C 289/16

Official Journal of the European Communities Answer by Mr Papoutsis on behalf of the Commission (25 November 1998)



In adopting Decision 98/343/EC of 19 May 1998 on measures of financial assistance for innovative and jobcreating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (1), the Council approved funding of ECU 420 million to finance three facilities: a risk-capital scheme, a support scheme for the creation of trans-national joint ventures and a guarantee scheme. A sum of ECU 150-190 million was set aside for the guarantee scheme. The Commmission subsequently signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF) for the implementation of the first and third schemes. On 1 October 1998 the Commission published (2) the implementing measures and selection criteria of Member State guarantee systems in the public and private sectors, including mutual guarantee arrangements. Intermediaries will be able to submit proposals on the basis of this publication. The EIF will consult with the authorities in each Member State, including Italy, before finalising its selection of intermediaries.
(1) (2) OJ L 155, 29.5.1998. OJ C 302, 1.10.1998.

(1999/C 289/021)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2954/98 by Gerhard Hager (NI) to the Commission (8 October 1998)

Subject: Euro-Jus 2 One or two questions remain after my question E-1278/98 (1). In his answer Commissioner Oreja stated that funding for Euro-Jus 1998 was being increased inter alia to increase the hours worked by the legal advisers. How does the Commission justify this increase, and from what and to what figures have they been increased? On what topics were the 217 written questions in Austria submitted in particular? How was the tender procedure for the contract in Austria organised in detail, and how many tenders were received?
(1) OJ C 402, 22.12.1998, p. 104.

Answer given by Mr Oreja on behalf of the Commission (7 December 1998) The Eurojus network has been reinforced in 1998, in accordance with the priority given by the Commission to information and communication initiatives close to the European citizen and in response to encouragement from the Ombudsman, as well as in line with recommendations by the high-level group on free movement of people chaired by Mrs Simone Veil. The budget of the network was increased accordingly, from ECU 195 613 in 1997 to ECU 552 000 in 1998, through reallocation of lower priority budget resources. This increase has made it possible to broaden geographical coverage and, on average, to double the time spent by Eurojus consultants providing advice to European citizens and carrying out research in response to an increasing amount of questions submitted by citizens in all Member States. The 217 written questions submitted to the Eurojus consultant in Austria in 1997 dealt mainly with social legislation, access to regulated professions (validity of diplomas, professional legislation, setting up an enterprise in another country), car imports, validity of driving licences, sale of real estate, discrimination and competition issues.



Official Journal of the European Communities

C 289/17

The call for tender concerning the Eurojus consultant in Vienna was included in a call for tender involving six Eurojus consultants, which was carried out centrally by the Commission and published in the Official journal (1). Four applications were received for the services to be supplied by the Eurojus consultant in Vienna.
(1) OJ S 120, 25.6.1997.

(1999/C 289/022)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2960/98 by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission (8 October 1998)

Subject: Conservation of sixth century Byzantine villages and churches in northern Syria Along an area of 140 kilometres in northern Syria, villagers are responding to a severe housing shortage by building their own accommodation among the ruins of Byzantine churches and villages dating from 6 AD., despite the fact that the Syrian Government prohibits construction in ancient villages. The country’s archaeologists are warning that these villages with their 2000 churches, which form part of the architectural heritage of particular historical value, will probably be destroyed. How will the Commission intercede with the Syrian authorities and what assistance can it offer them to preserve areas of particular architectural and historical value? Answer given by Mr Marín on behalf of the Commission (28 October 1998) The Commission is aware of the immense value of Syria’s historical and cultural heritage and is supporting a number of measures to conserve it. However, given the scale of the Syrian heritage and the limited funds available, it is not possible to cover all Syrian sites of historical and cultural interest. The following projects to protect the Syrian heritage have recently been financed, or are at the preparation stage: modernisation of municipal administration (including historical centres); development of cultural tourism (involving eight historical sites); archaeological digs at Jerf el Ahmar; support for a Euro-Syrian archaeological mission to the Tell Beydar site; conservation of the murals of the Doura Europos and Qasr El Heir synagogues. There are also sixteen projects at the preparation stage to train Syrian restorers and researchers in the field in the conservation of their cultural heritage. Many proposals were made, and those selected have been chosen primarily on the following bases: they will have a helpful impact on the Syrian economy (development of cultural tourism); they will improve Syrian institutional and administrative capacity (modernisation of municipal administration); their results will be sustainable and broadly disseminated through training and the teaching of appropriate technologies (training programme for the conservation of the cultural heritage). The Commission can discuss the problem raised by the Honourable Member during one of its frequent contacts with the Syrian authorities.

(1999/C 289/023)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2981/98 by John McCartin (PPE) to the Commission (8 October 1998)

Subject: Price of mountain lambs Is the Commission aware of the total collapse in the price of mountain lambs in Ireland and the UK and will the Commission consider taking into account the different regional market prices of sheepmeat when calculating the premium for this year?

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