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C 374 E/86 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.

2000

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 2000)

The Commission is examining the compatibility of the measure in question (Law No 30 of 26 October
1998) with Community law.

It will shortly arrive at a decision, taking special note of the additional information sent it by the Italian
authorities on 28 December 1999.

(2000/C 374 E/100) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0481/00
by Alejandro Cercas (PSE) to the Commission

(24 February 2000)

Subject: Funding under the URBAN Community initiative

Could the Commission indicate the amount of funding the Spanish region of Estremedura is likely to
receive under the URBAN Community initiative?

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(24 March 2000)

The guidelines for the URBAN Community initiative are expected to be approved by the Commission by
end of March 2000 or early April 2000. Member States are invited to present programme proposals to the
Commission within six months after publication in the Official journal.

The Community initiative will be financed jointly by the Member States from national resources and by
the Community from the European regional development fund (ERDF). The total contribution by ERDF to
URBAN during the programming period 2000-2006 is fixed at € 700 million, at 1999 prices. The
appropriation for each Member State is allocated on the basis of urban population, the number of people
out of work and the number of long-term unemployed in the urban areas involved. The indicative
allocation of the commitment appropriation for Spain amounts to € 106 million. Furthermore, the
guidelines specify an indicative number of urban areas to be covered by the Community initiative, which
is eight in the case of Spain.

The guidelines do not specify any regional allocation of the funds. In accordance with the principle of
subsidiarity, it is the role of Member States to propose the urban areas for support under URBAN,
provided that the proposed programmes comply with the conditions, criteria and priorities set out in the
guidelines and that they remain in the limits of the financial allocation.

(2000/C 374 E/101) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0484/00
by Alejandro Cercas (PSE) to the Commission

(24 February 2000)

Subject: Funding under the Leader+ Community initiative

Could the Commission indicate the amount of funding the Spanish region of Estremedura is likely to
receive under the Leader+ Community initiative?
28.12.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 374 E/87

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(21 March 2000)

The Commission has distributed the EUR 2 020 million budget for Leader+ among the Member States.

Spain has been allocated EUR 467 million and it must now draw up the programmes to implement
Leader+.

The programmes will be sent to the Commission for approval and it is on that basis that the potential
funding for the various regions will be known.

The Commission has not yet received the Leader+ programmes, so it cannot give the Honourable Member
any more information.

(2000/C 374 E/102) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0491/00
by John McCartin (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(24 February 2000)

Subject: Agricultural subsidies paid to US farmers

Can the Commission state whether it has up-to-date information on the total amount of agricultural
subsidies paid to farmers in the United States and whether recent increases in income aids to US farmers
are in keeping with the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(21 March 2000)

The United States’ budget for agriculture is substantially greater than that for the Community’s common
agricultural policy (€ 63 and € 69 billion in 1999 and 2000, respectively). A significant portion of this
budget, however, is spent on measures which are only of indirect benefit to american farmers, such as
food, nutrition and consumer services, which accounted for € 35 billion of the agricultural budget in 1999.

The primary means of support for farmers is in the form of direct payments under the Agricultural Market
Transition Act (AMTA) and the loan deficiency payment system, which bridges the gap between the
market price and a pre-determined amount per tonne, known as the loan rate.

In 1999, United States federal payments to farmers, in direct form, amounted to € 22,7 billion, through a
combination of those pre-programmed payments under AMTA and the special emergency packages
approved in 1998 (some of which were only paid out in 1999), and 1999. This was a considerable
increase on previous years. This is the equivalent of € 11 000 per farm and is double the average direct
payment received by Community farmers.

Obviously, the Commission is concerned with the upward trend in recent years of United States federal
expenditure on agriculture and is monitoring developments closely. However, in relation to the compat-
ibility of United States measures with World trade organisation (WTO) rules, the United States has not yet
notified its 1998 and 1999 measures on agriculture. Its last notification was for marketing year 1997. This
notification showed that the total aggregate measurement of support (AMS) commitment level for the
United States was $ 21 491 million, while its current AMS in that year was $ 6 238 million. In other
words, the United States had substantial room for manoeuvre within its AMS ceiling. On the other hand,
the total level of outlay on ‘green box’ measures was $ 51 250 million, compared to outlays during the
1986-1988 reference period of $ 26 150 million. However, there is no WTO ceiling on outlays on ‘green
box’ measures.