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C 323/68 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 21. 10.


(98/C 323/90) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0754/98

by Angela Sierra González (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(18 March 1998)

Subject: REGIS Initiative cuts for the outermost regions under Agenda 2000

The Commission’s Agenda 2000 plans to maintain the outermost regions as Objective 1 regions, despite the fact
that their GDP is higher than 75% of the Community average.

However, when the Commission’s same Agenda 2000 speaks of reducing the number of Community initiatives it
excludes the REGIS Initiative for outermost regions from the new objectives, though they were included in
earlier planning periods. As the Commission knows, the REGIS Initiative is the second largest investment
programme in the Canary Islands, after the Canaries Operational Programme (ERDF), and provides substantial
funds for local development or promoting renewable energies, to mention but two examples.

On the other hand, the special treatment set out in the Treaty of Amsterdam for the outermost regions, which
mentions special measures for the conditions of access to the Structural Funds and Community-wide
programmes, suggests a need for a special Community initiative for these regions such as the REGIS Initiative
has been up to now.

Does the Commission consider there is a need to include a Community initiative for the outermost regions in the
next planning period, as was the case in the REGIS I and REGIS II programmes?

In what way has the Commission made provision to offset a possible disappearance of the REGIS Initiative,
bearing in mind the importance of its financial contribution to the Canary Islands’ economy and people?

Answer given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission

(21 April 1998)

The Commission plans to pay close attention to the most remote areas. Its proposal of 18 March 1998 for new
Structural Funds Regulations (1) specifically includes making these regions eligible under Objective 1, even if
their per capita gross domestic product (GDP) is higher than 75% of the Community average.

The Commission plans to integrate the measures hitherto carried out under Regis I and II into the Objective 1
programmes in order to promote thematic concentration, simplify management and administration and increase
their effectiveness.

With regard to the intensity of Community aid, like the other regions eligible under Objective 1, the most remote
areas should benefit from the effort to concentrate budgetary resources on this Objective.

(1) COM(98) 131.

(98/C 323/91) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0762/98

by Georg Jarzembowski (PPE) to the Commission
(18 March 1998)

Subject: De facto non-implementation of simplified transit procedure in Greece

The customs authorities in Greece are unjustifiably denying shipping companies the option of processing goods
destined for landing in the ports of Piraeus, Thessaloniki and Herakleion under the simplified transit procedure
pursuant to Article 448 of Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 (1).

The authorities have designated the above three ports in their entirety as ‘free zones’. This means that shippers
using those ports are required to comply with the formalities pertaining to ‘free zones’, and to do so
independently of whether or not goods are transported in containers. The formalities comprise up to fifteen
procedural stages and are extremely time-consuming and costly to complete.
21. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 323/69

I therefore ask the Commission:

1. What view does it take of the practice by the Greek authorities described?

2. What action will it take to ensure that the advantages of the simplified transit procedure will also be
available to shipping companies in the above ports?

(1) OJ L 253, 11.10.1993, p. 1.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(4 June 1998)

The Commission has received several complaints about the designation of Greek ports as free zones and the fact
that all goods brought into Greece by sea must therefore pass through a free zone. This means that the Greek
authorities will systematically request proof of the Community status of goods transported by sea, in breach of
Article 313 of Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93 of 2 July 1993 laying down provisions for the
implementation of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 establishing the Community Customs Code (1)
(Regulation last amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 75/98 of 12 January 1998 (2)). Moreover, even
where the Community status of the goods has been proved, the obligations imposed on operators would appear to
be a matter of customs rather than intra-Community taxation: a home-use declaration on a single document −
even though customs regulations no longer provide for this − and payment of VAT on declaration.

Transport via a free zone − which is, as a customs treatment for imports under Article 166(a) of the Community
Customs Code (Council Regulation (EEC) No 2913/92 of 11 October 1992 (3), as last amended by Parliament and
Council Regulation (EC) No 82/97 of 19 December 1996 (4)), designed primarily for non-Community goods −
should remain a choice for operators and not become an unavoidable obligation where Community goods are
concerned, thus depriving operators of the benefits of the internal market.

Article 180 of the Community Customs Code states that where goods are brought into another part of the customs
territory of the Community, and where it is not proved by a certificate or other means that the goods have
Community or non-Community status, these goods are generally considered to be non-Community goods.

Article 37(2) of the Community Customs Code provides that goods brought into the customs territory of the
Community must remain under customs supervision for as long as necessary to determine their customs status.

Once this status has been determined in line with Article 313 of Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93,
no other customs intervention is possible for Community goods where indirect taxation is concerned. The goods
are subject to the rules governing intra-Community deliveries, both under the Sixth Council Directive
77/388/EEC of 17 May 1977 on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to turnover taxes −
common system of value added tax: uniform basis of assessment (5), and under Council Directive 92/12/EEC of
25 February 1992 on the general arrangements for products subject to excise duty and on the holding, movement
and monitoring of such products (6) (directive last amended by Council Directive 96/99/EC of 30 December
1996 (7)).

The Commission, in a letter dated 3 December 1997, asked Greece, in accordance with Article 169
(subparagraph 1) of the EC Treaty, to submit its observations on its failure to comply with the abovementioned
provisions. Greece replied to the Commission on 17 February 1998. Its reply is currently being studied.

(1) OJ L 253, 11.10.1993.

(2) OJ L 7, 13.1.1998.
(3) OJ L 302, 19.10.1992.
(4) OJ L 17, 21.1.1997.
(5) OJ L 145, 13.6.1977.
(6) OJ L 76, 23.3.1992.
(7) OJ L 8, 11.1.1997.