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26.1.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/141

(2001/C 26 E/175) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0994/00
by Ioannis Souladakis (PSE) to the Commission

(31 March 2000)

Subject: Procedures for implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)

The recent adoption by the European Parliament of the Swoboda Report (1) on the negotiation of a
Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia establishes a
suitable framework guaranteeing the security and development of the country so as to allow FYROM
gradually to come into the European fold.

Will the Commission say what steps it intends to take next to implement in the near future all the
measures announced and promised in the Swoboda report for FYROM?

(1) Verbatim Report of Proceedings of 17 February 2000, p. 81.

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(23 May 2000)

The Commission has taken the necessary measures to ensure that Mr Swoboda’s report on a Stabilisation
and Association Agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) is swiftly
followed up.

Firstly, negotiations were quickly started. Following the adoption of the negotiating directives by the
Council (General Affairs) on 24 January 2000, the Commission organised the first session of formal
negotiations (attended by delegations from the Member States) on 5 April 2000 in Brussels. A second
session should take place by the end of June. At the same time, technical work meetings between the
Commission and the relevant FYROM ministries are being held. In line with Parliament’s recommendation,
the text drafted by the Commission contains a series of measures on regional cooperation. The Stabilisa-
tion and Association Agreement with FYROM will contain a future developments clause which will reflect
the EU’s position on integrating the countries of the Western Balkans into its structures, as stated at the
Cologne and Lisbon European Councils.

Furthermore, Community technical assistance to FYROM will also take into account the priorities set out
in the context of the stabilisation and association process, for example the approximation of legislation
and cooperation on justice and home affairs. Community technical assistance programming for the 2000
budget year already incorporates these new priorities, which will also be reflected in the new programme
to succeed Phare in the western Balkans. In addition, FYROM benefits greatly from the European initiative
on democracy and human rights (Chapter B7-70) which includes several projects concerning FYROM,
notably on the development of civil society, the media, and enhancing the rights of national minorities.

Lastly, in line with Parliament’s request, the Commission upgraded its representation in Skopje to the
status of a delegation.

(2001/C 26 E/176) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0997/00
by Neil MacCormick (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(30 March 2000)

Subject: International trade  victims of the banana war

Small firms in the Union engaged in producing bath produces and other toiletries remain under heavy
burdens resulting from delay in concluding the banana war and getting US punitive rates of import duty
abolished. Will the Council request the Commission to take urgent steps to bring this unsatisfactory
situation to an end?
C 26 E/142 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.2001

Reply

(8 June 2000)

The Council shares the concern expressed by the Honourable Member regarding the difficulties resulting
from the trade sanctions imposed by the US on the industry of the EU. Following the condemnation of
certain aspects of the EU banana regime by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body in April 1999, the USA
was given authorisation to suspend concessions to the value of $191.4 million, concerning a wide range of
EU products. Since then, the Commission has conducted intensive contacts with interested parties with a
view to putting forward a proposal, which would be generally accepted as resolving the dispute.

In absence of a solution acceptable to all parties, the Commission has submitted to the Council
in November 1999 a proposal amending the EC banana regime. The proposal, on which the European
Parliament has been invited to give its opinion, is currently under examination within the Council. This
document states that the discussions of the Commission with interested parties would continue during the
period in which the Council and the Parliament are examining the proposal. By the time the Council is
ready to take a decision, that is to say by the time Parliament expresses its opinion, the Commission will
make a report on the outcome of the discussions with the interested parties. Since November 1999, the
Commission reported to the Council at various occasions on the state of play concerning these discussions.
At its meeting on 20 March 2000, the Council (Agriculture) agreed to resume its examination of the
dossier when the Commission submits its report on the results of the negotiations with the third countries
concerned.

(2001/C 26 E/177) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1009/00
by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(31 March 2000)

Subject: Vocational training or welfare

The Vienna Summit of 11 and 12 December 1998 rejected both Italy’s employment plan, which was
deemed to be ‘welfare-oriented and ineffectual’, and its programme for vocational training, which was
dismissed as ‘non-existent’.

1. Did the European funds allocated to vocational training during 1999 do anything to change this
assessment or were they used according to the usual criteria, which were so harshly criticised?

2. Is it true, as maintained by a survey in an Italian weekly publication, that young people receive little
in the way of education and that only teachers and bureaucrats with the right connections are guaranteed
jobs and salaries?

3. Is it true that decisions on courses are taken not on the basis of labour market requirements but in
the light of the funds available?

4. Is there an effective control system capable of examining whether courses funded by the Union have
met their stated aims and analysing the cost-benefit ratio?

5. Will the Commission provide information on the funds provided to Italy for training in 1998 and
1999, together with the amounts scheduled for 2000, broken down by region?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(26 May 2000)

The Presidency conclusions of the Vienna European Council of 11/12 December 1998 dealt with the
national action plans (NAPs) in point 31 (1). These are addressed to all the Member States and not to Italy
in particular.