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C 304/158 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

Answer
(28 May 1998)

1. Under the Treaties it is for the Commission to make proposals to the Council, in accordance with the
procedures laid down therein.

2. At this stage the Council has not received any proposal from the Commission in the area referred to by the
Honourable Member.

It should be noted that cultural events organized to mark Europe Day on 9 May are eligible for financial support
under the Kaleidoscope programme (1) if they are organized jointly by persons active in the cultural field from at
least three Member States;

3. In addition, on 20 November 1995, in view of the symbolic importance of the year 2000, the Ministers of
the Member States meeting within the Council agreed that the following nine cities should be designated
European Cities of Culture for that year: Avignon (France), Bergen (Norway), Bologna (Italy), Brussels
(Belgium), Krakow (Poland), Helsinki (Finland), Prague (Czech Republic), Reykjavik (Iceland) and Santiago de
Compostela (Spain).

These cities have been invited to coordinate their programmes and to define a common theme for the event: they
will thus be able to participate jointly in the organization of a European cultural area for the year 2000.

(1) Decision 719/96/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a programme to support artistic and cultural activities
having a European dimension (OJ L 99, 20.4.1996)

(98/C 304/241) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0790/98
by Nuala Ahern (V) to the Council
(16 March 1998)

Subject: High-activity radioactive waste at the Dounreay plant in Caithness, Scotland

In the light of the revelation in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper on 2 February 1998 that there is a second secret
disposal shaft containing more than 700 000 kilogrammes of high-activity radioactive waste at the Dounreay
plant in Caithness, Scotland, will the UK Presidency take up the commitment of the Irish presidency to
Parliament on 13 November 1996 that there should be an environmental audit conducted at the plant by the
European Union authorities?

Answer
(28 May 1998)

Since the accession of the United Kingdom to the European Atomic Energy Community all plants such as that
referred to by the Honourable Member are covered by current Community law and in particular the provisions of
Chapters 3 (Health and safety) and 7 (Safeguards) of the EAEC Treaty.

The Council would point out that the Commission is responsible for ensuring compliance with that law and in
this context has access in particular, under Article 35 of the EAEC Treaty, to all the facilities necessary to carry
out continuous monitoring of the level of radioactivity in the air, water and soil and to ensure compliance with the
basic standards laid down in Directive 96/29/Euratom (1). Moreover, under Article 81 of the EAEC Treaty, the
Commission may send inspectors into the territories of the Member States to monitor safeguards.

The Council considers that the current legal provisions enable the Commission, in conjunction with the Member
State concerned, to guarantee optimum conditions for protecting public health.

(1) OJ L 159, 29.06.96, p. 1.