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C 26 E/100 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.

2001

During the meeting of the Council of Agriculture Ministers held on 24 January last, the Italian Minister for
Agriculture and Forestry explained to the other ministers the problems the disease is causing the farms
involved. The meeting also offered an opportunity to consider a number of measures aimed at
compensating producers for the indirect damage caused by the epidemic.

The Italian Minister Mr De Castro therefore asked Commissioner Fischler to launch the procedure for
drawing up support measures for the Italian market in accordance with the provisions of Article 14 of
Regulation (EEC) No 2777/75 (1).

Can the Commission therefore say what stage has been reached in the procedure, what measures will be
adopted to compensate the producers so adversely affected and by what deadline they will be implemen-
ted, in view of the urgent need to respond to the poultry sector’s problems?

(1) OJ L 282, 1.11.1975, p. 77.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(5 April 2000)

The Commission is following with concern the evolution of avian influenza in Italy. From mid December
1999 until 3 March 2000, more than 15 million birds were lost due to this epidemic and in the most
affected areas in Northern Italy a policy of complete stamping out is now being followed.

Regarding exceptional market support measures in addition to measures taken in conformity with
Community veterinary legislation, the Commission undertook to make an economic assessment on the
basis of detailed information to be supplied by the Italian ministry of Agriculture.

This assessment is necessary since Article 14 of Regulation (EEC) no 2771/75 on the common organisa-
tion of the market in poultrymeat provides that exceptional measures ‘may be taken only to the extent that
and for such period as is strictly necessary for the support of that market’.

By 9 March 2000 the detailed information requested had not been made available. The evaluation
procedure which has to take account of the above mentioned stamping out policy could therefore not
have been started by that date.

(2001/C 26 E/120) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0737/00
by Graham Watson (ELDR) to the Commission

(17 March 2000)

Subject: Removal of postal subsidies for Christian publications in Southern India

In the first two weeks of January this year, over 100 Christian publications in Southern India had their
postal subsidies removed on the grounds that the information which they are disseminating does not cover
political or current affairs and therefore does not constitute news. As a result of this action, many of these
publications, some of which have existed for thirty years with no previous problems of this kind, are at
risk of closing down permanently.

In the light of the ongoing climate of hostility towards the Christian community in India and the spate of
recent legislative initiatives to clamp down on their practice and witness, there are reasonable grounds to
believe that this latest step may be a deliberate attempt to curtail their freedom of expression.

Will the Commission seek to establish whether this move constitutes discrimination on religious grounds
and, if so, raise this matter with the Indian Government?
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/101

Answer given b y Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(4 April 2000)

The Commission shares the concern expressed by the Honourable Member and would like to emphasise
that the Commission delegation in New Delhi continues to monitor and report on the situation of religious
minorities in India, including the Christian community. It does so in close consultation with the Union
missions in New Delhi.

Ever since the surge in 1998 of the number of attacks on Christian families and facilities, Union
ambassadors have consistently expressed their concern in this regard to the Indian government, primarily
by means of quiet diplomacy.

The government of India has since set up a National Commission for Minorities. This Commission is
charged in particular with the protection of religious minorities in India, and following up complaints
received. Although the National Commission for Minorities has no judicial powers, it is felt that it will
continue to exert a restraining influence on extremist groups and thus contribute to upholding the
principle of secular government and free religious practice enshrined in the Indian constitution.

As for the reported removal of postal subsidies affecting some 100 Christian publications in Southern
India, the Commission will request its delegation in New Delhi, in close coordination with the Union
missions, to explore the factual background and implications of any discriminatory measures taken that
may affect the free dissemination of information by Christian and other religious groups in India. Based on
their findings the Commission will consult its partners and decide on the extent and form of any
representation to be made to the Indian authorities.

(2001/C 26 E/121) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0743/00
by Hiltrud Breyer (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(13 March 2000)

Subject: EIA and the definition of ‘wind farms’

Council Directive 97/11/EC (1) amending Directive 85/337/EEC (2) on the assessment of the effects of
certain public and private projects on the environment also lists the term ‘wind farms’ among the projects
subject to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) (section 3(i) of Annex II). No definition of the term is
provided. It is also unclear whether the defining factor is the number of installations, the total area covered
by installations or the output of installations.

On the grounds of landscape protection and regional planning it was recommended in Germany’s federal
states that individual installations be grouped as far as possible into wind parks. Setting the number of
installations at too low a figure means that parks with only ten wind power installations are now in danger
of being subjected to EIA. EIA should apply to projects involving the likelihood of a substantial impact on
the environment. Using wind energy is an important component of an energy policy geared to protecting
the climate and all the German states have adopted special rules ensuring that nature conservancy and
environmental issues are taken into account when identifying wind power sites. These rules have proved
their worth. Further action requiring an EIA to be carried out where only ten installations are involved
needs to be looked at and modified in the light of operating experience to date.

Is the Commission not also of the opinion that major importance must be attached to the utilisation of
wind power in tackling the problem of climatic protection and complying with the measures agreed
internationally at Rio and Kyoto to safeguard the climate?

What does it mean by the term ‘wind farms’ as regards the number of installations and the land area
involved (detailed figures please)?

How have individual Member States interpreted the term ‘wind farms’ in the EIA directive?

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