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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.
C 26 E/102 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.2001

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(12 April 2000)

The Commission supports strongly the development and use of renewable energy sources, such as the use
of wind power and envisages a percentage of 12 % of final energy consumption by 2010. This will help
achieve the Kyoto target of minus 8 % and deal with other environmental problems such as acidification or
ozone. Obviously, wind-energy plays an important role in such strategies and was one of the fastest
growing industries in the Community in 1999. Using alternative methods for energy production does not
exclude, however, that such activities might have significant environmental impact in certain situations
which should be identified, assessed and taken into account in decision-making. The design and building of
wind-farms should take account of other environmental problems which might be encountered so one
environmental problem is not replaced by another. Such evaluation does not hamper or delay the use of
wind-energy but ensures an environmentally sound approach.

Directive 97/11/EC amending the first environmental impact assessment (EIA) Directive does not give
details concerning the notion ‘wind farms’. It is to be noted that the logic for all activities listed in annex II
of Directive 97/11/EC is that it is up to the Member States to determine the details (thresholds and criteria)
above which a significant environmental impact is likely to occur. Such determination might differ from
one Member State to another depending on specific characteristics. In some cases a wind-farm may consist
of at least two wind turbines only which might cause significant environmental impact (e.g. when being
placed close to a bird protected area) whereas in others several wind turbines might form a wind-farm.

As regards details of how the different Member States have transposed the notion ‘wind-farm’ in their
national legislation, it is to be noted that eight Member States, including Germany, still have not fully
transposed Directive 97/11/EC. The Commission therefore does not have all information necessary to
answer the question. According to available information ‘wind-farm’ is defined differently using a
combination of thresholds and criteria (e.g. The Netherlands: ‘where the overall capacity of wind-mills is
of 10 MW or more/year or 10 or more wind-mills’, United Kingdom: ‘the installation of more than
2 turbines or where the hub height of any turbine or height of any other structure exceeds 15 metres’;
Italy: at national level legislation all industrial plants producing power exploiting the wind are subject to
screening but if they fall in a nature conservation area they are automatically subject to environmental
impact assessment).

(2001/C 26 E/122) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0747/00
by Christopher Heaton-Harris (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(13 March 2000)

Subject: Jobs reliant on EU membership

The British government has stated that 3 445 000 jobs depend solely on exports to the EU. Is this
comparable with Commission estimates?

Has the Commission made any assessment of how many UK jobs would be at risk if Britain failed to
integrate further into the European Union?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(27 April 2000)

The Commission has not made an estimate of how many jobs in Britain depend solely on exports to the
Community. It would not therefore dissent from the estimate of the British government.