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C 76/96 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 11. 3.

98

(98/C 76/192) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2334/97


by Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (PPE) to the Commission
(30 June 1997)

Subject: Commission position on joint Spanish-British fisheries undertakings

According to the statements which the British Prime Minister and his Minister for Agriculture made to the British
Parliament and the press on 18 June 1997, following the recent Amsterdam summit, the British Government has
received written support (in the form of a letter) from the President of the Commission for its fisheries policy as
regards the introduction of new conditions governing the operation of joint Spanish-British fisheries
undertakings fishing in Community waters off the United Kingdom.

1. Did the Commission give a written undertaking to support measures put forward unilaterally by the British
Government?

2. What legal and political significance does the Commission place on the above letter?

3. What exactly did the letter say?

4. Did the Commission take the Spanish Government’s opinion into account before forwarding the letter?

5. Did it consult the undertakings concerned before taking such a step?

6. Does it feel that it has fulfilled its duty faithfully to uphold the treaties and the fundamental principles and
freedoms deriving therefrom by intervening in support of a national government proposal concerning a matter on
which the Court of Justice has already handed down several rulings regarding the legality of the activities of such
undertakings (many of which are still waiting for the British authorities to pay them compensation in compliance
with those rulings), which are operating in compliance with the fundamental principles and freedoms of the
single market enshrined in the Treaty?

(98/C 76/193) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2369/97


by Carmen Fraga Estévez (PPE) to the Commission
(1 July 1997)

Subject: Abuse of power by the President of the Commission

On 17 June 1997 the President of the Commission, Mr Santer, wrote to the British Prime Minister, Mr Blair,
placing the services of DG XIV at the disposal of the British Government to assist it in resolving, in a way which
would satisfy its interests, its dispute with other Member States regarding the right to register boats in any EU
Member State, a right which has until now figured among the fundamental principles of the Treaties, which
enshrine the free movement of persons, capital and goods throughout Community territory; the letter also offered
a range of initiatives on ways of restricting the above freedoms to one Member State. In view of the serious
nature of this action by Mr Santer, which may imply that neither the Treaties nor the Community Courts have any
value in the face of a President’s purely personal wishes and friendships, can the Commission offer any
explanation for Mr Santer’s decision and motives, bearing in mind that, in addition to the doubtful legality of the
measures proposed in the letter, this unilateral action seriously harms the democratic image of Community
institutions among the public and strengthens in a most regrettable way the feeling that the increasingly frequent
criticism of the Commission’s ‘democratic deficit’ is far from being unfounded?

(98/C 76/194) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2389/97


by Carmen Fraga Estévez (PPE) to the Commission
(10 July 1997)

Subject: Procedure established by the Commission with regard to quota hopping

It has been known for some time that members of the British government have been holding talks for months
with officials seconded from DG XIV with a view to finding a solution favourable to the British in connection
11. 3. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 76/97

with what they call ‘quota hopping’. Since this issue directly affects the legitimate interests of various Member
States, not only the United Kingdom, can the Commission say whether it considers that the initiation of ‘bilateral’
talks between a directorate-general and only one of the Member States affected by one and the same issue is a
correct way for the Commission to act?

(98/C 76/195) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2390/97

by Carmen Fraga Estévez (PPE) to the Commission

(10 July 1997)

Subject: Content of the Commission’s talks with Great Britain about ‘quota hopping’

Following the talks which members of the British government and officials seconded from DG XIV have been
holding for some time with a view to finding a solution favourable to the British in connection with what they call
‘quota hopping’, and in view of the fact that this issue directly affects the legitimate interests of various Member
States, not only the United Kingdom, can the Commission say what ideas and arguments have been discussed by
both sides in the talks since they began and what conclusions and lines of action the Commission adopted in
them?

(98/C 76/196) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2391/97

by Carmen Fraga Estévez (PPE) to the Commission

(10 July 1997)

Subject: Discrimination by the Commission against various Member States and other Community institutions

DG XIV has been holding talks with the British government, apparently aimed at finding a way out of the ‘quota
hopping’ problem. Since any change in the situation would have significant legal consequences, which would
affect other Member States and other institutions, such as the European Parliament, can the Commission say
whether it does not consider that any talks on an issue which affects more than one Member State and concerns
basic principles of Community law − on which there is a substantial body of Court of Justice case-law − should
have been conducted with all the parties involved and other Community institutions which truly represent the
people, such as the European Parliament, and that the Commission is therefore guilty of serious discrimination
against the other Member States and has treated other democratic institutions with contempt?

(98/C 76/197) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2392/97

by Carmen Fraga Estévez (PPE) to the Commission

(10 July 1997)

Subject: Need for greater transparency in the Commission

DG XIV agreed to hold a series of talks with one of the parties involved in the ‘quota hopping’ affair, which
resulted in the regrettable and amazing letter sent by the President of the Commission, Mr Santer, to the British
Prime Minister on 17 June 1997. All this casts doubt on what the Commission understands to be democratic
procedures. In the interests of the need for transparency in its actions, repeatedly mentioned by the Commission,
in order to counteract the serious damage done to the image of the institutions by the letter, and bearing in mind
that various fishing fleets, sectors, Member States and institutions are involved in this affair, whose opinion the
Commission should have been interested in hearing at first hand, can the Commission state clearly what its
opinion of ‘quota hopping’ is and what steps it intends to take as of now on in connection with this issue?