You are on page 1of 1


1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 118/137

Given the structural nature of the problems, the Commission has already in 1998 partially shifted
Community assistance away from food aid towards measures designed to improve food security. An
integrated ECU 30 million package combining both food aid (86 000 tonnes of assorted products) and
support for agricultural rehabilitation (30 000 tonnes of fertiliser; technical assistance and pilot projects) is
currently being implemented. The Community has also in the past supported double-cropping initiatives
in North Korea with a view to promoting increased agricultural productivity.

No decision has yet been taken on possible Community food aid or food-security operations in North
Korea for 1999.

(1999/C 118/170) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2774/98

by Johanna Maij-Weggen (PPE) to the Commission

(14 September 1998)

Subject: Lower rate of VAT

Following the expiry of the existing rules under the sixth VAT directive on 31 December 1998, does the
Commission intend to submit proposals for other − possibly lower − VAT rates for goods and services of
a social nature?

If so, what are the Commission’s plans and when can specific proposals be expected?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(19 October 1998)

As regards the VAT regime introduced by the Sixth Directive (1), the Commission presumes that the
Honourable Member is referring to the expiry date of the standard rate of VAT, on which it will present a
proposal in due course.

As far as the new common system of VAT for the single market is concerned, satisfactory progress is
being made on the activities referred to in the programme presented by the Commission in 1996.

As regards the reduced rate of VAT, the Commission envisages re-examining the content of Annex H to
the Sixth Directive. In accordance with the conclusions of the report on VAT rates (2), it would like to see
the reduced rate being applied only to basic necessities or products fulfilling a social need.

(1) Directive 77/388/EEC (OJ L 145, 13.6.1977), as last amended by Directive 96/95/EC.
(2) COM(97) 559 final.

(1999/C 118/171) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2775/98

by Johanna Maij-Weggen (PPE) to the Commission

(14 September 1998)

Subject: Creation of the world’s largest nature reserve in Surinam

Is the Commission aware that Surinam, an ACP country, has created a nature reserve − the ‘Central
Surinam Wilderness Nature Reserve’ − with a total area of 16 million ha, which makes it the largest
tropical rain forest reserve in the world?

Does the Commission know the costs of this welcome project, and is the Commission involved in the
conservation of these rain forests?

Would the Commission be prepared to make a contribution from its budget towards the conservation of
this reserve?