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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

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.
C 374 E/88 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.2000

The Commission will closely monitor future WTO notifications by the United States to ensure that
agriculture related expenditure is correctly classified under WTO rules and that commitments are

(2000/C 374 E/103) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0495/00
by Mauro Nobilia (UEN), Cristiana Muscardini (UEN), Sergio Berlato (UEN)
and Francesco Turchi (UEN) to the Commission

(24 February 2000)

Subject: Specific character of foodstuffs

It would appear that there has been a considerable delay in applying Regulations (EEC) Nos 2081/92 (1)
and 2082/92 (2) if it is true that, in the wake of the adoption of the basic 1992 texts, the first application
for recognition of specific character was received only in 1996.

More specifically, there are reports that certain such applications, made over a year ago, have received no

Given the important repercussions of the regulations in question, in terms of both economic and regional
competitiveness, can the Commission say:

1. Whether the above is true?

2. If so, what the real reason is for such delays?

3. Whether such delays depend on the complexity of the procedures or on the operational capacities of
European or national institutions?

4. Whether it thinks it would be appropriate to submit proposals with a view both to streamlining
procedures and to ensuring greater certainty in determining the procedures for the above applications?

(1) OJ L 208, 24.7.1992, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 208, 24.7.1992, p. 9.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(3 April 2000)

On 14 July 1992, as part of the reform of the common agricultural policy, the Council adopted
Regulations (EEC) Nos 2081/92 and 2082/92 protecting, in the first case, geographical indications (PGIs)
and designations of origin (PDOs) and, in the other, designations as a guaranteed traditional speciality
(TSGs) in the field of agricultural products and foodstuffs. These Regulations came into force on 26 July

Regulation (EEC) No 2081/92 (PGIs/PDOs) provides for two types of registration: by the normal procedure
and by the simplified procedure. Under the simplified procedure, the Regulation gave Member States a six-
month deadline from the date of entry into force (or the accession date of the new Member States in
1995) to inform the Commission about designations already protected at national level which they would
like registered at Community level. The Member States sent the Commission more than 1500 names for
registration under the simplified procedure. It took the Commission several years to vet all 1500
applications. Following this vetting operation, the Commission registered about 500 PGIs and PDOs.
Some applications were withdrawn by the Member States (about 700) and more than 300 applications for
mineral waters proved not to be registerable because of a compatibility problem between the Community
rules on mineral waters and the Regulation on designations of origin and geographical indications. Of the
155 Italian applications under the simplified procedure, there remain two for which the procedure has not
yet terminated. These applications turned out to be particularly complex and have given rise to
voluminous correspondence and many bilateral meetings with Italy as well as multilateral ones with all
Member States.