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C 304/114 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

(98/C 304/170) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0475/98
by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Reproductive health

When is the work currently being conducted by DGIB with a view to the drawing up of a policy on reproductive
health, including combating HIV, likely to be completed and published? Is the Commission committed to
ensuring there is a single Commission-wide policy ensuring that reproductive health is made a priority in all
development programmes supported by DG I, DG IA, DGIB, DGVIII and ECHO? Will the European Parliament
be consulted about this?

Answer given by Mr Marin on behalf of the Commission
(23 March 1998)

A new Commission communication is planned for 1998 that will outline the Commission’s policies and
strategies for development cooperation relating to support for population and reproductive health activities, in
view of next year’s fifth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations International conference on
population development (ICPD) programme of action. The communication will draw upon existing policies and
programmes in health, population, family planning, maternal health, human immunodeficiency virus/acquired
immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), gender integration and sexual exploitation. The Commission intends
to consult fully with the Parliament and Member States on the content of this communication.

(98/C 304/171) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0480/98
by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission
(27 February 1998)

Subject: Respect for local and regional diversity within structural fund programmes

Would the Commission accept the criticism that the SPDs agreed with the United Kingdom in the period 1994-97
were too often identical for different regions, with the name of the region simply ‘tippex-ed out’ and retyped in
different region’s SPDs as submitted by the then UK government? What measures has the Commission taken and
will it take to promote diversity based on assessment of need by local and regional authorities and social partners
within the regions affected? What role in this respect does the production of guidelines, as agreed at the informal
Council in Ireland on November 1996, play? Is there a case for ending the process of producing guidelines
altogether?

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission
(31 March 1998)

The Commission does not accept the criticism that the single programming documents (SPDs) agreed with the
United Kingdom for the period 1994-1999 were identical for different regions. The SPDs for objective 1, 2 and
5b regions were negotiated between the Commission and the regional partnerships on the basis of individual
regional plans. Inevitably, similar problems have given rise to similar responses but the detail of each programme
differs significantly from region to region. For the current objective 2 period 1997-1999, each regional
partnership presented radically different plans based on its own perception of local needs and potential, and the
SPDs which resulted from negotiation on the basis of these plans are significantly different from the 1994-1996
documents. The Commission therefore considers the SPDs in force from 1994 onwards to be directly relevant to
each of the individual regions concerned, an opinion shared by the Parliament which, during its discussion of
regional policy in the United Kingdom last year, recognised that the SPDs were in general the only strategic
documents in existence in the United Kingdom at the regional level.