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C 304/106 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

(98/C 304/159) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0441/98
by Anna Karamanou (PSE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Bad weather in Greece and the tragic consequences on Lesbos and Samos

In the light of the devastation caused by the bad weather on the islands of Lesbos and Samos on 2 February 1998,
the loss of human life − two children and a woman − the total destruction of crops, the drowning of dozens of
animals, the incalculable material damage and economic consequences, what measures will the Commission take
to make Community resources available to assist the regions affected?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-0440/98 and E-0441/98
given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission
(27 March 1998)

The Commission deplores the damage caused by the recent bad weather to the islands of Samos and Lesvos in
Greece, but it must emphasise that the role of the Structural Funds is not to provide assistance in the event of a
natural disaster. The Funds’ objectives and scope are defined in the Council regulations adopted in December
1988 and revised in July 1993 and concern the financing of investment and infrastructure in underdeveloped
regions, regions in industrial decline and rural regions. Only indirect support can therefore be given, where the
regional authorities decided that the areas damaged by the bad weather should enjoy priority access to aid to
infrastructure and investment for economic development.

With regard to emergency aid to disaster victims, the Commission recalls that this form of symbolic intervention
is no longer possible due to the deletion of the item (B4-3400) from the current year’s budget.

As far as the European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) Guidance Section is concerned
more particularly, Regulation (EEC) No 4256/88 (1) provides for restoring and prevention measures in case of
natural disasters. However, due to the advanced stage of implementation of the relevant operational programmes,
EAGGF amounts are almost totally allocated to concrete projects and actions, so there is practically no margin of
available unallocated credits. Nevertheless, given the emergency of the situation created by the natural disasters
and to the extent that the responsible authorities address a request to the Commission redirecting the priorities
within the programmes, the Commission should not be opposed to examine positively this request, provided that
the eligibility rules and other implementation provisions of the structural funds are respected. However, it should
be clear that a possible EAGGF intervention, if any, would be quite exceptional and limited.

(1) OJ L 374, 31.12.1988.

(98/C 304/160) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0443/98
by Eryl McNally (PSE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: EU-Israel Association Agreement

I should like to draw the Commission’s attention to the EU-Israel Association Agreement of November 1995.
Is the Commission aware of concerns expressed that Israel is not, in fact, respecting the terms and conditions of
the Agreement? In particular, is the Commission aware of:
− Israel’s apparent breach of country-of-origin rules involving the re-exportation of Brazilian orange juice into
the EU,
− the mislabelling of orange juice from illegal settlements in Gaza,
− an investigation by HM Customs & Excise into the true origin of a wide range of Israeli exports to the UK,
such as textile waste and telecommunications equipment?