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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/123

(98/C 304/184) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0516/98
by Paul Rübig (PPE) to the Council
(27 February 1998)

Subject: 8th European Development Fund

Under the Lomé IV Convention the eighth European Development Fund was to have been launched at the end of
1997. It is to be used for financial and technical cooperation in removing structural imbalances in the countries
benefiting from the Lomé Convention. The emphasis has been placed on poverty alleviation, training and
industrialization, but also on health, the improvement of competitiveness and agriculture. For the first time
Austria was also to participate in this programme.

However, it proved impossible to launch the eighth European Development Fund on the appointed date, and its
launch continues to be delayed because not all the Member States on the European Council have ratified the plan.

Can the Council describe the substantive reasons for this delay?

When, in the Council’s view, is the plan likely to be finally ratified?

Answer
(18 May 1998)

Pursuant to Article 360(1) of the Fourth Lomé Convention, as revised by the Mauritius Agreement of
4 November 1995, the Convention will come into force on the first day of the second month following the date of
deposit of the instruments of ratification of the Member States and of at least two thirds of the ACP States, and of
the act of notification of the conclusion of the Convention by the Community.

This condition has now been fulfilled both by the ACP States and by the fifteen Member States. At its meeting on
27 April 1998, the Council adopted the Decision concerning the conclusion of the Agreement amending the
Fourth Lomé Convention. The revised Convention will therefore come into force on 1 June 1998.

(98/C 304/185) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0517/98
by Paul Rübig (PPE) to the Commission
(2 March 1998)

Subject: 8th European Development Fund

Under the Lomé IV Convention the eighth European Development Fund was to have been launched at the end of
1997. It is to be used for financial and technical cooperation in removing structural imbalances in the countries
benefiting from the Lomé Convention. The emphasis has been placed on poverty alleviation, training and
industrialization, but also on health, the improvement of competitiveness and agriculture. For the first time
Austria was also to participate in this programme.

However, it proved impossible to launch the eighth European Development Fund on the appointed date, and its
launch continues to be delayed because not all the Member States on the European Council have ratified the plan.

Can the Commission describe the substantive reasons for this delay?

When, in the Commission’s view, is the plan likely to be finally ratified?

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission
(27 March 1998)

The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s concerns over the delay in the start of the 8th EDF, which is
the Community’s main source of aid funding for the ACP countries for the period 1995-2000.
C 304/124 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

The launch of the 8th EDF requires ratification by at least two thirds of the ACP states (i.e. 47 countries) and all
the Community Member States of the agreement signed in Mauritius on 4 November 1995 to review and
supplement the fourth Lomé Convention half way through its lifetime.

From the information in the Commission’s possession on 1 March, 56 ACP countries and 13 Member States had
ratified the agreement.

The Commission does recognise that purely domestic factors are to blame for the delays in some Member States,
but has nevertheless attempted to point out at every stage of their constitutional ratification procedures what the
consequences of such delays will be. Although it cannot at this point say exactly when ratification will be
completed, it has every expectation that its approaches to the Member States, which are in some cases already
paying off, will shortly help to ease the log-jam referred to by the Honourable Member.

(98/C 304/186) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0519/98
by Ilona Graenitz (PSE) to the Commission
(2 March 1998)

Subject: Duty-free shops

The turnover of European duty-free shops amounts to about ATS 60 bn p.a. Intra-Community traffic accounts for
more than two thirds of turnover. When the exemption from excise duty ceases, it is feared that, despite the long
transitional periods, 300 to 500 jobs in Austria alone will be at risk.

Does the Commission have a study of the impact of the abolition of duty-free sales on the labour market?

If not, does the Commission intend to have a study of this kind carried out?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission
(6 April 1998)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to written question P-272/98 by Mrs Danielle
Darras (1).

(1) See page 67.

(98/C 304/187) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0520/98
by Thomas Megahy (PSE) to the Commission
(2 March 1998)

Subject: Financial support for growers of addictive drugs

Given the Commission’s decision to continue to support tobacco production to the tune of a billion ecus a year,
can cultivators of relatively harmless substances such as heroine (which takes a tiny fraction of the lives lost
every year to tobacco) expect similar subventions? Alternatively, has the Commission considered spending our
money on something more beneficial?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission
(30 March 1998)

No.