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C 134/104 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 30. 4.

98

Budgetary flows do not capture all the benefits from membership of the Community. Community membership,
which gives rise to financial and non-financial advantages as well as obligations, has a non-budgetary dimension
the importance of which dwarfs the budgetary one. For example, the benefits from the pursuit of common
objectives, such as trade liberalisation and European economic integration, cannot be evaluated in terms of
budgetary flows alone. Moreover, flows from the Community budget invariably benefit not only recipients but
other Member States in the form of return flows. Typical examples are structural funds and external expenditure,
where the implementation of projects often gives rise to purchases of goods and services from other Member
States.

Furthermore, there is no single definition of budgetary balance. This inevitably makes possible the design of
various methods of approximating the budgetary benefits from membership in the Community, and the choice of
a particular method often reflects the desire to highlight a particular point of view or to defend a specific issue. As
the Honourable Member rightly suggests, including custom duties in the calculation would show a sizeable net
contribution for Member States with large port facilities such as Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Therefore, the Commission does not consider it necessary or opportune to calculate Member States’ net
contributions to the budget.

A paper entitled ‘Budget contributions, EU expenditure, budgetary balances and relative prosperity of the
Member States’ was forwarded to the Parliament on 14 October 1997.

(98/C 134/134) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3173/97


by Johanna Maij-Weggen (PPE) to the Commission
(13 October 1997)

Subject: Dutch participation in the Comenius programme

Can the Commission say which Dutch schools are taking part in the Comenius programme and with which
partner schools in other countries they are working?

Does the Commission know the effect of reduction in the budget for participation by Dutch schools in the
Comenius programme?

Can the Commission say how much money is available per Member State for the Comenius programme, which
Member States have had their budgets reduced and how great the reduction per Member State is?

What is the reason for these reductions?

Answer given by Mrs Cresson on behalf of the Commission


(24 November 1997)

Since the launch of the Socrates programme in 1995, a total of 308 schools in the Netherlands have taken part in
Comenius partnerships (127 as coordinators and 181 as partners). In 1997, partnerships coordinated by Dutch
schools have included schools from all the participating countries, especially Germany, France, Italy, Norway,
Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The reduction in the overall budget allocation for Action 1 of Comenius in 1997 has obviously affected all
Member States, according to the method of calculation set out in Decision 819/95/EC of the Parliament and the
Council of 14 March 1995 establishing the Community action programme ‘Socrates’ (1). For the Netherlands, the
budget for Action 1 has thus fallen from ECU 1 059 486 in 1996 to ECU 814 262 in 1997.

The Commission is fully aware of the difficulties caused by the reduction in the Comenius budget for schools in
the participating countries. To limit the impact of this reduced budget on the schools, the Commission decided to
allocate the 5% reserve provided for in the Decision setting up the Socrates programme to those Member States
that were likely to have to cope with a high level of unsatisfied demand. The Netherlands thus received in 1997
an additional sum of ECU 51 535 (included in the ECU 814 262), which was drawn from the ECU 1 million
reserve for Action 1 of Comenius.
30. 4. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 134/105

The drop in the budget allocation for Action 1 of Comenius is a result of the reduced budget available for the
Socrates programme in 1997 (ECU 174 million for 1997 as opposed to ECU 198 million for 1996). The
Commission has therefore requested an increase in the budget allocation for the Socrates programme so that it
can meet the expectations of the education sector. This request is currently being examined by the Parliament and
the Council under the codecision procedure.

(1) OJ L 87, 20.4.1995.

(98/C 134/135) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3174/97


by Johanna Maij-Weggen (PPE) to the Commission
(13 October 1997)

Subject: Zaire

Is the Commission aware that at the end of August a new UN team went to the former Zaire to investigate the
human rights violations which have been perpetrated there since March 1993?

Is the Commission aware that the head of the UN committee of inquiry, Mr Amega, has said that he has received
no assurances that he will be able to work independently in the former Zaire?

What is the Commission’s opinion of this statement and what has the Commission done vis-à-vis the UN and
Zaire in order to help ensure that the UN committee in question is enabled to carry out an independent inquiry?

What are the Commission’s own findings to date regarding the human rights situation in the former Zaire, and
what has the Commission done to influence President Kabila in the direction of introducing a more democratic
regime in his country?

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission


(21 November 1997)

The Commission would point out that on 22 January 1992 the Community and its Member States suspended their
cooperation programmes in former Zaire, except for humanitarian aid, owing to the obstacles placed in the way
of the democratisation process by the Mobutu regime. That suspension still applies.

Since the Democratic Republic of the Congo came into being in May 1997 the European Council in June 1997
and the Council (General Affairs) meeting on 15 September 1997 have defined the position of the Union on the
new authorities: the gradual resumption of cooperation with them depends on respect for human rights and
international humanitarian law, a genuine commitment to democracy and the establishment of a State in which
the rule of law prevails.

The Commission has found that the political dialogue with the Congolese Government begun in May this year
has not yet produced any practical results. It regrets that the United Nations fact-finding team has not been able to
begin work owing to lack of cooperation on the part of the Congolese authorities. In these circumstances the
Commission is not in a position at present to consider the gradual resumption of Community cooperation. It is
continuing, however, the political dialogue with the Congolese Government in order to persuade it to drop a
policy of confrontation with the United Nations which may compromise cooperation with the international
Community which is so essential.

With regard to the resumption of the democratisation process in preparation for the multi-party elections which
President Kabila has undertaken to hold in April 1999, it has to be observed that no practical action − and in
particular the establishment of a Constituent Commission before 1 September 1997 − has flowed from that
policy commitment by the head of the alliance with a monopoly of powers in the Congo. The Commission can
therefore only point to the failure on the part of the authorities in Kinshasa to relaunch the democratisation
process, a failure which has precluded it from making the Community contribution of ECU 30 million for
election preparations.

Meanwhile the Commission carries on with its humanitarian programmes in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo.