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3. 4.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/107

Answer given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission

(8 October 1997)

The Commission extends its deepest sympathy to the victims of the floods caused by torrential rain in the
commune of Estaimpuis. The Commission is aware of the losses sustained by the people in this area.

It has to inform the Honourable Member that, under the 1997 budget, heading B4-3400 (Emergency aid to
disaster victims) has not been allocated any funds which can be used for immediate action.

The Commission would also remind the Honourable Member that it has published in the Official Journal a call
for proposals for pilot projects in the field of environmental protection of areas prone to flash floods (1). The pilot
projects are intended to stimulate cooperation between the Member States in the collection, coordination and
consolidation of the best existing knowledge in Europe with regard to the management and protection of the
environment in areas prone to flash floods.

As regards longer-term flood prevention through land management, the Commission would draw the
Honourable Member's attention to Interreg II C (1997-99), a Community initiative for which Hainaut province is

(1) OJ C 185, 18.6.1997.

(98/C 102/154) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2737/97

by Gianni Tamino (V) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Incompatibility of Veneto regional law No 15 of 22 May 1997 with Community legislation

Regional law No 15 of 22 May 1997 on the breeding for exhibition or as pets of species of birds other than game
birds born in captivity was published in official bulletin No 43 of the Veneto region, Italy, on 27 May 1997.

Does this law comply with European directives on the protection of wild birds and game birds?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(10 October 1997)

The Commission has obtained and is examining the law cited by the Honourable Member, and will not hesitate to
initiate the procedure provided in Article 169 EC Treaty should this prove necessary.

(98/C 102/155) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2742/97

by Patricia McKenna (V) to the Council
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Refugees fleeing from Burma to Bangladesh

An estimated 25 000 asylum-seekers have fled from Burma to Bangladesh over the past few months to escape
forced labour, human rights abuses and imposed hardship.

Bangladesh has so far refused to allow the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to interview these
C 102/108 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4. 98

Some of the refugees have been forcibly repatriated. On 20 July 1997, for example, a group of Burmese Muslims,
known as Rohingyas, were sent back to Burma by Bangladeshi security forces.

Has the Council made any representations to the Bangladeshi authorities to urge that UNHCR representatives be
allowed interview these refugees and set up programmes to benefit them? If not, will it make such

Has it contacted the Bangladeshi authorities to seek that they fulfil their responsibilities under the Geneva
Convention and other international agreements not to forcibly repatriate those seeking to escape persecution? If
not, will it do so?

(21 November 1997)

1. The Council is aware of the dramatic situation of the Burmese refugees in Bangladesh.

Numerous approaches have been made in the past to the Bangladeshi and UNHCR authorities to ensure that there
is adequate access to UN organizations operating locally and to prevent people being sent back wrongly.

It should be noted that Bangladesh has not ratified the Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees.

2. In view of the recent deterioration in the situation on the Burmese-Bangladeshi frontier, the European
Union is prepared to take the measures that are necessary, in particular démarches in Dacca and contacts with the

This matter is currently the subject of internal concertation in the Council.

(98/C 102/156) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2746/97

by Patricia McKenna (V) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Independent assessments of projects in which assistance from the Cohesion Funds was sought

Can the Commission list projects throughout the EU where it sought an independent assessment of their merits
before deciding whether or not they should be granted the assistance under the cohesion Funds which the
relevant authorities had applied for?

In each case, can the Commission state on what grounds it sought such independent assessment?

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission

(25 September 1997)

In accordance with Council Regulation (EC) No 1164/94 establishing the Cohesion fund (1), the Commission
takes full responsibility for the evaluation of projects submitted for assistance.

The Commission does not keep a systematic record of the cases where, in considering Member State requests for
assistance from the Cohesion fund, it seeks an independent assessment of the project concerned.

Expert advice is almost routinely commissioned in those cases where the Commission has doubts on the
technical solutions proposed by the Member States, where the application proposes advanced technical solutions
and, in particular, when the Commission has doubts with respect to the environmental impact or in relation to the
proposed compensating and corrective measures.

(1) OJ L 130, 25.5.1994.