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Parliamentary questions
11 December 2006
Answer given by Ms Hübner on behalf of the Commission

1. The Commission has not been informed by the Greek Government of plans to develop a container terminal at the port of Timbaki on Crete.

2., 3. & 4. The Commission does not have any information on the container terminal project itself nor is the co-financing of such a project foreseen in the context of the current 3rd Community support framework. In the absence of detailed studies the Commission is not in a position to assess the impact of the project either on the local economy including the agricultural sector and agritourism or on transport flows between Greek ports and more generally between European ports.

According to Management Information System (MIS) data, during the current programming period, the public expenditure of contracted projects co-funded by the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) in the Municipality of Timbaki amounts to EUR 38 064 066, of which EUR 295 998 relates to Leader+, EUR 5 025 928 to the National Operational Programme and EUR 32 742 140 to the Regional Operational Programme Crete.

5. Although the precise location of the project itself is not known to the Commission, it should be noted that Timbaki is located in the vicinity of the site ‘Ekvoli Geropotamou Messaras’ (GR4310012) classified by Greece as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive(1). Two other overlapping Natura 2000 sites are located in the neighbouring area, namely the site ‘Dytika Asterousia’ (GR4310007) classified as an SPA covering an area of 3 403 hectares (ha) and ‘Dytika Asterousia (apo Agiofaraggo os Kokkino Pyrgo)’ (GR 4310004) covering an area of 2 922.24 ha designated as a site of Community importance (SCI) under the Habitats Directive(2). Any development project therefore, within the sites or at the vicinity of the sites that may significantly affect them, should be closely examined by the Greek authorities and an assessment of the potential negative effects to the sites should be carried out, according to the requirements set out in Article 6 of the Habitats Directive and Articles 3 and 4 of the Birds Directive.

If in the future, the Greek authorities envisage requesting the co-financing of the port of Timbaki project by the Structural Funds, it would be necessary to complete a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in order to be able to demonstrate, before the adoption of the relevant Operational Programme, that they have met the requirements of the SEA Directive(3). In addition, as such a project would presumably qualify as a major project in the sense of Articles 39‑41 of Council Regulation 1083/2006 of 11 July 2006 laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund and repealing Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999(4), the Commission would need to receive a complete application file, including information on the application of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (Council Directive 85/337/EEC(5) as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC(6)), and the Special Environmental Impact Assessment when required under Article 6(3) of the Habitats Directive, the financial and socioeconomic cost-benefit analysis and any information as specified in Article 40 of Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999(7).

(1)Council Directive 79/409/EC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds, OJ L 103, 25.4.1979.
(2)Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora, OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.
(3)Council Directive 2001/42/CE of 27 June 2001. This Directive applies to programmes and not to individual projects.
(4)OJ L 210, 31.7.2006.
(5)OJ L 175 of 5.7.1985.
(6)OJ L 73 of 14.31997.
(7)Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds, OJ L 161, 26.6.1999.

OJ C 291, 13/11/2008
Last updated: 17 January 2007Legal notice