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C 26 E/142 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.



(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

(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.
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/143

The document setting out the Commission’s and the Council’s judgement on the Italian NAP is the Joint
employment report (JER) for 1998, which was adopted in the wake of the Vienna European Council (2).
Reference to the programme for vocational training may be found on the pages dedicated to Italy
(pp.86-89 of the JER for 1998)  the phrase ‘non-existant’ is not used.

1. The European social fund (ESF) has been allocated for the period 1994-1999, not just for 1999.
Some changes have been made to the programming mechanisms to bring the ESF in line with the
European employment strategy.

2. Young people are the most successful target group for ESF interventions. This means that the
expenditure and the coverage rate are very high.

3. Decisions on courses are taken by the responsible authorities, which are the region and the various
ministries involved in the management. Decisions on the allocation of funds to various projects are usually
based on the needs of the labour market.

4. Funds allocated from the ESF are the subject of control systems in the Member States and in the
Commission. Every intervention is the subject of an ex-ante visa from the Commission and by ex-post on-
the-spot controls made by the Court of auditors and by the Commission. Controls carried out by the
Member State authorities are carried out in the framework of its national legislation. The Commission also
carries out evaluations of the interventions in partnership with the Member States. These evaluations
involve cost and benefit analysis and show to what extent targets have been reached.

5. A decision on the funds allocation for the period 2000-2006 is foreseen in the first half of the year.
The Community resources devoted to objective 3 amount to € 3 888 million. As far as objective 1 is
concerned, the total amount of structural funds devoted to the southern regions amounts to € 22 122
million. For information on the previous programming period, 1994-1999, a useful tool is the Europa
website containing all the necessary information on the interventions in Italy (3).

(1) Document 00300/1/98.

(2001/C 26 E/178) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1013/00
by Andre Brie (GUE/NGL) to the Council

(6 April 2000)

Subject: Fatalities and injuries at the European Union’s external borders in 1997-1999

According to investigations by the non-governmental organisation UNITED for Intercultural Action, nine
hundred people died while attempting, in some cases illegally, to enter the European Union between
1 January 1997 and the end of 1999. Comparable figures were provided by other non-governmental
organisations (Antirassistische Initiative, Forschungsgesellschaft Flucht und Migration), although it should
be noted that they do not claim to be comprehensive.

In view of the fact that the number of fatalities has risen since the beginning of the 1990s and in the
knowledge that most EU Member States are increasing their (financial and technical) efforts to strengthen
protection at the relevant borders,

the Council is asked:

1. According to the Council’s information, from 1997 to 1999, how many people were found dead at
the land borders, coasts, ports and airports and in the border regions of the EU Member States, how
many inquests were opened on them and what were the findings of these inquests (please give

2. According to the Council’s information, from 1997 to 1999, how many people were picked up with
physical injuries (frostbite, hypothermia, suffering from hunger or thirst) sustained during their, in
some cases illegal, border crossing (please give details)?