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C 82/108 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3.

98

Can the Commission give details of the amount given in each payment and the purposes for which the payments
are supposed to be used by the company running Sellafield, British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL)?

Answer given by Mr de Silguy on behalf of the Commission


(15 September 1997)

Euratom extended a loan to British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. A loan agreement for an amount of USD 142 million (then
countervalue of GBP 100 million) was concluded on 11-17 December 1986 to finance partially the construction
of a thermal oxide reprocessing plan at Sellafield, Cumbria, in supporting the THORP fuel receipt and storage
facility in 1987 (the technical description is sent direct to the Honourable Member and to the Parliament’s
secretariat). The loan was guaranteed by the British government. The total costs of this construction were
estimated to amount to GBP 1 550 million, of which EURATOM financed GBP 100 million. The loan was
disbursed on 15 January 1987 and repaid in one amount in full on 15 January 1997. Nothing is outstanding from
this loan and there are currently no applications for a new loan from Euratom.

(98/C 82/178) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2562/97


by Patricia McKenna (V) to the Commission
(24 July 1997)

Subject: Discrimination against non-British residents by Eurostar

A constituent of mine, who travels regularly on the Eurostar train from London to Brussels, recently wrote to
Eurostar concerning the benefits offered by its ‘frequent traveller’ programme. He was told that the benefits can
only be claimed by residents in Britain, who are on the British electoral role. Because he is an Irish resident, the
benefits were therefore not open to him.

Is the Commission aware of this discrimination against non-British residents? Because the principle of
non-discrimination is central EU policy, will it contact Eurostar and the British authorities urging that this
negative discrimination ceases?

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission


(3 October 1997)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to the reply it gave to Oral Question H-566/97 by
Mrs Banotti during question time at Parliament’s July 1997 part-session (1).

(1) Debates of the Parliament (July 1997).

(98/C 82/179) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2570/97


by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission
(24 July 1997)

Subject: Persecution in a Member State

What minimum standards of democracy have to be in place in order to ensure that persecution could not take
place in an EU Member State?
17. 3. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/109

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(10 September 1997)

The Member States ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms through effective control systems
implemented at national and international level, including the European Convention on Human Rights which
they all signed and ratified some time ago.

(98/C 82/180) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2573/97


by Bill Miller (PSE) to the Commission
(15 July 1997)

Subject: Enlargement of the Union

Does the Commission agree that the lack of institutional reform achieved in the Amsterdam Treaty will delay the
enlargement of the Union?

Answer given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission


(10 September 1997)

The conclusion of the intergovernmental conference in June, which resulted in the Amsterdam Treaty, opened
the way for the launching of the enlargement process (conclusions of the presidency of the Amsterdam European
Council).

In accordance with the protocol on the institutions attached to the treaty, before any enlargement the re-weighting
of votes must accompany the reduction of the number of commissioners to one for each Member State. Further
substantial reform of the institutions must precede an enlargement comprising more than five new Member
States through triggering a new intergovernmental conference.

The Commission proposed in its ‘Agenda 2000’ to open enlargement negotiations with six candidate Member
States and to convene, as soon as possible after the year 2000, a new intergovernmental conference to carry out
the institutional reforms which are needed before actual enlargement.

It follows from the above that the task of accomplishing the necessary institutional reforms complicates the
enlargement process, but does not necessarily delay it.

(98/C 82/181) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2575/97


by Nikitas Kaklamanis (UPE) to the Commission
(24 July 1997)

Subject: Staff and Work of the European Environment Agency (EEA)

The nature and the activities of the EEA are very specifically defined, and its duties are purely consultative, as the
leaflet ‘Putting Information to Work’ published by the organisation in 1995 shows. Despite this, there has been a
significant increase in the number of staff employed there, and its budget estimates for 1997 and 1998 seem to be
high.

Will the Commission − which supervises this service − state why the EEA called for an increase in its staff
complement in 1997, and can it give a breakdown of staff by nationality and specify the exact nature of the
scientific work it is supposed to carry out?