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1164/94, OJ L 210 of 31.7.2006
(3) Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 of 20 September 2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), OJ L 277 of 21.10.2005
(4) Regulation (EC) No 1080/2006 of the Parliament and of the Council of 5 July 2006 on the European Regional Development Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1783/1999, OJ L 210 of 31.7.2006

 

Vraag nr. 81 van Bastiaan Belder (H-0665/07)
 Betreft: Onregelmatigheden in de besluitvorming voor internationale standaardisatie in het ISO
 

Heeft de Commissie kennisgenomen van de recente onregelmatigheden in de besluitvorming voor internationale standaardisatie in het ISO, waaronder het chanteren en kopen van stemmen en het op andere manieren oneigenlijk beïnvloeden van nationale stemcommissies?

Is de Commissie van mening dat de ISO-procedures aanzienlijke aanpassing behoeven om beter toegesneden te zijn op controversiële standaarden als OOXML?

Zo ja, welke aanpassingen wil de Commissie voorstellen in overleg met de lidstaten en andere deelnemende landen, alsmede de nationale commissies?

Overweegt de Commissie sancties jegens de ondernemingen die hun marktpositie gebruiken om Europese bedrijven tegen hun wil bij dit soort praktijken te betrekken c.q. om andere leveranciers en open source-toepassingen op concurrentieachterstand te zetten?

Zie onder meer: http://ec.europa.eu/idabc/en/document/7183/469

 
  
 

The question refers to an ongoing decision-making process at the International Standards Organisation (ISO) which is very controversial as a result of the strongly held positions of different stakeholders.

The Commission is aware that irregularities regarding decision-making at both national and international levels have been reported in the media. However, the Commission is not directly involved either in the process or in the governance of ISO, and is therefore not in a position to undertake a verification of alleged improper behaviour.

ISO is an independent international standards organisation. The responsibility for the proper functioning of ISO is primarily with its members, the national standards bodies, and it is for them to verify the reported irregularities and to consider a possible follow-up.

Generally, the corrrect functioning of international standardisation is important for the EU standardisation policy. Therefore the Commission encourages ISO and the other recognised standards bodies to respect the World Trade Organisation principles of international standardisation, namely transparency, openness, inclusiveness, impartiality and consensus, effectiveness, relevance and coherence.

The Commision expects ISO and its members to fully implement these principles in their decision-making processes. Through the agreement for cooperation between the European Standards Organisations and the Commission, European national standards bodies are also expected to respect the same principles.

The Commission is committed to ensuring competition based upon merit . In this regard, it is important that standard-setting processes are subject to open and transparent procedures, as outlined in paragraphs 159-178 of the Commission's Guidelines on the applicability of Article 81 of the EC Treaty to horizontal cooperation agreements(1).

 
 

(1) See http://eur-ex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2001/c_003/c_00320010106en00020030.pdf

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 82 της κ. Διαμάντως Μανωλάκου (H-0667/07)
 Θέμα: Γιατροί ασφαλιστικού φορέα εργάζονται ανασφάλιστοι
 

900 ιατροί του ΙΚΑ, όπως και δεκάδες χιλιάδες άλλοι εργαζόμενοι του δημόσιου τομέα, παραμένουν όμηροι συμβάσεων, χωρίς ασφαλή θέση εργασίας, και χωρίς ασφάλιση, παρά το γεγονός ότι καλύπτουν μόνιμες και σταθερές θέσεις εργασίας 5500 ιατροί μετά από πολυετή απασχόληση στο ασφαλιστικό αυτό ταμείο και μετά την μετατροπή της σύμβασης τους σε αορίστου χρόνου, παραμένουν χωρίς ασφάλιση στο Ταμείο αυτό σε αντίθεση με τους υπόλοιπους συναδέλφους τους.

Σκοπεύει η Επιτροπή να προβεί στις αναγκαίες πρωτοβουλίες ώστε να σταματήσει η άτυπη αλλά διαρκής αυτή ομηρία και να εξασφαλιστεί ότι οι εργαζόμενοι ιατροί στο ΙΚΑ θα αποκτήσουν πλήρη εργασιακά, ασφαλιστικά και συνταξιοδοτικά δικαιώματα, και να μετατραπούν οι συμβάσεις όλων των εργαζομένων που καλύπτουν μόνιμες και σταθερές θέσεις εργασίας από συμβάσεις έργου σε αορίστου χρόνου;

 
  
 

The question submitted by the Honourable Member raises two issues.

The first concerns the actions which the Commission intends to take in order to ensure that fixed-term contracts of workers in permanent jobs are converted into permanent contracts. In this regard, the Commission invites the Honourable Member to refer to its reply to Oral Question H-0532/07 by Mr Papadimoulis(1).

