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C 304/46 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

(98/C 304/64) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0181/98
by Marı́a Sornosa Martı́nez (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(5 February 1998)

Subject: Possible contravention of environment laws in the Marjal de Massamagrell

The continuing existence of the Marjal de Massamagrell is under serious threat on account of the drainage and
urbanization work which is being carried out and which also affects the officially protected Marjal de Rafael y
Vistabella.

In all probability the Marjal de Massamagrell is listed in the Valencia Community’s catalogue of wetlands since
it belongs to the same ecosystem as the Marjal de Rafael y Vistabella, which is recognized as an areas of special
protection in the PGOU (= general urban land use plan). Publication of the catalogue is being delayed for no
apparent reason whilst, in the meantime, many of the wetlands included in it (and potentially eligible) for
protection are being devastated.

In an earlier question which I recently submitted to the Commission I reported on the instability and the
environmental risks which are being created as a result of the unjustified delay in the publication of the
catalogue. I am concerned with this issue since it is turning into an environmental emergency which must be
tackled as soon as possible.

The environmental negligence which is being displayed by the Valencia Regional Government is endangering
the heritage of the region’s wetlands and contravenes Directive 92/43/EEC (1) on the conservation of natural
habitats. The coastline of the Valencia region, which has an abundance of wetlands, forms a single ecosystem,
the unity of which must not be destroyed by urban development.

1. Could the Commission ask the Valencia Regional Government to publish its catalogue immediately, in
view of the fact that it has already been drawn up and that the withholding thereof is having a serious effect on the
environment?

2. What action can the Commission take to ensure that the superimposing of regional, national and European
rules on top of European directives does not prevent the latter from being complied with?

3. Could the Commission delegate a team of experts to assess the importance of conserving all the wetlands
along the Spanish Mediterranean coast as an ecological unit which deserves to be protected?

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

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission
(12 March 1998)

1. The Commission has no authority to ask the Valencia Regional Government to publish its list of wetlands,
such publication being a purely internal matter to the autonomous community.

The site in question has not been designated a special protection area under Council Directive 79/409/EEC of
2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds (1). Nor has it been scientifically inventoried as an important bird
conservation area.

Spain has not proposed the site for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network under Council Directive 92/43/EEC of
21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (2). Nor does the Commission
have information that the site hosts a natural habitat type or priority species which, on the basis of relevant and
reliable scientific information, would make it essential for the maintenance of that priority natural habitat type or
for the survival of that priority species. The site’s natural interest thus appears to be national rather than
Community.

Nonetheless, should the Commission receive information proving that the site is essential for the maintenance of
a priority natural habitat type or the survival of a priority species, a procedure could be envisaged under Article 5
of Directive 92/43/EEC.
2. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/47

2. The Commission sees to it that European directives are properly implemented by the Member States. With
regard to Directive 92/43/EEC, it has instituted infringement proceedings against Spain for failure to transmit the
Spanish lists within the deadline. Following the delivery of a reasoned opinion in November 1997, Spain did
transmit a list of sites. The Commission is currently examining the documents provided by the Spanish
authorities to determine whether the proceedings need be pursued any further.
3. At special biogeographical meetings, the Commission works with the Member States and independent
experts to evaluate the lists of sites proposed by the Member States for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network.
Given the large number of sites proposed (several thousand), it is impossible for each of them to be examined in
situ.

(1) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979.
(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(98/C 304/65) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0185/98
by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission
(5 February 1998)
Subject: Disability benefits in EU Member States
Can the Commission please indicate, on a country-by-country basis, the amount of money spent by each Member
State on disability benefits?

(98/C 304/66) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0186/98
by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission
(5 February 1998)
Subject: Disability benefits in EU Member States
Can the Commission please indicate, on a country-by-country basis, the amount of money spent by each Member
State on disability benefits as a proportion of total government spending?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-0185/98 and E-0186/98
given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission
(30 March 1998)
The Commission is sending the information requested direct to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s
Secretariat.

(98/C 304/67) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0193/98
by Paul Lannoye (V) to the Commission
(28 January 1998)
Subject: Zoonoses
Council Directive 97/22/EC (1) amending Directive 92/117/EEC (2) concerning measures for protection against
specified zoonoses and specified zoonotic agents adds Article 15a to the latter directive stipulating that the
Commission must submit a report to the Council before 1 November 1997 on the measures to be implemented for
the control and prevention of zoonoses.
Can the Commission inform me of the report’s conclusions?
Which are the Member States which, by 1 January 1998, had still not implemented the minimum measures laid
down for salmonella in Annex III, Section I (Article 10(1) of Directive 92/117/EEC and Article 1(4) of Directive
97/22/EC)?
How many cases of salmonella have been recorded each year in poultry breeding flocks in the different Member
States since 1992? How many cases have been recorded in humans during the same period?