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C 374 E/114 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.

2000

The Commission is currently considering how best to take forward these issues in its report on the
revision of the TEN-T guidelines that will be submitted to the Council and Parliament this summer.

(1) OJ L 228, 9.9.1996.
(2) OJ C 83, 25.3.1999.

(2000/C 374 E/134) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0591/00
by Reinhold Messner (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(29 February 2000)

Subject: Quarry in val Coalba

An aggregates quarry located in the beautiful val Coalba (municipality of Villa Agnedo), which is to form
part of the future Brenta riverside park, has applied for a renewal of its authorisation to quarry for gravel.
The proposed extension is to run for at least thirteen years and involve the removal of an overall total of
950 000 cubic metres of material. When the Province of Trento’s urban development plan was revised in
1987, environmental restraints were placed on the site, which is of unquestionable natural beauty.

The quarrying work would have serious repercussions, causing environmental damage in an area known
for its geological features, flora and fauna, possibly disturbing the hydrogeological balance and under-
mining the safety of the road network, and transfiguring a site that is to become one of the main features
of the future Brenta riverside park. The mouth of the valley, where the aggregates are processed, forms
part of a bicycle trail and of plans for a riverside park which the Provincial Council is including, together
with those for the valle del Chiese, in the economic programming document covering local projects to
receive European Union funding over the next five years.

Would the Commission not agree that, in view of the possible geological risks involved, an environmental
impact assessment should be carried out?

Would it not agree that there is a contradiction in terms between promoting tourism in the val Coalba and
accepting the presence of a quarry that seriously detracts from the natural beauty of the site?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(31 March 2000)

The Commission does not have competence to carry out environmental impact assessment (EIA)
procedures with reference to the projects covered by the Community legislation on EIA. According to
Council Directives 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985, on the assessment of the effects of certain public and
private projects on the environment (1) and 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997 (2) which has modified Directive
85/337/EEC, it is Member States which are competent to carry out EIA procedures with reference to the
projects located in their territory.

As regards the nature conservation aspect, the site mentioned by the Honourable Member is not
considered among the protected areas concerned by Council Directives 79/409/EEC of 7 April 1979 on
the conservation of wild birds (3), or 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats
and of wild fauna and flora (4).

The Commission, in the light of the powers conferred on it by the EC Treaty, has the task of ensuring the
correct application of Community law. As the guardian of the EC Treaty, it does not hesitate to take all
necessary measures, including infringement proceedings under Article 226 (ex Article 169) of the
EC Treaty, in order to ensure the observance of Community law.
28.12.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 374 E/115

In the specific case, due to a lack of grounds of complaint on the application of Community law, no
breach can be identified at present.

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.
(2) OJ L 73, 14.3.1997.
(3) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979.
(4) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(2000/C 374 E/135) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0593/00
by José Ribeiro e Castro (UEN) to the Commission

(24 February 2000)

Subject: Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region  Structural Funds, 2000-2006

On 21 July 1999, the Council adopted Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999, establishing the general provisions
on the Structural Funds (1).

The Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region (Portugal), which met the Objective I eligibility criteria laid down for
the Second Community support framework 1994/1999 (2), but after assessment, ceased to be eligible from
1999 (3). It should nonetheless continue to benefit, on a transitional basis, from the Funds from 1 January
2000 to 31 December 2005 (4). In accordance with the Conclusions of the Berlin summit of 24 and
25 March 1999 (5), the phasing out mechanism must be applied to former Objective I regions. Over and
above this, the Conclusions acknowledge that the Lisbon Region should have ‘special provisional treatment’
in the shape of a grant of € 500 million (6). In view of the obvious disparities between the Region’s various
economic operators and sectors, the agreement merely reflected the over-arching horizontal principles
deriving from the Treaty which apply to all Community policies, namely sustainable development and
equal opportunities.

These principles, like the acquis communautaire’s competition rules, are undermined by the failure to
pursue the agreed phasing-out policy. Economic operators in the neighbouring regions  eligible under
Objective I  will enjoy enormous competitive advantages, giving rise to imbalances and distortions.

Given that the Structural Funds for the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region are currently suspended, will the
Commission give the reasons for this suspension? If it has taken place in the context of negotiations with
the Portuguese Government, what are the reasons and who is responsible for failing to apply the
provisions of Article 6 of Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999, failing to observe Commission Decision 1999/
502/EEC of 1 July 1999 and ignoring what was agreed at the Berlin Summit?

(1) Pursuant to Article 161 of the Treaty and under the procedure laid down in Article 251 thereof.
(2) Regulations (EC) Nos 2052/88 and 4253/88, OJ L 158, 15.7.1988 and OJ L 374, 31.12.1988.
(3) cf. Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999  OJ L 161, 26.6.1999.
(4) i.e. the provisions of Article 6 should have been applied, and likewise the provisions of Articles 7(2), second
paragraph and (3), third paragraph of Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999, in accordance with Commission decision
1999/502/EC  OJ L 194, 27.7.1999.
(5) And particularly paragraphs 42, 43 and 44(a) thereof.
(6) Paragraph 44(a).

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(24 March 2000)

After the guidelines on national regional aid were adopted (1), the Commission asked the Portuguese
authorities to send it a notification under Article 88(3) of the EC Treaty (formerly Article 93(3)), supplying