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C 26 E/36 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.


Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 2000)

With regard to Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain
public and private projects on the environment, it should be noted that the Commission initiated
infringement proceedings against Spain for incorrect transposition of this Directive into Spanish law. It
has now taken the matter to the Court of Justice (1).

Article 3 of Council Directive 97/11/EC 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. It should be noted that the
Commission automatically takes action whenever a Member State fails to communicate national imple-
menting measures by the given deadline, as provided for in Article 226 (ex Article 169) of the EC Treaty.
A reasoned opinion has just been sent to Spain regarding Directive 97/11/EC.

The project to which the Honourable Member refers concerns industrial installations for the production of
electricity or installations for the transmission of electrical energy by overhead cables. This type of project
is listed in Annex II to Directive 85/337/EEC. Under the terms of Article 4(2) projects of the classes listed
in Annex II must be made subject to an assessment where Member States consider that their characteristics
so require. In this case an environmental impact assessment appears to have been carried out. On the sole
basis of the information communicated by the Honourable Member the Commission cannot determine
whether the changes made to the project should be made subject to an impact assessment.

The bearded vulture is one of the species protected by Council Directive 92/43/EEC (2) of 21 May 1992 on
the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. One LIFE project is specifically concerned
with the protection of bearded vultures in the Moncayo area in the Autonomous Community of Aragon.
The reintroduction of the species to this area will be very important for its reintroduction to other
mountainous regions of Spain.

The Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, will take the necessary measures to ensure that Community
law is complied with in the case in question.

(1) Case C-474/99.
(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(2001/C 26 E/049) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0388/00
by Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(15 February 2000)

Subject: Genetic tests on immigrants in Switzerland

On Sunday the Mise au Point programme broadcast by the Swiss French-language television channel TSR
broke the news about a draft law which is already in the hands of the Federal Councillor Ruth Metzler.

According to the programme, would-be immigrants wishing to enter the country in order to join other
members of their family will in future (if the law is adopted) be required to undergo genetic tests in order
to establish kinship.

In view of the fact that an Agreement exists between the European Union and Switzerland:

1. What is the European Union intending to do about disturbing evidence of a xenophobic attitude
towards foreigners which, in this particular case, brings Nazi practices to mind?

2. What will the Commission do in the light of the fact that many foreign nationals live in Switzerland,
including nationals from a number of EU Member States?
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/37

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(9 March 2000)

At present the Commission is not in a position to act vis-à-vis Switzerland as regards the draft law in

However, the Commission is well aware of the unsatisfactory legal situation of Community nationals
working in Switzerland. It therefore negotiated a wide-ranging agreement on the free movement of persons
with Switzerland to align the Swiss provisions with the acquis communautaire in this area, including that
on social security and pension rights.

The agreement was signed on 21 June 1999 and will come into force after the Parliament has given its
assent and it has been ratified by the contracting parties.

Once the agreement has come into force, the Commission will closely monitor its implementation by
Switzerland and raise any difficulties in the joint committee to be established under the agreement.

(2001/C 26 E/050) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0403/00
by Werner Langen (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(8 February 2000)

Subject: Effects of the abolition of duty-free sales

The European Council meeting in Cologne on 4 June 1999 decided that the European rules on duty-free
sales should be allowed to expire on 30 June 1999. The decision followed heated discussion as to its
probable impact. In particular, it was argued that the abolition of duty-free sales would result in drastic job

In view of the foregoing:

1. Does the Commission have any information concerning the impact of the abolition of duty-free sales
on the employment market?

2. Does the Commission have any information concerning the impact of that decision on specific regions
and sectors (coastal areas, airports, tourism, duty-free retail trade etc.)?

3. Is the Commission aware whether, and in which Member States, compensatory measures have been
applied to the regions or sectors affected; if so, what is the extent and nature of such measures?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(9 March 2000)

For information about the impact of the abolition of intra Community duty-free sales on employment, the
Commission would refer the Honourable Member to the replies given to Written Questions E-1999/99 by
Mr Davies (1) and E-2135/99 by Mr Staes (2).

As for regional and sectorial impact, the Commission has not received any information to suggest that the
abolition has had any significant impact on specific regions or sectors. It is currently seeking to establish
whether Member States might have applied any compensatory measures in response to specific problems
that they might have experienced.

(1) OJ C 203 E, 18.7.2000, p. 109.
(2) OJ C 225 E, 8.8.2000, p. 57.