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C 374 E/154 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.


The association for the protection of the river Arousa has submitted a complaint to the Commission
concerning failure to comply with Community legislation on environmental impact assessments (Directive
85/337/EEC (1)).

Furthermore, the Spanish Government has not met the deadline for transposing Directive 97/11/EEC (2) on
the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, which amends
Directive 85/337/EEC.

Following the recent environmental disaster caused by the sinking of the oil tanker Erika, public awareness
is rising and means that public representatives must be increasingly sensitive to environmental issues. With
this in view, the European Parliament recently adopted two resolutions (20 January and 2 March 2000). In
addition, it has debated at length the coordination of EU environment policies with other policies such as
the Structural Funds.

Was an environmental impact assessment necessary for the construction of the above-mentioned port

Can the Commission say whether these projects received any Community funding? When and how much?
Which companies benefited?

What steps did the Commission take to ensure that these projects complied with the requirements of
Community legislation on the environment?

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40.
(2) OJ L 73, 14.3.1997, p. 5.

(2000/C 374 E/183) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0804/00
by Camilo Nogueira Román (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(16 March 2000)

Subject: Installation of storage tanks for fuel and chemicals in the port of Vilagarcia de Arousa in Galicia
without an environmental impact assessment

A new quay is being built in the port of Vilagarcia de Arousa in Galicia, with funding provided by the
European Union through the ERDF, on which storage tanks with a capacity of 80 000 m3 for fuel and
chemicals are to be placed, even though the environmental impact assessments required by Directive
85/337/EC (1) have not been carried out and the Council’s planning regulations have not been complied
with. The installations, which are owned by the FINSA and Foresa undertakings, are situated on an estuary
which is highly vulnerable to pollution caused by the handling of these products and to the consequences
of potential accidents involving ships transporting the products. The Arousa estuary is extremely rich in
shellfish and, among other species, the bulk of the 300 000 tonnes of mussels produced annually in Galicia
comes from here, representing 50 % of world production of mussels. Activities linked to fishing and
shellfish farming provide a source of income for 26 000 people on the Arousa estuary, while the chemical
installations on the quay will create only three jobs.

All the economic and social sectors affected have protested against the construction of these tanks and
have appealed on many occasions to the municipal council, the Galician government and the Spanish
government, and now to the European Commission, with the aim of preventing the storage tanks from
coming into operation.

The regional and central administration, under the pretext that the Spanish government did not comply
with the provisions of the EC directive and clearly disregarded the need for an environmental impact
assessment for this type of installation for the storage of oil and petrochemical and chemical products,
while failing to take due account of the productive activities which provide the best guarantee for the
present and future livelihood of people along the estuary, is permitting work to continue, with the result
that there is a serious risk that the installations will come into operation in defiance of the law and to the
detriment of the vital economic and social interests of the many people affected. It might also be pointed
out that the Commission has recently brought a case against Spain before the European Court of Justice
for failure to comply with Directive 85/337/EC.
28.12.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 374 E/155

What measures will the Commission take to ensure that Community rules are complied with and the area
is restored to its previous state, before the construction of the quay and the chemical and oil storage tanks
in the port of Vilagarcia de Arousa, and to prevent the start or continuation of an operation which would
be hazardous and seriously detrimental to fishing, shellfish farming and tourism, which represent the main
source of income for people on the estuary and, indeed, throughout Galicia?

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40.

Joint answer
to Written Questions P-0790/00 and E-0804/00
given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(5 April 2000)

With regard to Council Directive 85/337/EEC (1) of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of
certain public and private projects on the environment, it should be noted that Article 2 thereof provides
that projects likely to have significant effects on the environment by virtue of their nature, size or location
must be made subject to an assessment with regard to their effects before authorisation is granted. This
provision applies to projects of the classes listed in Annexes I and II to the Directive.

As regards the facilities to which the Honourable Member refers, Annex I, point 8 includes trading ports,
inland waterways and ports for inland waterway traffic which permit the passage of vessels of over
1 350 tonnes. Annex II, point 10 (d) includes the construction of ports (including fishing harbours) not
listed in Annex I. Annex II, point point 6 (c) mentions storage facilities for petroleum, petrochemical and
chemical products. Under the terms of Article 4 projects of the classes listed in Annex I must be made
subject to an environmental impact assessment. Projects of the classes listed in Annex II must be made
subject to an assessment where Member States consider that their characteristics so require.

Article 3(1) of Council Directive 97/11/EC (2) of 3 March 1997 amending Directive 85/337/EEC provides
that Member States must comply with the Directive by 14 March 1999 at the latest. However, under
Article 3(2) if a request for authorisation is submitted before 14 March 1999 the provisions of Directive
85/337/EEC prior to the amendments continue to apply. It should be noted that the Commission
automatically takes action whenever a Member State fails to communicate national implementing measures
by the given deadline, under the terms of Article 226 (ex Article 169) of the EC Treaty. As no official
communication has been received, a reasoned opinion has just been sent to Spain regarding Directive

At all events, as guardian of the Treaties the Commission will take the necessary measures to ensure that
Community law is complied with in the case in question. With regard to the possibility that the two
projects concerned were cofinanced, the Commission has requested information from the Spanish

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.
(2) OJ L 73, 14.3.1997.

(2000/C 374 E/184) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0791/00
by Christos Folias (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Early Retirement from Farming Programme

The Greek Government has drawn up a table of minimum sizes of agricultural holdings for selecting Greek
farmers for inclusion in the ‘Early Retirement from Farming Programme’ under Regulation (EEC)
No 2079/92.