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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/93

Regions bordering the CEECs may feel the impact of the opening of markets and of enlargement more quickly
and intensively than other regions, but they will also benefit from their closeness to new markets providing new
opportunities. The importance of these new markets for Community producers is evidenced by the rapid growth
in trade between the Community and the CEECs and the increasing surplus of the Community’s trade balance
with them. While wages in CEECs are significantly below Austrian levels, this is not reflected directly in the cost
of products, since the productivity of Austrian workers may be expected to be higher. Furthermore, the impact of
enlargement, in particular in sensitive areas, will be softened through transitional arrangements.

Many of the border regions are already assisted by the structural funds. The new German Länder and Burgenland
are at present, and are likely to remain, objective 1 regions. Most of the other border regions in Germany, Austria
and Italy currently receive assistance under objective 5b. Given that under the new objective 2, it is foreseen that
the Member States will be able to present national criteria for the selection of a significant share of their assisted
areas, they can include border areas if they consider them to face specific problems.

Furthermore, the Commission proposes to maintain the Community initiative Interreg which, together with the
PHARE-cross border cooperation (CBC) programme, is an appropriate instrument for addressing the problems
of the border regions with the CEECs. The specific design of Interreg for the new programming period has not
been decided, but it will leave sufficient flexibility to meet the needs of the border regions, as the Member States
may propose the regions to be covered and the projects to be supported.

Thus, while border regions will be particularly affected by enlargement of the Community, the structural policy
instruments proposed in ‘Agenda 2000’ (1) provide sufficient scope and flexibility to address these issues.

(1) COM(97) 2000.

(98/C 304/139) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0397/98
by Nikitas Kaklamanis (UPE) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Laundering of Illegal Funds in Northern Cyprus

Northern Cypress which is occupied by Turkey has become a financial centre for international crime. Reports
have appeared in the European press to the effect that the occupied territory of Cyprus has become a paradise for
illegal trafficking in drugs, chemical wastes, weapons and illegal immigrants. In the last 1/2 years alone 18 new
casinos have been opened in Northern Cyprus. Over the last three or four years 36 offshore banks and 29 bank
agencies have been established there. These establishments were used to launder funds from illegal trafficking
from heroin, weapons, chemical wastes and illegal immigrants towards Europe.

What action does the Commission intend to take on the information which has recently come to light with a view
to remedying this situation which is in fact under the control of a country, Turkey, associated with the EU under a
customs agreement?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission
(6 April 1998)

The Commission does not have specific information on the alleged illicit activities to which the Honourable
Member refers.

The Commission recalls its support for progress towards a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem and
towards Community accession and trusts that this will help create conditions in which such issues can be
addressed effectively.