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25. 2.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 60/111

It should be noted that budget line B7-705 is used to support individual projects, which undoubtedly serves to
increase the number of projects supported, and maximizes the number of participating organizations, but which
also causes a degree of frustration for non-governmental organizations, since this rule means that they are unable
to pursue their activities on a long-term basis.

Can the Commission envisage earmarking a substantial portion of the MEDA budget for organizations with a
good track record and sound knowledge of the field?

Answer given by Mr Marı́n on behalf of the Commission

(29 July 1997)

In 1996 62 projects received Community funding under the MEDA-Democracy programme. The countries
concerned were Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Israel (in
particular relations between them), Cyprus and Turkey. With so many countries involved, the projects funded
under the programme are bound to be diverse.

Priority should indeed go to projects presented by bodies with a proven track record in promoting democracy and
human rights in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. It therefore makes sense for a body to continue
receiving Community funding as long as evaluation of the projects warrants it.

On the other hand, budget article B7-705 is also intended to encourage as many organisations as possible to take
part, so helping develop civil society in the Mediterranean non-member countries.

When executing the MEDA programme, the Commission tries to maintain a balance between these two

(98/C 60/192) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2222/97

by Cristiana Muscardini (NI) to the Commission
(30 June 1997)

Subject: Countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the CAP

The countries of Central and Eastern Europe that hope to become members of the European Union represent an
agricultural area of 60 million hectares and a population of 105 million. Agriculture in those countries is
generally characterized by low productivity and low prices.

In preparation for opening negotiations with these 11 countries,

1. Has the Commission assessed the impact that accession could have on the Community agricultural sector
and in particular on the 1992 reform?
2. Has it considered which new policies should be implemented to harmonize prices between the countries of
Central and Eastern Europe and the Union in order to prevent crises in the market and indefensible price
3. Has it examined in detail the need to provide for a transitional period, especially prior to accession, in order
to prevent harmful imbalances in the CAP?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(28 July 1997)

1. Assessment of the impact of accession of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC) to the Union
has been considered an important matter by the Commission since the Copenhagen European Council in June
1993 declared in favour of their possible accession.
C 60/112 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 25. 2. 98

In particular the Commission has promoted analytical work on and establishment of statistical collection for the
agriculture of these countries. These efforts led to publication of monographs on the agriculture of the ten CEECs
and of a composite report in July 1995. Updated versions of the reports will be published before the end of the

2. In December 1995 the Commission presented to the Madrid European Council a document on possible
strategies for developing agricultural relations between the Union and the associated countries with a view to
their future accession, known as the ‘agricultural strategy document’ (1). This sets out the guidelines to be
followed. Pursuit of the approach adopted in 1992 will raise the competitiveness of European agriculture while
articulating it with development of an integrated rural policy.

3. The European Council of December 1995 also asked the Commission to prepare
− opinions on the CEEC accession applications
− an analysis of the impact of enlargement on Community policies, particularly the agricultural and structural
− a document setting out proposals for facilitating accession of these countries.

The Commission indicated several months ago that Agenda 2000 would deal with all of these matters.

It is within this framework that questions of pre-accession adjustment by the CEECs and post-accession
transitional provisions will be examined by the Commission and the Council.

(1) CSE/95/607, 29.11.1995.

(98/C 60/193) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2225/97

by Patricia McKenna (V) to the Commission
(19 June 1997)

Subject: Radioactive contamination of lobsters caused by the Sellafield nuclear plant

Data from routine monitoring by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd, the company which runs Sellafield, has shown that in
October 1996 a level of 36,000 Bq/kg (Becquerels per kilogram) of Technetium-99 was found in lobsters off the
West Cumbrian Coast.

This level is over twice the level of contamination (17,000 Bq/kg) detected by Britain’s Ministry for Agriculture,
Fisheries and Food (MAFF) and due to be published in its annual monitoring report for 1996. According to
research, technetium-99 levels in West Cumbrian lobster have more than doubled each year since 1992.

EU standards dictate that foodstuffs with a concentration above 1250 Bq/kg should not be sold to consumers.
What action therefore will the Commission be taking as a result of the latest revelations of the radioactive
pollution caused by Sellafield?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(31 July 1997)

Council Regulation 3954/87/Euratom (1) sets out predetermined maximum permitted levels of radioactive
contamination of foodstuffs and feedingstuffs for various groups of radionuclides following a nuclear accident or
in any other case of a radiological emergency. The Commission is empowered to bring these levels into force as a
precaution, where appropriate and pending further review of the situation. That review will allow the individual
nuclides and the extent of dietary contamination to be taken into account in an evaluation of potential public
exposure. The current technetium-99 discharges from Sellafield do not constitute an emergency situation and
hence the Regulation does not apply.