The second issue concerns the allegation that doctors employed by IKA on permanent contracts, after conversion of their previous fixed-term contracts into permanent ones, do not benefit of any insurance coverage. The Commission is unable to provide more details based on the information provided by the Honourable Member.

 
 

(1) Réponse orale du 4 septembre 2007

 

Vraag nr. 83 van Anne Van Lancker (H-0669/07)
 Betreft: Rapport over racisme en xenofobie in de lidstaten van de EU
 

In een rapport van het EU Agency for Fundamental Rights over racisme in de EU blijkt dat er nog vaak gediscrimineerd wordt op basis van afkomst, hoewel 2 richtlijnen (2000/78/EG(1) en 2000/43/EG(2)) dat verbieden. In België gaat discriminatie vooral over werkgelegenheid. De richtlijnen zorgden vooral voor een aantal goedwerkende nationale organen om klachten te verwerken, maar die resulteren vaak niet in sancties. In een aantal landen zijn er zelfs nog geen organen voorhanden die klachten mbt. racisme verwerken, hoewel 2000/43/EG dat voorschrijft. Is de Commissie op de hoogte van het rapport? Acht de Commissie geen snellere maatregelen mogelijk die de lidstaten kunnen aansporen discriminatie op basis van afkomst te verminderen? Heeft de Commissie voorstellen die kunnen leiden tot een betere naleving van de door haar opgestelde richtlijnen mbt. discriminatie?

 
  
 

The Commission is aware of the "Report on Racism and Xenophobia in the Member States of the EU" recently published by the Fundamental Rights Agency.

The Commission places great importance on the correct transposition of Directive 2000/43/EC, the "Race Equality" Directive, by the Member States. It has examined in detail the legislation of the Member States, and decided to send reasoned opinions to 14 Member States on 27 June 2007. As regards the "Equality Bodies" that the Member States are obliged to have under the Directive, only two Member States still have no such body to help victims of discrimination. The Commission has contacted the national authorities on this point.

The Commission is encouraged, in its contacts with the national authorities, by the increasing level of compliance of national law with the EU anti-discrimination Directives.

The Commission takes a number of actions to encourage Member States to fight against discrimination. For example, it funds a large number of initiatives which aim to prevent or reduce discrimination, such as awareness raising, fighting against stereotypes, training for NGOs, trade unions and the legal profession and the exchange of good practice between Equality Bodies. These are an essential complement to the EU legal framework.

 
 

(1) PB L 303 van 2.12.2000, blz. 16.
(2) PB L 180 van 19.7.2000, blz. 22.

 

Pergunta nº 84 do Pedro Guerreiro (H-0672/07)
 Assunto: Expiração do denominado "Memorando de entendimento" entre a UE e a China relativamente à importação de certos produtos têxteis e de vestuário
 

Como temos vindo a salientar, ao longo deste ano, o denominado "Memorando de entendimento" sobre as exportações de certos produtos têxteis e de vestuário da China para os países da União Europeia - concluído a 10 de Junho de 2005, e integrando 10 das cerca de 35 categorias de produtos importadas deste país - expira dia 31 de Dezembro de 2007.

Este acordo introduziu, embora de forma limitada, medidas de salvaguarda específicas relativamente às exportações chinesas, não entrando em linha de conta com as importações para a UE provenientes de outros países terceiros.

É crescente o número de organizações do sector que tem vindo a alertar para a necessidade da existência de medidas que limitem o crescimento exponencial das importações de têxteis e vestuário para a União Europeia - evitando a situação ocorrida em 2005 -, como a prorrogação das restrições em vigor e a sua aplicação a novas categorias, aliás, à semelhança do contemplado em acordos celebrados entre a China e os EUA.

Quais as medidas está a Comissão a pensar accionar - incluindo ao nível da limitação da importação - de forma a defender a capacidade produtiva e os postos de trabalho do sector do têxtil e vestuário, um sector que tem uma grande importância socio-económica na UE, designadamente para as regiões desfavorecidas, onde este se concentra?

 
  
 

Textiles and more specifically textile trade with China is a crucial item on the Commission's agenda for the end of 2007. In this context, the Commission has been consistently concerned and defended the interests of the European industry.

Indeed against a background of virtually free access to the EU market, the export oriented EU Textile and Clothing Industry is faced with high tariffs and non tariff barriers which hamper access to key markets and thus curtail the industry's possibility to enhance their competitiveness. The work achieved in the High Level Group (HLG) i.e. the Market Access Action Plan (MAAP) is extremely valuable. The Commission is pursuing the implementation of the MAAP in its bilateral encounters as well as at the multilateral level with a view to seeking better market access. Efforts will continue to focus on seeking the reduction or elimination of tariffs and/or Non-tariff Barriers (NTBs) in the context of bilateral negotiations or instruments, or through other World Trade Organisation instruments.

