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C 102/152 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4.

98

(98/C 102/227) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2940/97


by Georges Berthu (I-EDN) to the Commission
(17 September 1997)

Subject: Statement by Mr Michel Rocard

In an article in Le Monde newspaper on 14 August 1997, Mr Michel Rocard, referring to his efforts to secure the
setting up of a voluntary international peacekeeping force between the armed factions in Congo, concluded with
the following words: ‘The European Commission, replying to my inquiries, says that it still has some ‘external
and security policy’ appropriations at its disposal. The plan can go ahead.’

Can the Commission explain what procedure this initiative comes under?

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission


(10 October 1997)

The Commission was indeed questioned by Mr Rocard, Chairman of the Committee on Cooperation and
Development, about the situation regarding appropriations under the budget heading ‘common foreign and
security policy’ (CFSP). It provided the information requested according to its usual practice and in line with the
principle of transparent management of budget resources.

(98/C 102/228) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2944/97


by Graham Watson (ELDR) to the Commission
(17 September 1997)

Subject: International criminal court

In view of the existing limitations of the International Court of Justice, what is the Commission’s position on the
current negotiations to create an International Criminal Court which would be empowered to prosecute any
individual for genocide, aggression, war crimes and other crimes against humanity, without any veto by national
governments?

Does the Commission support giving individuals and citizen’s groups, as well as national governments and the
Court’s prosecutor, the right to bring cases before the court?

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


(8 October 1997)

The Commission is convinced of the need for an international criminal court because events of recent years have
shown the urgent need to set up a permanent institution which, by its very existence, may play a considerable part
in preventing serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights, and act as an important
means of preventing culprits from going unpunished.

The Commission is not involved in the current negotiations on the creation of the International Criminal Court
and does not consider it expedient to make any statement at this stage on the powers of that body.

(98/C 102/229) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2953/97


by Angela Sierra González (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(10 September 1997)

Subject: Protection of the Montaña Tindaya and its surroundings (Canary Islands)

On the island of Fuerteventura (Canary Islands) there is a mountain known as Montaña Tindaya. It is of major
cultural, ethnographic, archaeological, natural and geological interest and has been declared a ‘national
3. 4. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/153

monument’ under the laws on protected areas in the Canary Islands, an ‘artefact of cultural interest’ under the law
on Spain’s historical heritage (since it is the site of pre-hispanic engravings of major importance) and a ‘place of
geological interest’ by the Spanish Technological Mining Institute.

Furthermore, the mountain hosts a population of the species caralluma burchardii, a plant endemic to the Canary
Islands and found on the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, and one which is included in Annex II to
Council Directive 92/43/EEC (1), the ‘Habitat’ directive.

According to a recent report by the head of the Department of Plant Biology within La Laguna University’s
Faculty of Pharmacy, Mrs Esperanza Beltrán Tejera, a population of the species in question is located on
Montaña Tindaya within an area described as being of ‘major value in terms of landscape and the presence of
endemic plants’, and also as being extremely vulnerable. The report recommends ‘total conservation and future
rehabilitation not just of this species but also of the entire range of natural vegetation, which is currently in a
severely damaged state’ − referring to Montaña Tindaya.

However, mining activity is currently going on in the area and the Canary Islands Government has commissioned
the sculptor Eduardo Chillida to erect a sculpture inside the mountain after having first excavated it in order to
create an internal cube measuring 50 × 50 × 50 metres. Such activities are in direct conflict with the Tindaya
conservation objectives and, according to ecologists and law experts, are clearly illegal and will damage the
mountain and all it represents.

Is the Commission aware of these facts, and is it willing to take an interest in the above-mentioned report
published by La Laguna University?

Does the Commission consider the conservation of Montaña Tindaya, and in particular the caralluma burchardii
population, to be compatible with the mining activities and the erection of a sculpture which will inevitably
involve further extraction work, soil removal, tunnelling and intense human pressure on the area, etc.?

Does the Commission consider the above-mentioned threats to the mountain and the existing mining activity to
be compatible with Article 6 of Directive 92/43/EEC?

What action is the Commission planning to take to prevent further damage to Montaña Tindaya and its
surroundings?

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

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission


(6 October 1997)

The Commission was recently informed of these matters by a non-governmental organisation on the Canary
Islands.

The NGO's communication included a report by La Laguna University showing that 29 populations of Caralluna
burchardii have been recorded on the Islands, representing an estimated total of 800 plants. The Montaña
Tindaya population numbers 50.

To date, Spain has not proposed the Montaña Tindaya site for the future Natura 2000 network. The
biogeographical seminar on Macaronesia considered Caralluna burchardii to be under-represented. Spain was
therefore invited to propose new sites to ensure a favourable conservation status for the species.

To date, Article 6 of Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora does
not apply to the Montaña Tindaya site. The said site has not been included on the Community list for Natura
2000, nor is it an exceptional case of a site hosting a priority species for which the Commission should initiate a
consultation procedure with Spain in accordance with Article 5 of the Directive.

It therefore falls to the Spanish authorities to conserve Montaña Tindaya and its natural, cultural and geological
assets.