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11. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 76/71

(98/C 76/157) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2053/97

by Luis Campoy Zueco (PPE) to the Commission
(9 June 1997)

Subject: Cohesion Fund activities in Navarre

Can the Commission specify what co-financing investments were made by the Cohesion Fund in the Community
of Navarre in 1995 and 1996?

Answer given by Mrs Wulf- Mathies on behalf of the Commission

(4 July 1997)

The Commission does not have any specifically regional data regarding the Cohesion Fund.

It draws the attention of the Honourable Member to the fact that the annual report on the activities of the Fund in
1995 (1) contains in Annex I the main points of the environmental and transport projects part-financed in Spain,
including those part-financed in Navarre.

With regard to 1996, the Commission is sending directly to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s
Secretariat the main points of the projects adopted.

(1) Doc. COM(96) 388.

(98/C 76/158) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2059/97

by Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (PPE) to the Commission
(16 June 1997)

Subject: SMEs and the 5th Framework Programme

Small and medium-sized enterprises account for 66% of employment in the EU. They have a very important role
to play particularly in terms of innovation and research. In the European Parliament’s Committee on Research,
Technological Development and Energy we have discussed the position of SMEs particularly in connection with
the EU’s 5th framework programme on research, technological development and demonstration.

Because the term ‘small and medium-sized enterprises’ has not been sufficiently clearly defined, it also remains
unclear in what capacity they can participate in the 5th Framework Programme. I should like to ask the
Commission how it defines SMEs and how it intends to take account of these firms in the implementation of the
5th Framework Programme.

Answer given by Mr Papoutsis on behalf of the Commission

(31 July 1997)

On 3 April 1996, the Commission adopted a Recommendation concerning the definition of small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (1). Thanks to this Recommendation, clear and precise rules now exist for
defining SMEs, small enterprises and micro-enterprises in both Community programmes and instruments and
those of Member States. In adopting this definition, the Commission sought in particular to introduce greater
clarity, coherence and visibility into Community programmes which previously had often used different
definitions of SMEs.

In order to qualify as an SME, an enterprise must, under this Recommendation, meet a workforce-size criterion
(fewer than 250 employees), a financial criterion (turnover less than ECU 40 million or an annual balance-sheet
total of less than ECU 27 million) and an independence criterion (i.e. the enterprises must not be owned as to
25 % or more of the capital or the voting rights by one or several enterprises which are not SMEs themselves.

Lower thresholds apply in the definitions of small enterprises and of micro-enterprises.

C 76/72 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 11. 3. 98

The Recommendation cited above provides for a transitional period for the Community programmes which
defined SMEs according to different criteria. At the end of this period, 31 December 1997 at the latest, all
Community programmes will, in principle, have to apply the definition of SMEs contained in the

As far as the involvement of these enterprises in the implementation of the fifth framework programme is
concerned, the objectives of Community action were defined in the Proposal for a Council Decision concerning
the fifth framework programme for research, technological development and demonstration activities
(1998-2002), adopted by the Commission on 30 April 1997 (2). These objectives are to stimulate the participation
of SMEs in the research programmes, to help them enhance their technological capabilities and to facilitate the
access of SMEs taking part in research programmes to instruments which finance innovation and support the
creation of innovative enterprises. These objectives will have to be achieved in the dual framework of the various
Community research actions and actions devoted specifically to innovation and SMEs.

(1) OJ L 107, 30.4.1996.

(2) OJ C 173, 7.6.1997.

(98/C 76/159) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2065/97

by Salvatore Tatarella (NI) to the Commission
(16 June 1997)

Subject: Request for renegotiation of the Interreg II agreement between Italy and Greece

− In the answer it gave on 9 June 1995 to Written Question E-1008/95 of 6 April 1995 (1), the Commission
undertook to ensure ‘that a proper balance (would be) struck between the various measures envisaged’ under
Interreg II.

− As a result of the bilateral negotiations between Italy (Apulia region) and Greece, any form of EAGGF
assistance has apparently been ruled out, entailing severe disadvantages for the agricultural sector and
flower-growing in particular.

− The cross-border cooperation project submitted by nursery enterprises from Bari and Lecce provinces aims
to satisfy every requirement laid down in the reform of the CAP, not least with a view to bringing domestic
and international agricultural commodity markets into a better balance, improving production, and boosting
the processing industry.

Does the Commission not therefore believe that:

1. the negotiations should be reconsidered in order to make for a fairer share-out of resources by accepting the
Italian requests to promote cooperation in the agricultural and in particular the floricultural sector;
2. it should refuse to endorse the negotiations unless further discussions are held along the lines specified

(1) OJ C 222, 28.8.1995, p. 30.

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission

(24 July 1997)

As mentioned in the Commission’s answer to the Honourable Member’s written question E-1008/95 (1), it is for
the Member States, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, to propose the priorities and measures to be
included in programmes.

In their latest proposal for the Interreg Greece/Italy programme, received by the Commission on 20 May 1997,
the national authorities concerned have decided not to include measures cofinanced by the European agricultural
guidance and guarantee fund (EAGGF). This latest proposal follows a series of discussions between those