On the specific item of China Textiles, the Commission wishes to re-iterate that according to the EC-China Memorandum of Understanding signed in Shanghai in June 2005 the agreed import limitations on the ten textiles and clothing categories will be lifted on 31 December 2007. The Commission is fully aware of the importance of the textile sector in the EU industry and of the interests of certain Member States and regions in the sector. The Commission has, however, no intention to propose to extend the quotas on imports of certain textile and clothing categories beyond 2007.

The Memorandum of Understanding also covers the year 2008. In order to ensure a smooth transition in 2008, the Commission will closely monitor imports of textiles from China. To this end, the Commission is currently considering the introduction of a surveillance mechanism without any quantitative restrictions in the form of either single (on the EU side only) or double surveillance (on both the EU and Chinese sides) system. This is currently being discussed with all parties concerned.

The Commission will elaborate a formal proposal in due course with the aim of having a formal decision made public by the end of October 2007.

 

Anfrage Nr. 85 von Hans-Peter Martin (H-0674/07)
 Betrifft: Zuständigkeit und Ausgaben für dezentrale Agenturen
 

Selbst Experten, die sich seit Jahren mit der Frage der EU-Agenturen beschäftigen, wissen auf Grund mangelnder Transparenz auf grundsätzliche Fragen keine Antwort. Kann die Kommission daher folgende Fragen beantworten:

Welche Generaldirektion der Kommission ist derzeit für welche dezentrale Agentur verantwortlich?

Wie viele Mitarbeiter in den jeweiligen Generaldirektionen der Kommission waren, aufgelistet nach den Jahren 2000 bis 2006, beziehungsweise wie viele sind derzeit für die dezentralen Agenturen zuständig?

Wie hoch war der finanzielle Aufwand, aufgegliedert für administrative, operationelle und personelle Tätigkeiten, innerhalb der einzelnen Generaldirektionen der Kommission in den Jahren 2000 bis 2006 für die dezentralen Agenturen?

 
  
 

En réponse à la première question posée, l'honorable parlementaire trouvera ci-dessous la liste des organismes décentralisés sur le plan géographique et la Direction Générale au sein de la Commission en charge des relations avec eux.

La Commission informe l'honorable parlementaire que les 2 autres questions posées demandent des recherches importantes et que les informations requises seront transmises dès que possible.

Nom de l’agence

Direction Générale

European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training

Centre européen pour le développement de la formation professionnelle

(CEDEFOP)

(Thessaloniki / EL)

Education and Culture

Education et Culture

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

Fondation européenne pour l’amélioration des conditions de vie et de travail

(EUROFOUND)

(Dublin / IE)

Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Emploi, affaires sociales et égalité des chances

European Environment Agency

Agence européenne pour l’environnement

(EEA)

(Copenhagen / DK)

Environment

Environnement

European Training Foundation

Fondation européenne pour la formation

(ETF)

(Torino / IT)

Education and Culture

Education et Culture

European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction

Observatoire européen des drogues et des toxicomanies

(EMCDDA – OEDT)

(Lisboa / PT)

Justice, Freedom and Security

Justice, Liberté et Sécurité

European Medicines Agency

Agence europeénne des médicaments

(EMEA)

(London / UK)

Enterprises

Entreprises

Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market

Office de l’harmonisation dans le marché intérieur

(OHIM)

(Alicante / ES)

Internal Market

Marché intérieur

European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

Agence européenne pour la sécurité et la santé au travail

(EU-OSHA)

(Bilbao / ES)

Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Emploi, affaires sociales et égalité des chances

Nom de l’agence

Direction Générale

Community Plant Variety Office

Office communautaire des variétés végétales

(CPVO)

(Angers / FR)

Health and Consumer Protection

Santé et protection des consommateurs

Translation Centre for bodies of the European Union

Centre de traduction des organes de l’Union européenne

(CdT)

(Luxembourg / LU)

Translation

Traduction

European Agency for Reconstruction

Agence européenne pour la réconstruction

(EAR)

(Thessaloniki / EL)

Enlargement

Elargissement

European Food Safety Authority

Autorité de sécurité alimentaire européenne (EFSA)

(Parma / IT)

Health and Consumer Protection

Santé et protection des consommateurs

European Maritime Safety Agency

Agence europeénne de la sécurité maritime

(EMSA)

Lisboa (PT)

Energy and Transport

Energie et transports

European Aviation Safety Agency

Agence européenne pour la sécurité aérienne

(EASA)

Köln (DE)

Energy and Transport

Energie et transports

European Agency for Networks and Information Security

Agence européenne pour la sécurité des réseaux et de l’information

(ENISA)

Heraklion (EL)

Information Society

Société de l’information

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Centre européen pour la prévention et le contrôle des maladies

(ECDC)

Stockholm (SE)

