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C 102/50 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4.


− Secondly, the breakdown in the allocation represents a clear departure from the practice in previous
− Holding back 30% of the grant until a period long after the end of the programme’s financial year (30 June
1998) forces universities to engage in prefinancing into a third financial year. Since the final report will not
be drawn up until 15 November 1998, the remaining funds are unlikely to be allocated before early 1999.
However, the internal administrative expenditure on prefinancing the remaining appropriations will be out
of all proportion to the size of the total sum. This is, in fact, an unnecessary and additional burden on the
administrative bodies which already have far too much to do (offices in other countries, Socrates
coordinators etc.), particularly as − thanks to the planned reduction − the Youth Technical Assistance Office
in Brussels will scarcely be in a position to evaluate the final reports within an appropriate period of time and
arrange for the final payments to be made.
1. Why does the new Socrates programme differ from its predecessors in terms of details of how aid is granted
and the breakdown of money allocated?
2. Is the Commission aware of the serious disadvantages this will cause universities and the relevant
administrative bodies and, if so, how does it intend to reduce this additional bureaucracy?

Answer given by Ms Cresson on behalf of the Commission

(28 October 1997)

In order to meet the needs of universities wishing to have available the major part of their funding under action 1
of the Socrates programme from the beginning of the period for which the grant may be used, the Commission
has modified the conditions for payment to be set out in the institutional contract. Grants of ECU 20 000 or less
will be paid in a single, 100% instalment, and those of ECU 20 000 or more will be provided in two instalments,
the first consisting of 90% upon the signing of the contract by the parties, and the second of 10% when the final
report has been approved.

(98/C 102/71) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2501/97

by Anita Pollack (PSE) to the Commission
(18 July 1997)

Subject: CITES − Ivory

Given Parliament’s resolution B4-0473/97 of 12 June 1997, which ‘urged the parties not to accept any proposals
from Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to downlist the African elephant’, and the desired position of several
Member States to vote against this downlisting, the Commission’s position affected the final outcome of the
parties to the CITES convention.

In the interests of transparency will the Commission publish the specific proposals it made in Harare on the
elephant issue, and will the Commission undertake in future to communicate its proposals for a common position
of the Member States to Parliament well in advance?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(26 September 1997)

The proposals concerning the transfer of the elephant populations of Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe were
adopted by a far greater number of parties than the required two-thirds majority. The Commission's position to
support a compromise with firm conditions and the subsequent Community position to abstain did not affect the
final outcome of the meeting. The Commission and the Community did, however, contribute throughout the
meeting to the positive results that were achieved.
3. 4. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/51

The Commission is ready, in conformity with the code of conduct with the Parliament to inform fully the relevant
committee on these negotiations and to explain the positions taken. This will be the occasion for the Parliament to
see that there was no discrepancy between its position on elephants as laid down in its Resolution 94-0473/97 of
12 June 1997 and that of the Commission.

As demonstrated on the occasion of the Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna
and flora (CITES) meeting, the Commission is in principle ready to take the Parliament's views into account
when formulating common position proposals. Similarly, the Commission − together with the Presidency − has
a regular exchange of information with representatives of the Community's non-governmental organizations
during CITES meetings. As for the future communication to Parliament of proposals for Community positions
well in advance of CITES meetings, the Commission will continue to conform with the provisions of the
aforementioned code de conduct.

(98/C 102/72) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2506/97

by Laura González Álvarez (GUE/NGL), Alonso Puerta (GUE/NGL),
Pedro Marset Campos (GUE/NGL) and Marı́a Sornosa Martı́nez (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(18 July 1997)

Subject: Environmental damage in the Picos de Europa national park (Spain)

The Picos de Europa national park is an ecosystem unique in Europe, a natural asset sheltering a number of
endangered species and, in its woods, one of the last remaining brown bear populations in Europe.

This ecologically priceless enclave is now threatened by the construction of three roads, two cable railways and
two small hydro power stations. These projects are examples of the grave situation of deterioration and exposure
which is currently confronting the landscape, fauna and flora of the Picos de Europa national park.

1. Is the Commission aware of these environmental threats to the Picos de Europa?

2. Can the Commission state whether these projects are receiving EU structural funding?

3. What action can the Commission take to ensure that the Spanish authorities implement Community
environment law, and, in particular, the following directives:
(a) Directive 85/337/EEC (1) on the assessment of the effects of certain private and public projects on the
(b) Directive 92/43/EEC (2) on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora?

4. In view of the special protected status of the Picos de Europa national park, can the Commission state
whether it has been included on the list of Community areas of outstanding natural beauty which, under the
‘Habitats’ directive (92/43/EEC), are in the near future to form the ‘Nature 2000’ network?

Can the Commission forward all information it obtains on the matter from the Spanish authorities?

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40.

(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(13 October 1997)

1. The Commission has no knowledge of the projects referred to by the Honourable Members.

2. The Community is making no financial contribution to the projects referred to by the Honourable Members.

3. The Commission always endeavours to ensure compliance with Community legislation, as one of the tasks
conferred on it by Article 155 of the EC Treaty. Amongst the panoply of instruments at its disposal in order to
perform this task, it uses the procedure provided for by Article 169 of the EC Treaty whenever appropriate.