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C 310/106 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

On this last point, the project has attempted to shelter children from abuse by setting up a unit where any such
incidents can be reported, investigated and dealt with through magistrates and the courts.

Without impinging on national sovereignty, the Commission will continue to use its aid to support government
efforts to protect the young. A project to reform the administration of justice in Guatemala is due to be launched
in an attempt to support those bodies responsible for implementing the law, especially the children’s code.

(98/C 310/142) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0626/98


by Raimo Ilaskivi (PPE) to the Commission
(9 March 1998)

Subject: Charge levied by Russia on motorists crossing the border

According to a newspaper report (Helsingin Sanomat, 17.2.1998), the Russian customs have instituted a charge
on motorists crossing the Finnish-Russian border. The charge is 25 Finmarks, and is levied from all foreigners
crossing the border.

What will the Commission do to secure the abolition of the Russian customs authorities’ latest border levy on
European Union citizens? Let it be stressed that Member States of the European Union do not levy any
corresponding charges from Russian motorists.

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(17 April 1998)

The Commission has conducted investigations into the matter raised by the Honourable Member.

It appears that the charge which is levied relates to assistance in completing customs clearance formalities
provided on request to drivers crossing the Finnish-Russian border by a service company linked to the Russian
customs.

According to Russian customs legislation, foreigners crossing the border with their private cars have to
undertake formally to go back by car within one month. After Russian customs introduced a computer based
information system at border crossings, this undertaking is now filled in an electronic form directly at the
computer and not in a paper form by hand.

Drivers have at present two options: they can either go directly to the Russian customs where they can personally
fill in the electronic document free of any charge, or they can seek the assistance of the company against payment
of a 25 finmarks fee. The advantage of the second option is that it normally guarantees quicker clearance of
customs procedures.

This charge is therefore a commercial fee for the provision of an optional service, rather than a special levy on
foreign drivers crossing borders.

(98/C 310/143) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0629/98


by Yves Verwaerde (PPE) to the Commission
(9 March 1998)

Subject: Financial support for an information campaign to publicize Natura 2000

The Commission is cognizant of the fact that certain socio-professional groups (farmers, industrialists,
hunters, etc.) throughout the European Union have voiced strong reservations about the installation of the Natura
2000 network, principally in view of the lack of transparency and information as to the network’s purpose.
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/107

Has the Commission already earmarked specific financial support for specific action on a Community-wide basis
to provide information to the public, local authorities and NGOs, and if not, does it intend to do so, and in what
form and on what scale?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission


(24 April 1998)

The Commission co-funded in 1997 several projects in order to raise the awareness of environmental issues in
the Member States under the budget-line B4-3060. Among these are two which deal with Natura 2000.

The European union for coastal conservation has been supported to develop a project dealing with dissemination
of good practice experiences on integration of nature conservation and local economic development in the
coastal zone especially related to Natura 2000, and enhancement of public and political support for the
implementation of Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of
wild fauna and flora (1), the so-called Habitats Directive, and for the development of Natura 2000.

The World wild fund (WWF) − Italy has been supported to develop a project to raise awareness and knowledge
of the general public on the Habitats Directive, in order to help the establishment of Natura 2000. The project
includes a general public information campaign at European level including television spots, workshops and
pilot projects. The Commission published on 24 January 1998 under budget-line B4-3060 two calls for
proposals (2), under which actions for the awareness raising for Natura 2000 could be co-funded.

According to Council Decision 97/872/EC of 16 December 1997 on a Community action programme promoting
non-governmental organizations primarily active in the field of environmental protection (3), the Commission
has invited European non-governmental organizations whose activities cover all or some of the Member States
and countries neighbouring the Community to present proposals with a view to obtaining a financial
contribution. This contribution would be towards costs inherent in carrying out the activities provided for in their
annual work programme. Financial assistance under this call for proposals may be provided for activities which
are of Community interest, contribute significantly to the further development and implementation of
Community environmental policy and legislation and meet the principles underlying the fifth environmental
action programme.

A call for the submission of proposals for general measures to inform and increase awareness of the environment
refers to the first indent of Article B4-306 of the comments on the 1998 budget. The principal objective is to
improve information available to the general public and to raise its awareness level in relation to environmental
protection. It is also intended to create partnerships at a European level and to promote an efficient ecological
approach to economic activities.

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.


(2) OJ C 25, 24.1.1998.
(3) OJ L 354, 30.12.1997.

(98/C 310/144) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0632/98


by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission
(9 March 1998)

Subject: Export of live cattle from the EU to third countries

Further to Dr Fischler’s answer to Written Question E-3253/97 (1) given on behalf of the Commission on
7 November 1997, could the Commission now say:
1. How many live cattle were exported from the EU to third countries in 1997?
2. How many live cattle were exported from each individual EU Member State to each individual importing
third country in (i) 1996 and (ii) 1997?

(1) OJ C 134, 30.4.1998, p. 127.