Official Journal of the European Communities

C 348/7

To be on the safe side, we are sending an unofficial English translation of this question directly and personally to Commissioner Bangemann, in order to avoid any possible breakdown in communications.
(1) (2) OJ C 31, 5.2.1999, p. 149. OJ C 223, 17.7.1998, p. 35.

Answer given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission (6 April 1999) The Commission would take this opportunity of reassuring the Honourable Members that it takes very seriously its duty to reply to parliamentary questions under Article 140 EC Treaty, and that it would regret any perceived failure to reply to a question. Every question that the Commission receives is circulated to all commissioners, their cabinets and services. Every reply is approved by the competent commissioner, before being adopted by the Commission as a whole. The procedures established by the Commission aim to ensure proper replies to all questions. Unfortunately in the case of some questions the Commission can add nothing to what it said in reply to a previous question. In referring to a previous reply the Commission does not intend to be arrogant, and would regret if it appeared so. Turning to the matters raised in Written Question E-2554/98 by Mr Ilaskivi, it is only possible to say that, unless discrimination on grounds of nationality can be shown, there is no basis for Commission intervention.

(1999/C 348/007)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-3967/98 by Paul Rübig (PPE) to the Commission (4 January 1999)

Subject: Cost assessment for European legislative acts The principle that specific legislative acts should be adopted as soon as an urgent need arises has gained acceptance both within the Member States and at a European level. In this connection, subsidiarity, SLIM and Fiche d’impact are key concepts which stand for greater efficiency and transparency. Streamlined and sensible legislation requires in particular a comprehensive assessment of the financial impact of a given measure both on the administration and on those at whom the legislation is targeted. After all, it is usually the external cost which can be quite substantial. 1. Is the Commission satisfied with the current format of the financial statement annexed to its legislative proposals? 2. 3. Are there any guidelines or common principles for the evaluation of financial impact? In what manner can greater account be taken of the financial impact of legislation in future? Answer given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission (2 March 1999) 1. The financial statement referred to in Article 3 of the Financial Regulation of 21 December 1977 applicable to the general budget of the European Communities, as last amended by Regulation No 2779/98 (1), must be annexed to any Commission proposal or communication with potential impact on the Community budget. This enables the Council and Parliament to assess whether Community action is needed, whether it is in proportion to the objectives sought and whether the implementing arrangements have an acceptable level of cost-effectiveness. Several of the measures taken by the Commission as part of the SEM 2000 project are designed to improve the content and quality of the information supplied to the legislative and budgetary authorities for this purpose.

C 348/8

Official Journal of the European Communities



2. and 3. The Commission has for several years been involved in evaluating the impact of its legislative proposals, particularly the impact on the public and on businesses. The Commission has recommended that its departments should carry out evaluations not just when adopting proposals, but also throughout the legislative process (2). There have also been exchanges of information on best practice as regards evaluation techniques with the Member States and businesses, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In this connection, the Honourable Member’s attention is drawn to two important Commission initiatives: (a) the SME impact assessment sheet which is attached to proposals likely to have a significant effect on businesses and SMEs in particular; it covers a detailed evaluation of the regulations, including a cost analysis where possible. (b) the preliminary pilot project, launched in July 1998, concerning the business panel; the purpose of this project, which supplements the SME impact assessment sheet, is to evaluate, in conjunction with the Member States and by consulting businesses directly, the cost and consequences for them of new legislative proposals concerning the single market; Parliament was duly notified of this project, which is operating satisfactorily (Commission communication to the Council and Parliament; the business panel; a pilot project) (3).
(1) (2) (3) OJ L 347, 23.12.1998. See General guidelines on legislative policy, Bull. EU 1/2-1996, point 1.10.11. COM(98) 197 final.

(1999/C 348/008)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-3970/98 by Juan Colino Salamanca (PSE) to the Commission (4 January 1999)

Subject: Noise pollution and roads The Commission Green Paper on future noise policy (COM(96) 540 final) tackled the problem of road traffic noise at Community level. It can be concluded from the said document that the European Union funds the building of roads which comply with the highest possible environmental and safety standards from the Structural Funds, the Cohesion Fund and the budget heading for trans-European networks. Will the Commission say whether this Green Paper has since taken the form of a legal text of any kind to protect citizens exposed to noise pollution from road traffic on a given thoroughfare? If not, do any standards exist at European level requiring Member States to use porous asphalt or to erect noise protection walls on their domestic road networks? Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission (17 March 1999) Since the adoption of the green paper on future noise policy, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a directive on noise from outdoor equipment (1). The Parliament approved the proposal without amendments in May 1998, and the German Presidency is aiming to reach a common position in the Council in June. Furthermore, in the light of the response to the green paper, the Commission has started work on a framework directive on environmental noise, in close collaboration with experts from Member States, industry, nongovernmental organisations and local authorities. There are no existing Community standards requiring Member States to use porous asphalt nor to erect noise protection barriers on their domestic road networks. Nor is it envisaged that future Community legislation will prescribe specific solutions of this kind, as this in the view of the Commission would not be compatible with the principle of subsidiarity.
(1) COM(98) 46 final.

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