Health and Consumer Protection

Santé et protection des consommateurs

European Railway Agency

Agence ferroviaire européenne

(ERA)

Lille/Valenciennes (FR)

Energy and Transport

Energie et transports

European GNSS Supervisory Authority

Autorité de Surveillance européenne GNSS

(GSA)

Transport

European Agency for the Management of Operational Co-operation at the External Borders

Agence européenne pour la gestion de la coopération opérationnelle aux frontières extérieures

(FRONTEX)

(Warsaw (PL)

Justice, Freedom and Security

Justice, Liberté et Sécurité

Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA)

still in Brussels,

later in Vigo (ES)

Agence communautaire de contrôle des pêches

Momentanément à Bruxelles, ultérieurement à Vigo (ES)

Fisheries and maritime affairs

Pêche et affaires maritimes

Nom de l’agence

Direction Générale

REACH

European Chemicals Agency

Agence européenne des produits chimiques

(ECHA)

Helsinki / FI

Enterprise and Industry

Entreprises & Industrie

Environment

Environnement

Enterprise and Industry

Enterprises & Industrie

European Institute for Gender Equality

Institut européen pour l'égalité entre les hommes et les femmes

Vilnius (LT)

Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Emploi, affaires sociales et égalité des chances

Fundamental Rights Agency

Agence des droits fondamentaux de l'Union européenne

Wien (AT)

Justice, Freedom and Security

Justice, Liberté et Sécurité

European Institute for Security Studies

Institut d’études de sécurité de l’Union européenne

(ISS)

Paris (FR)

Dépend du Conseil

European Union Satellite Centre

Centre satellitaire de l’Union européenne

(EUSC)

Torrejon de Ardoz (ES)

Dépend du Conseil

European Defence Agency

Agence européenne de défense

(EDA)

Brussels (BE)

Dépend du Conseil

European Police Office

Office européen de police

(EUROPOL)

The Hague (NL)

Justice, Freedom and Security

Justice, Liberté et Sécurité

European Judicial Co-operation Unit

Unité européenne de coopération judiciaire

(EUROJUST)

The Hague (NL)

Justice, Freedom and Security

Justice, Liberté et Sécurité

European Police College

Collège européen de police

(CEPOL)

Bramshill (UK)

Justice, Freedom and Security

Justice, Liberté et Sécurité

 

Ερώτηση αρ. 86 του κ. Γεωργίου Τούσσα (H-0675/07)
 Θέμα: Ληστρική διαχείριση των αποθεμάτων ασφαλιστικών ταμείων από χρηματοπιστωτικούς ομίλους
 

Η επαναγορά από την «JP Morgan» δομημένου ομολόγου της ελληνικής κυβέρνησης, αξίας 280 εκατομμυρίων ευρώ, από τα ασφαλιστικά Ταμεία ΤΕΑΔΥ, ΤΣΕΥΠ, ΤΕΑΥΦΕ, ΤΕΑΠΟΚΑ και η έντοκη επιστροφή των χρημάτων που καταβλήθηκαν για το δεύτερο τρίμηνο από την ίδια και για το πρώτο τρίμηνο από τα λεφτά των φορολογουμένων αποκαλύπτει τις σοβαρές ευθύνες της αμερικανικής αυτής Τράπεζας για τη διαχείριση των αποθεματικών των ασφαλιστικών Ταμείων. Η ομολογία αυτή της ληστρικής διαχείρισης από χρηματοπιστωτικούς οργανισμούς των αποθεμάτων των ασφαλιστικών Ταμείων αναδεικνύει τους κινδύνους που αυτά διατρέχουν εφόσον τα αποθεματικά παραδίδονται στα χέρια των ιδιωτών προς εκμετάλλευση.

Πώς εκτιμά η Επιτροπή την διαδικασία αγοραπωλησίας των δομημένων ομολόγων του ελληνικού κράτους που κατέληξαν στο σύνολο τους σε ασφαλιστικά ταμεία με καταφανώς παράνομες διαδικασίες; Ποιες θεωρεί ότι είναι οι ευθύνες της αμερικανικής Τράπεζας και πως μπορεί να εξασφαλίσει ότι τα αποθεματικά των ασφαλιστικών Ταμείων δεν θα γίνονται βορά στο βωμό του κέρδους μονοπωλιακών χρηματοπιστωτικών ιδρυμάτων, αλλά θα αξιοποιούνται προς όφελος των εργαζομένων;

 
  
 

The Commission has no general supervisory role on the functioning of the pension funds in the Member States. Since the information provided obviously concerns pension funds responsible for administration of statutory pension schemes (as opposed to occupational pension schemes), it does not indicate infringements of provisions of Community law such as for instance Directive 2003/41 on the activities and supervision of institutions for occupational retirement provision. Therefore, the case at issue does not fall within the competence of the Commission.

 
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