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C 76/82 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 11. 3.

98

(98/C 76/171) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2244/97


by Gerardo Fernández-Albor (PPE) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: EU contribution to the restoration and conservation of cathedrals

Many cathedrals in the Community, which form part of a vast spiritual, cultural and architectural heritage,
require restoration and conservation work, with varying degrees of urgency, to protect them against the effects of
wind and weather which threaten their existence.

Funding for such work is often either clearly insufficient or simply unavailable.

Given that the restoration and conservation of our cathedrals could be a major source of employment and provide
work for people with both professional and manual skills, does the Commission believe that it should concentrate
its action in this field into a specific programme under the ERDF so that, as well as helping to promote economic
activity, it will make a substantial contribution to preserving the richness and uniqueness of the historical and
spiritual legacy represented by cathedrals in the Community?

Answer given by Mr Oreja on behalf of the Commission


(4 September 1997)

The Commission understands and shares the Honourable Member’s concern about the restoration and
preservation of many cathedrals within the Community and it is for this very reason that the theme of its 1995
pilot restoration projects was specifically designed to support the protection and enhancement of religious
monuments.

The Commission agrees with the Honourable Member that the needs in this field are great indeed and also that
any action for the restoration of our historic, religious, cultural and architectural heritage represented in the form
of cathedrals will certainly have positive repercussions in social and economic terms with the provision of extra
employment opportunities for people with either professional or manual skills.

As the Honourable Member is aware, actions in favour of the preservation of cultural heritage are already eligible
under the European regional development fund (ERDF) provided, of course, that they meet its objectives and
eligibility criteria. Furthermore, last year, Article 10 of the ERDF Regulation (EEC) No 4254/88 as amended (1)
provided extra support for projects that aimed to preserve and enhance the Community’s cultural heritage in
general and architectural heritage in particular.

(1) OJ L 193, 31.7.1993.

(98/C 76/172) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2247/97


by Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (PPE) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: Tobacco smoke in the environment

Tobacco smoke in the environment is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, environmental hazard at the
workplace and at home. Tobacco smoke contains nearly fifty carcinogenic substances. There are no threshold
levels for these substances below which no risk of cancer exists.

And yet passive smoking cannot be avoided. If only because of the cost of the health care to which tobacco
smoke gives rise we in the EU have no choice but to take determined action to reduce this nuisance. Although
there are standards regulating smoking in certain Member States, these standards are not sufficiently effective in
limiting passive smoking.

What more effective measures does the Commission propose taking to protect citizens from unintentional
exposure to tobacco smoke at the workplace and in public places? Does the Commission intend to classify
tobacco smoke in the environment as a carcinogenic substance?
11. 3. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 76/83

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(9 September 1997)

Among the priority initiatives in the cancer action plan 1996-2000 (1) is the protection of non-smokers from the
effects of passive smoking. The plan provides for an assessment of the implementation of recommendations on
tobacco consumption in public places, particularly on public transport and in education establishments. The plan
also includes the promotion of strategies aimed at protecting the most vulnerable groups, in particular pregnant
women and children, from the effects of passive smoking. Finally, it is planned to launch a pilot project in the
media aimed at combating passive smoking.

Projects covering these priority actions will receive financial support from the ‘Europe against cancer’
programme.

The Commission has no plans at present to classify tobacco smoke as a carcinogenic agent.

(1) Decision No 646/96 EEC of the Parliament and of the Council of 29.3.1996 − OJ L 95, 16.4.1996.

(98/C 76/173) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2253/97


by Amedeo Amadeo (NI) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: SMU and craft industries

With reference to the question of craft industries and SMU (Doc. CES 328/97), the results of the European
conference of craft industries in Berlin (26 and 27 September 1994) and the fora of small and medium-sized
undertakings in Paris (19 and 20 June 1995) and Madrid (16 and 17 November 1995) should be given close
scrutiny by the Committee. The Commission has also drawn up a new action programme for SMU, submitted to
the Madrid European Council in December 1995, which asked it to continue its work in this field.

Will the Commission make special efforts to simplify the administrative formalities under this programme?

Answer given by Mr Papoutsis on behalf of the Commission


(4 September 1997)

Following on from the various reports mentioned by the Honourable Member, there was widespread political
consensus that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a crucial role to play in creating growth and
employment opportunities in the Community. Subsequently, following on from the Madrid European Council
SME policy paper (1) the Commission announced its proposals for a third multiannual programme for SMEs in
the European Union from 1997 to 2000 (2). This multiannual programme, adopted by the Council on 9 December
1996 (3), provides the legal and budgetary basis for the Commission's specific SME policy actions. It fits within
the framework of the wider integrated programme for SMEs (4) which aims at better co-ordination of all
measures which impact on SMEs and more effective co-ordination of the various contributions which are made
at European level in favour of SMEs, as well as the improved co-ordination of Member States' actions affecting
SMEs.

One of the priority objectives of the Community's enterprise policy, set out in the multiannual programme, is the
continuing commitment towards improving and simplifying the business environment. The total annual cost of
administrative burdens on all enterprises in Europe has been estimated at between 150 000 to 250 000 MECU.
The Commission therefore remains committed towards improving its own contribution towards reducing red
tape and improving Community legislation which may impact on enterprises, in particular on SMEs.
Commission action in particular to address this problem will involve more rigorous assessment of the impact on
business of European legislation, including the greater involvement of SMEs at the drafting stage of legislative
proposals, more use of cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analysis as appropriate,- continuation of the work of the
group on improving and simplifying the business environment to promote the exchange of best practice in
relation to administrative and regulatory simplification both within the Community and in Member States and
greater co-ordination of Community actions to allow SMEs to participate fully in programmes targeted at them
e.g. in respect of Community research and technological development (RTD).