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C 310/102 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.


(98/C 310/136) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0612/98

by Fernando Moniz (PSE) to the Commission
(9 March 1998)

Subject: The Sela dam − an ecological crime

Environmental protection is one of the EU’s major concerns. A number of measures and decisions are being
taken with a view to launching a campaign to increase awareness, together with new rules and regulations to be
introduced in the Member States.

During Parliament’s part-session in Strasbourg in February 1998 the Council, the Commission and the European
Parliament devoted attention to this issue, in particular in connection with ‘climate change’.

An agreement signed in 1968 laid down conditions for the ‘hydroelectric exploitation’ of Sela on the river Minho
in the north of Portugal, near Monção and Melgaço, to be promoted by the Portuguese corporation EDP and the
Spanish Union Fenosa.

The creation of a lake 22 km long would undoubtedly submerge hundreds of fishing grounds and destroy the
natural habitats of various fish species (shad, lamprey and salmon).

The existence of a reservoir would undoubtedly cause a change in the climate, with an increase in humidity and
solar radiation, which would alter the microclimate essential for the production of a traditional quality wine
(‘vinho alvarinho’) which is the only really profitable and competitive ‘niche’ product of two of the most
authentic and traditional, but at the same time poorest, towns in Portugal.

The local authorities, the bodies representing the region and the population in general feel strongly about the
hydroelectric project and are clearly showing their opposition and trying to ensure that economic considerations
and influences do not prevail over the protection of wildlife and a socio-economic structure with traditions
closely tied up with rural life, which it is essential to preserve.

In view of the fact that this project may be carried out contrary to the principles upheld by the EU, does the
Commission intend, once it has all the relevant information at its disposal, to use its influence to safeguard the
legitimate interests which are at stake?

If so, what actual measures will be taken?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(21 April 1998)

The project in question has not been the subject of a request for Community co-financing.

According to the information available to the Commission, a public inquiry is currently under-way, in
accordance with the requirements of the environmental impact assessment procedure under Council Directive
85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the
environment (1).

The Commission will take care to ensure that the national authorities conform with Community law, in particular
with regard to nature conservation.

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.

(98/C 310/137) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0613/98

by Tommy Waidelich (PSE) to the Commission
(9 March 1998)

Subject: Budget items for EU aid to organizations operating in the field of drugs policy

Eu aid has reportedly been paid in both 1996 and 1997 to organizations such as European Cities on Drugs Policy
(ECDP) whose aims include the legalization of narcotics, the establishment of ‘coffee shops’ and the legal
prescription of heroin.

Can the Commission say under which budget items such aid is paid out?
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/103

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission

(3 April 1998)

The Commission would draw the Honourable Member’s attention to the answer it gave to written question
E-413/98 by Mr Andersson (1).

All the measures supported under the programme of Community action on the prevention of drug dependence
(Decision No 102/97/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 (2)) are presented
in detail in the reports on the implementation of budget heading B3-4302.

These reports are forwarded annually to Parliament in accordance with the undertaking given by the Commission
at the meeting of the Conciliation Committee on 1 October 1996. Information on the supported projects can also
be obtained from the Commission’s Internet site: (

(1) OJ C 304 du 2.10.1998, p. 96.

(2) OJ L 19, 22.1.1997.

(98/C 310/138) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0616/98

by Ursula Schleicher (PPE) to the Commission
(9 March 1998)

Subject: Implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 793/93 of 23 March 1993 on the evaluation and
control of the risks of existing substances

In several Member States complaints have been made about the long delays in the implementation of Regulation
(EEC) No 793/93 (1) on the evaluation and control of the risks of existing substances, particularly over the last
two years.

1. How can the Commission explain these delays in implementation?

2. Does the European office for chemical substances have sufficient resources to implement the Regulation?

3. Could the delays be partly due to the fact that the relevant procedures are excessively bureaucratic and the
Regulation is not sufficiently binding?

4. What practical measures does the Commission intend to take to solve these problems?

(1) OJ L 84, 5.4.1993, p. 1.

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(8 April 1998)

The Commission is aware and concerned about the difficulties encountered in the implementation of Council
Regulation (EEC) No 793/93.

The implementation of this Community legislation requires high level scientific and technical expertise, in
particular in the Member States, since they act as ‘rapporteur’ for each priority substance. One of the reasons for
the slow pace of the implementation is the structure of the Regulation itself, which entails long and complex
stages and procedures without precise deadlines or rules. It should be noted that a number of Community
legislative measures based on a similar structure face the same difficulties.

Furthermore, the risk evaluation process is much more complicated, time consuming and costly than initially
foreseen, both for industry and the national authorities. It has been necessary to determine in a specific
Regulation the modalities of the risk assessment for health and the environment.