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1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 31/101

1. Can the current field tests on cattle, sheep and goats, involving electronic identification and registration
systems, be extended to include horses, or can the results thereof be applied to horses?

2. Does the Commission plan to introduce new European rules on the electronic registration of horses?

3. Will there be separate identification of stud and sports horses, and horses for slaughter?

4. What role will be played in future by the equine passport?

(1) OJ L 224, 18.8.1990, p. 42.

(2) OJ L 224, 18.8.1990, p. 55.
(3) OJ L 298, 3.12.1993, p. 45.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(5 August 1998)

1. The current field tests involving electronic identification are performed within the framework of the IDEA
project. The scope of this project does not provide for horses and there is currently no such intention. The results
of this project will not be available before the end of the year 2000. It is only then that any exploitation of the
results can be contemplated.

2. The Commission currently has no plans to introduce Community legislation for the electronic registration
of horses as priority is given to other species (such as cattle, sheep and goats) where field trials are already
scheduled (IDEA project).

3. Registered horses are identified in the Community by means of a passport as established by Commission
Decision 93/623/EEC of 20 October 1993 establishing the identification document (passport) accompanying
registered equidae. This passport has also been recognised at international level by the International office of
epizootics (OIE) for movement of competition horses. With regard to slaughter horses, Community rules require
that such horses imported into the Community are clearly and indelibly marked by a hot branded ‘S’ of not less
than 3 centimetres in size of the hoof of the left front leg.

4. It is expected that in the future the equine passport laid down by Decision 93/623/EEC for registered horses
will replace the health information necessary for trade of registered horses within the Community.

(1999/C 31/136) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1928/98

by Roberta Angelilli (NI) to the Commission

(18 June 1998)

Subject: Aid for businesses in the earthquake-hit areas of the Umbria and Marche regions

Italian law provides for special sliding scales governing access to the Structural Funds for businesses based in
earthquake-hit areas. It also allows the Ministry for Industry to order the extension of the deadlines for submitting
applications for businesses in this category, which is an important opportunity for companies in Umbria and
the Marche.

The text of the legislation, which might provide the legal basis for extending access to the funds to include areas
not normally covered, increasing the level of aid to the maximum, and using the reserved funds, in a way
consistent with Objective 1, was forwarded on 19 December 1997 to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in order for
it to notify the EU.

In view of the above: Is it true that the EU has not yet given its approval because it considers that the financial aid
requested cannot be extended beyond earthquake-hit areas in Umbria and the Marche so as to cover other areas
damaged in previous years and on repeated occasions in other parts of Italy, as outlined by the Italian Authorities?
C 31/102 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 5.2.1999

Answer given by Mr Van Miert on behalf of the Commission

(11 September 1998)

The Commission would inform the Honourable Member that it held a meeting with the Italian authorities on
7 July 1998 to discuss Italy’s proposal on investment aid for firms based in earthquake-hit areas. At the meeting, it
expressed concern at the very high levels of aid intensity envisaged, since what is involved is not aid to reimburse
damage suffered, but actual investment aid.

The Italian authorities took note of these difficulties. The Commission trusts that a solution can be found soon so
that all the necessary instruments to assist reconstruction and recovery can be made available to these areas.

The Commission would emphasise that, at all events, these difficulties regarding approval of the proposed aid
scheme do not apply to the reconstruction and regeneration measures provided for in the single programming
documents for the areas eligible under Objective 5b in the two regions which will soon receive additional aid
from the Structural Funds amounting to almost ECU 500 million.

(1999/C 31/137) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1940/98

by Wilfried Telkämper (V) to the Commission

(11 June 1998)

Subject: Joint declaration on EU-New Zealand relations

1. Is Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan prepared to instruct his services to present to the Council a draft of a joint
declaration on EU-New Zealand relations, as he promised to do in February under pressure from the President of
the Council and the New Zealand Foreign Minister?

2. If not, is the Commission’s failure to take action in this area an indication that it intends to leave its right of
initiative to others in the future?

3. Does the Commission see any reason why New Zealand should be treated differently from Australia with
which a joint declaration was signed in mid-1997?

Answer given by Sir Leon Brittan on behalf of the Commission

(25 June 1998)

1. The Commission has never promised to submit a draft Community-New Zealand joint declaration to the

2. In any event, the Commission does not possess an exclusive right of initiative to table draft joint
declarations to the Council. There are therefore no grounds for inferring that the Commission is surrendering
any of its rights.

3. In general terms, the Commission considers that each separate relationship between the Community and a
third country should be developed on its own merits and according to the particular needs in question and not
merely in comparison to other relationships with other third countries.

(1999/C 31/138) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1949/98

by Anita Pollack (PSE) to the Commission

(30 June 1998)

Subject: WTO

What is the view of the Commission on the present permitted exclusion of patents on plants and animals from the
Agreement on Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights?