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C 310/54 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

(98/C 310/67) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0365/98


by Georges Garot (PSE) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Compensatory allowance for natural handicaps

I have recently been informed of a problem encountered by stock breeders raising donkeys in mountain areas
who are not at present entitled to receive the allowance to compensate for natural handicaps.The relevant
provisions of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2328/91 (1) cover only some equidae, namely breeding mares and
fillies of heavy horse breeds. Presumably donkeys are excluded because of the small numbers involved.
However, in view of the important role played by donkeys in grazing and thus helping to maintain mountain
pastures, it would be desirable for these animals to qualify for the same support as all those which contribute to
the conservation of such areas. Would the Commission consider extending the compensatory allowance for
natural handicaps to donkey breeders?

(1) OJ L 218, 6.8.1991, p.1.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(11 March 1998)

Compensatory allowances for natural handicaps are governed by a Community Regulation (Council Regulation
(EC) No 950/97 on improving the efficiency of agricultural structures (1), Articles 17 to 19). This Regulation
states that this support measure is not obligatory for the Member States, which ‘may grant a ... compensatory
allowance’ (Article 17(2)), and that, if Member States apply the measure, they ‘may lay down additional or
limiting conditions for the grant of the compensatory allowance’ (Article 18(2)).

France has in fact made use of precisely this possibility with regard to the raising of donkeys by not including this
activity in the categories of eligible livestock farming. On the other hand, donkey raising may qualify for the
‘grass premium’, which is not restricted to less-favoured areas but is available to all holdings with surfaces to
grass, whatever their location.

(1) OJ L 142, 2.6.1997.

(98/C 310/68) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0368/98


by Florus Wijsenbeek (ELDR) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Belgian customs officials’ bonuses

Is the Commission aware that Belgian customs officials receive a bonus if they catch foreign hauliers with
irregularities in their papers?

Does the Commission realise that the system of commissions used by the customs authorities − which applies
only to tax contraventions such as the Eurovignette and vehicle licensing − is laid down by ministerial decree
and even contains a tariff of payments?

Does the Commission consider such a system to be compatible with the principle of non-discrimination and
freedom to provide services under Article 75 and Directive 88/599?

Is the Commission prepared to contact the national authorities on this point with a view to calling a halt to this
type of inadmissible practice?

Might the Commission be prepared to list systems of commissions paid in other Member States in respect of
fines on foreign drivers, which could be regarded as discriminatory, and to test their compatibility with European
legislation?

If so, how?

If not, why not?