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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/59

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

1. The Commission is not aware of the planned hydroelectric dam on the river Arachthos in Epirus as this
project is not submitted for Community financing.

2. According to preliminary information an environmental impact assessment according to Council Directive
85/337/EEC of the 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the
environment (1) is being carried out. An environmental impact study has been completed by the promoter and
will shortly be submitted to the competent authorities of the ministry of Environment for authorisation, which
under the Greek law has the form of a ministerial decision with terms and conditions to be met. The authorities
assess all elements including alternative solutions when applicable, before issuing the authorisation. Further-
more, the estuary of the river Arachthos is included in a special protection area (‘Amvrakikos kolpos’), classified
pursuant to Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979, on the conservation of wild birds (2) and the Commission will
therefore draw the attention of the Hellenic authorities to the need for an appropriate assessment of the likely
ecological impact of the dam on that site.

3. The Commission is not aware of a comprehensive proposal for the protection of the region with respect to
the existence of similar projects.

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.
(2) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979.

(98/C 304/82) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0244/98
by Karla Peijs (PPE) to the Council
(17 February 1998)

Subject: Closure of European Business Information Centres

1. What are the reasons behind the Council’s decision to close the European Business Information Centres
(EBICs) in South and South-East Asia despite their success?

2. Is the Council aware of the consequences that this decision will have for:
a) participation of Asian SMEs in future Europartnerships,
b) the local Asian economies,
c) Asia-Invest, Asia Interprise and Asia Partnership,
or does it believe that they will be unaffected by the closures?

3. How does the Council reconcile closure of the EBICs with promotion of the European Union’s joint trading
interests in Asia, as endorsed by the Member States in Essen in December 1994?

Answer
(28 May 1998)

The European Commission has made proposals to continue financing of the three European Business
Information Centres (EBICs) operating in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Bombay for five years. These proposals
are under consideration in the Asia/Latin America Committee (composed of Member States under the
chairmanship of the Commission) according to the procedures set out in Council Regulation No 443/92.

The Council has not therefore been required to take a decision on the proposals.