C 135/86

Official Journal of the European Communities



Under Article 24 of Directive 96/92/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 19 December 1996 concerning common rules for the internal market in electricity (1), Member States have the possibility to notify to the Commission commitments or guarantees of operation given before the entry into force of the directive, which may not be honoured on account of the provisions of the directive, with a view to applying the transitional arrangements indicated in that article. The Commission is about to examine those notifications. Should the Commission − in this or any other context − be provided with concrete information about cost advantages that are not in line with Community state aid rules, it will examine them diligently. The Commission is obliged to examine complaints from undertakings or people against breaches of Community competition rules. The likelihood of success depends upon the individual case and cannot be assessed in advance.
(1) OJ L 27, 30.1.1997.

(1999/C 135/101)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2654/98 by Friedhelm Frischenschlager (ELDR) to the Council (1 September 1998)

Subject: European burden-sharing relating to refugees and displaced persons The population flight associated with the crisis in Kosovo shows once again that EU-wide uniform criteria for the admission of displaced persons, refugees or asylum-seekers are needed. The solution cannot be, however, to channel refugees systematically into so-called ‘safe third countries’, even if this is legal defensible, because this affects reforming States, such as Hungary, which are right next door to the crisis areas, and which are anyway having to make great efforts to become ready to join the European Union. In connection with the creation of a possible ‘burden-sharing’ arrangement, attention is drawn to a proposal from the Commission for a Joint Action based on Article K.3 of the Treaty on European Union (COM(97) 93 final (1)), on which the Council of Ministers has so far unfortunately failed to reach agreement: sensible, liberal provisions concerning family reunification and unrestricted permission for displaced persons to engage in gainful activity appear to be particularly contentious. How do the ideas of the Council or of the Council Presidency concerning a ‘burden-sharing arrangement for population flight’ look in detail? What criteria are to be used to determine the allocation of costs relating to persons displaced by war? What criteria are to be used for distributing displaced persons among the EU Member States? Are refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as displaced persons, to be covered by such ‘burden-sharing’? If not, why not? Are there plans for such ‘burden-sharing’ among the EU Member States also to include non-EU Member States, such as Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and the Czech Republic, which are particularly affected and which are known to be deemed ‘safe third countries’? If so, in what form? If not, why not? What are the reasons for the above Commission initiative concerning temporary protection of displaced persons not being followed up? Will the Council do what it can to ensure that, until armed conflict in the crisis areas comes to an end, displaced persons and refugees from Kosovo are given de facto refugee status in all EU Member States, as was granted by Austria to refugees from Bosnia?
(1) OJ C 106, 4.4.1997, p. 13.

Reply (7/8 December 1998) The Commission recently (in July 1998) submitted to the Council and the European Parliament an amended proposal for a Joint Action concerning the temporary protection of displaced persons and a



Official Journal of the European Communities

C 135/87

proposal for a Joint Action concerning solidarity in the admission and residence of beneficiaries of the temporary protection of displaced persons, which take into account the Opinion of the European Parliament (1) and the discussions held within the Council’s bodies on the initial proposal (2) to which the Honourable Member refers. The Council Presidency attaches a great deal of importance to this matter and has made it one of its priorities. Both proposals are currently being considered within the Council’s bodies, by the competent working party. At this stage in the proceedings, it is impossible for the Council to reply to the specific questions raised by the Honourable Member regarding what is meant by ‘burden-sharing’ and the criteria governing it. These proposals do not concern States which are not members of the European Union. If they are adopted, they will form part of the acquis, to which any new Member State of the European Union will have to subscribe.
(1) (2) OJ C 339, 16.11.1997, p. 146. OJ C 106, 4.4.1997, p. 13.

(1999/C 135/102)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2665/98 by Ilona Graenitz (PSE) to the Commission (1 September 1998)

Subject: Framework directive on foodstuffs In his statement on the Breyer report (Foodstuffs additives − A4-0242/98) Mr Bangemann referred on 14 July 1998 to the debate on a framework directive for foodstuffs. A directive of this kind was called for by Parliament in its resolution of 10 March 1998 (A4-0009/98). Has the detailed discussion of such a directive already begun? Can a proposal for a directive still be expected during the life of the current Parliament or during the term of office of the current Commission? Will such a directive still be produced in sufficient time for it to be accepted as part of the ‘acquis communautaire’ by the applicant countries? Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission (8 October 1998) The Commission is able to assure the Honourable Member that its departments will soon begin to prepare the final touches to a proposal for a framework directive on foodstuffs. Given the complexity of the subject matter and the need to conduct highly detailed consultations with all of the parties concerned, the Commission is at the moment unfortunately not able to give it any indication as regards the deadlines needed in order successfully to complete those preparations.

(1999/C 135/103)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2668/98 by Gerhard Hager (NI) to the Council (1 September 1998)

Subject: Extension of the Eurodac Convention The Justice and Home Affairs Council has already held detailed discussions on the Eurodac Convention which seeks to introduce a computer-assisted system for the exchange of fingerprints of asylum-seekers in implementation of the Dublin Convention on Asylum. This prompts the following questions:

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