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C 102/28 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4.

98

(98/C 102/40) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2329/97


by Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (PPE) and Raimo Ilaskivi (PPE) to the Commission
(7 July 1997)

Subject: Hindrances caused to heavy goods traffic by Russian customs

The Russian customs have announced that they will not permit articulated lorries to cross the border between
Finland and Russia if their tractor and trailer are registered in different countries. This new practice by the
Russian customs is arbitrary and does not tie up in any way with the safety regulations for heavy goods traffic
adopted either by the EU or by Russia. The Russian customs are merely trying by means of harassment to create
difficulties for transport, trade and the delivery of goods. The Commission has promised to take action to
influence the activities of the Russian customs. This promise was made in writing in an answer to an earlier
written question by Mr Ilaskivi on the same subject. The present situation shows that the Commission’s action
has had no effect.

That being so, what specific action has the Commission in fact taken to persuade the Russian customs authorities
to improve their practice and what follow-up measures does it propose to take to eliminate the new problems for
heavy goods traffic caused by the current situation on the Finnish-Russian border?

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


(22 September 1997)

The Commission is aware of the various problems and delays which road goods transport faces at border
crossings. Specific attention is paid to the border between the Union and Russia with a view to improve transport
infrastructure and facilitate customs and border control procedures. Preliminary results of actions and
programmes undertaken by the Commission and Russian authorities indicate some positive developments on
waiting times, although the situation is still far from being normal.

The Commission continues therefore to reiterate such concerns related to border crossing obstacles which have
an impact on trade and transport relations with Russia. In a meeting between the President of the Commission
and the Russian Prime Minister on 18 July 1997 in Brussels both sides identified a number of joint initiatives for
the further modernisation of border and transit controls and for increased cooperation in the customs field. The
issue was also discussed with regional representatives in St. Petersburg on 30 August 1997 by the member of the
Commission responsible for external relations with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

The Commission is also informed about various specific problems of road hauliers in bilateral transport between
certain Member States and Russia. The announcement that the Russians will not permit articulated lorries to
cross the border between Finland and Russia, if their tractor and trailer are registered in different countries, is one
of these problems.

The Commission understands that for the present the few Member States most directly concerned are trying to
solve problems on a bilateral basis. Furthermore, in a Resolution of 1994 on road goods transport the members of
the European Conference of ministers of transport (ECMT) already addressed the question of permits in case of
different registration of tractor and trailers. The solution found there (the permit is obtained from the authority in
the country in which the tractor is registered, covering the coupled combination of vehicles even in case of
different registration) may become relevant in this case, with Russia a member of ECMT since July 1997.

(98/C 102/41) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2338/97


by Nuala Ahern (V) to the Council
(18 July 1997)

Subject: Operational problems at La Hague nuclear waste and reprocessing plant

Reports in Le Monde of 17 April 1997 indicate serious operational problems at the La Hague nuclear waste and
reprocessing complex on the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy. Amongst the detailed allegations are radiation
measurements up to 3000 times background close to the liquid discharge pipeline outlet into the sea.