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17. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/147

By letter of 23 May 1997, the Director-General of DG VII, Mr Coleman, writing on behalf of the Commission,
informed Italy’s Permanent Representative to the European Communities that, following an initial consideration
of the draft law, further information was required.

According to the Commission, this information was needed in order to clarify the content of some of the law’s
provisions and to obtain further details on the government’s thinking from the point of view of Community
interest. Given that the full liberalization of quota restrictions is due to be introduced in little more than one year
from now and that the Italian road transport sector therefore needs a legal framework that will allow restructuring
to be completed before that date, will the Commission say:

1. What progress has been made with the monitoring procedure and when will it adopt a final position on the

2. What additional information has been supplied by the Italian authorities at this stage in the procedure and is
this information sufficient to indicate that the provisions laid down in the draft law comply with existing
Community rules and the provisions of the Treaty?

(1) OJ L 130, 15.6.1970, p. 1.

(2) OJ L 84, 26.3.1997, p. 6.

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(19 September 1997)

The draft law mentioned by the Honourable Member was notified to the Commission on 24 April 1997. In view
of the diversity of the measures proposed and the very general terms of the draft law, the Commission requested
additional information in order to be able to consider the compatibility of this aid scheme with Community law.
At the request of the Italian authorities, a meeting with the Commission took place on 11 July 1997. This meeting
contributed to clarifying not only the aims pursued by the Italian authorities but also various other aspects of the
measure. The Italian authorities declared that an amended version of the draft law clarifying certain aspects
would be sent to the Commission in the near future.

The Commission is aware of the importance of this dossier in relation to the liberalization of road transport.
Naturally, as soon as the Commission receives the answer to its request for additional information and, as agreed,
the revised draft law, it will give its opinion at the earliest opportunity.

(98/C 82/236) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2838/97

by Kyösti Virrankoski (ELDR) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Preparations for the Natura 2000 programme planning in Finland

The proposal concerning the Natura 2000 programme in Finland is currently being drafted. However, there have
been severe shortcomings in the preparations.

It has emerged that underhand moves have been on foot to turn private land into protected areas, without any
form of consultation or discussion with the landowners or local authority representatives. The municipalities and
landowners did not learn of the plans until they were published and forwarded to be dealt with by the latter. The
procedure is totally contrary to, among other things, Finnish planning legislation, which lays down a requirement
of continuous communication with both landowners and the municipality responsible for the land use plan while
planning is in preparation.

Worst of all, the environmental authorities have refused to enter into any cooperation or communication
whatsoever with municipalities and landowners. When an information meeting on the Natura 2000 programme
was being organized in the municipality of Karvia, for example, the environmental officials did not even bother
to answer the written invitation from the municipality.
C 82/148 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3. 98

Landowners were alarmed when they were refused an interview with the authorities to plead their case. In an
attempt to make some sort of contact with the authorities, four people in Karvia have started a hunger strike,
which at the time of drafting of this question has already lasted five days but so far failed to achieve the desired

In the light of the foregoing:

1. Will the Commission give consideration to Finland’s Natura 2000 programme regardless of the legality or
otherwise of the preparations?

2. Does the Commission think it admissible for civil rights to be trodden underfoot in Finland while the
Natura 2000 programme is being prepared?

3. What steps will the Commission take to ensure that the preparatory work performed by the Finnish
environmental authorities conforms to the principles underlying the rule of law?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(12 September 1997)

Council Directive 92/43/EC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and
flora (1) provides for the creation of a European ecological network of special areas of conservation, to be known
as Natura 2000.

To this end, the Directive stipulates that the Member States must propose a list of sites on the basis of the criteria
set out in Annex III to the Directive and relevant scientific information. In the initial stage this list is transmitted
to the Commission.

Responsibility for this first stage lies entirely with the Member States, which must ensure that it is conducted in
accordance with the specific basic rights of their citizens. The Commission, questioned by the Member States in
the Directive's management committee, has already indicated on a number of occasions that by virtue of
subsidiarity this is a national exercise.

Nonetheless, the Commission also indicated that it felt that the provision by the Member States of proper
information to the public during the selection process could play an important part in ensuring the latter's active
and effective participation in protecting nature.

In the subsequent stages the Commission will see that the Directive is implemented in full compliance with
Community law. Once again, it will fall to the Member States to ensure compliance with the basic rights of their
citizens in those areas for which the Directive makes them responsible.

(1) OJ L 206, 21.5.1992.

(98/C 82/237) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2861/97

by Arlene McCarthy (PSE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Inquiry into anti-dumping duties on exports of unbleached cotton from India, Pakistan, Indonesia,
Turkey, China and Egypt

With regard to the new inquiry into anti-dumping duties on exports of unbleached cotton from India, Pakistan,
Indonesia, Turkey, China and Egypt, would the Commission please clarify the role that the Community Interest
investigation will play in this third complaint, in the light of the fact that the results of the same procedure were
given little consideration during the previous case earlier this year?

For the benefit of the many interested parties devoting considerable time and resources to preventing the
imposition of these duties, the inevitable consequences of which would be redundancies and factory closures
across the European textiles finishing industry and wholesale sector, would the Commission please clarify
whether the inquiry is indeed legal and will therefore continue, given that no official notice was published to
formally close the previous investigation, which expired in May?