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26.1.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/137

 decisions in the management committees, e.g. reduction of subsidies by modification of the quality
requirements for cereals;
 fixing of prices for agricultural products?

Does the Commission intend not to adhere to the financial planning adopted by the Berlin European
Council for the budget years 2000-2006 for Subsection B1-Agriculture and are the press reports,
indicating that the Directorate General for the Budget considers that these are ‘in no way inviolable’,
correct?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission
(15 May 2000)

The Commission is proposing a reduction in the ceiling for subheading 1.a. of € 300 million in each of
the years 2001 and 2002.

The latest estimates on expenditure under subheading 1.a. are for a non-utilised margin of € 400 million
for 2001. These are based on current legislation and the proposals already submitted by the Commission.
For 2002 the changes envisaged in the ‘sugar’ market organisation should yield a saving of the same
amount.

(2001/C 26 E/171) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0987/00
by Jo Leinen (PSE) to the Commission
(22 March 2000)

Subject: List of provisions for which unanimity is still required (reference: annex to the Commission’s
opinion of 26 January 2000 concerning the Intergovernmental Conference)

The co-rapporteur on the Intergovernmental Conference for the European Parliament’s Committee on
Constitutional Affairs asks the Commission
1. to justify its proposal for the long list of provisions on which unanimous votes would continue to be
taken, and especially Parts 2 (institutional decisions) and 4 (parallel internal and external decisions) and
2. to explain the arguments in relation to the fundamental question of how this proposal for the
perpetuation of unanimity in many areas is to be reconciled with the concept of the ‘governance’ of a
European Union of 28 or more Member States if each Member State is to continue to have a right of
veto even where details are concerned.

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission
(25 April 2000)

1. In its opinion of 26 January 2000 on the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) (1), the Commission
proposes that qualified majority be the general rule for decision-making. It has identified five categories of
provisions for which serious and lasting reasons warrant making an exception to the rule and maintaining
unanimity. The second category is that of essential institutional decisions and decisions affecting the
institutional balance, that is, important decisions relating to the organisation and functioning of the
Institutions. The fourth category comprises provisions enabling the Community to take external action in
areas where unanimity is maintained for internal action: this is the logic underlying parallelism, on which
Article 300 of the EC Treaty is based. The Commission is prepared to examine in detail, together with the
Honourable Member, the precise reasons for which the provisions given in Annex 1 to the opinion have
been placed in these categories. However, it does not regard this as a long list.

2. The Commission recalls that the provisions listed in Annex 1 of the opinion (‘List of provisions on
which unanimous votes would continue to be taken, by way of derogation from the principle of qualified-
majority voting’) are essentially institutional provisions and that it has proposed that almost all the legal
C 26 E/138 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.2001

bases on which the Community takes action in the various fields falling within its jurisdiction should
provide for decision-making by qualified majority in future. It regards its opinion as being very close to the
report on Parliament’s proposals for the IGC, adopted by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs (2),
which proposes that unanimity in the Council be confined to decisions of a constitutional nature
(cf. item25.3 of the motion for a resolution).

(1) Adapting the Institutions to make a success of enlargement  COM(2000) 34 final.
(2) Report A5-0086/2000 (Dimitrakopoulos/Leinen), adopted by the Committee on Constitutional Affairs on 24 March
2000.

(2001/C 26 E/172) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0988/00
by Neil MacCormick (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(22 March 2000)

Subject: Waste water and small creameries

Small creameries in peripheral parts of the Union will have short term difficulties in adjusting production
methods to satisfy requirements imposed under Community regulations and directives regulating waste
water. The problem of converting surplus whey into reusable protein is technically solvable but will take
time to yield a commercially viable process useable by small-scale producers. There will be quite
widespread damage to SMEs and farms and diminution of employment opportunities in peripheral areas
if creameries are forced to close. This will almost certainly happen if they have to meet new standards
immediately.

Will the Commission look favourably upon requests to defer full operation of the law in cases where
remoteness guarantees minimum ecological damage arising from such delay, and where production will
become prohibitively expensive if immediate implementation is demanded?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(25 April 2000)

At Community level, the discharge of waste water produced by the milk-processing industry is governed
by Directive 91/271/EEC on urban waste water treatment (1).

Article 13 of the Directive, adopted in 1991, provides that by 31 December 2000 biodegradable industrial
waste water from plants in certain industrial sectors, including the milk-processing industry, which does
not enter urban waste water treatment plants before discharge into receiving waters, must meet conditions
established by the competent authority or appropriate body in the Member State. This requirement
concerns discharges from plants representing biodegradable organic pollution of 4 000 p. e. or more (p.
e. = population equivalent, a unit of measurement corresponding to the average organic pollution
discharged per person each day into domestic waste water).

The requirements for the discharge of such waste water had to be set by the competent authority or
appropriate body by 31 December 1993 at the latest. Those in charge of the plants concerned will
therefore have had seven years to comply with the requirements. The Directive does not provide for any
possibility of extending the deadline.

There is no Community legislation governing discharges from industrial plants in the sectors covered by
the Directive which produce pollution of less than 4 000 p. e. The proposal for a Directive establishing a
framework for Community action in the field of water policy, presented by the Commission on
15 April 1997 (2), provides for the possibility of making discharges subject to prior authorisation in cases
where they are likely to have an adverse effect on the receiving waters.

(1) OJ L 135, 30.5.1991.
(2) OJ C 184, 17.6.1997.