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C 46 E/92 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 13.2.

2001

(2001/C 46 E/095) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0962/00

by Gorka Knörr Borràs (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(29 March 2000)

Subject: Hazelnut production in Catalonia

Catalonia is, in Spanish and EU terms, a major producer of hazelnuts and other nuts. Over 90 % of Spain’s
total hazelnut production is concentrated in the region, and in some municipalities this production
accounts for as much 85 % of the cultivated area. Catalan hazelnuts now have to compete with those
from Turkey, the US and the countries of northern Africa  all of whose cheap hazelnuts have made large
inroads into the EU import market. Producers have had great difficulty in competing with these imports. In
recent years, the COM in fruits and vegetables has provided for a system of direct aids for hazelnuts
harvested in 1997-1998, 1998-1999 and 1999-2000, with a view to guaranteeing minimum income
levels for producers. The 1999-2000 harvest is the last one to receive Community aid, and this
circumstance will lead to a reduction in potential income for a large number of rural producers in
Catalonia.

Is the Commission aware of the importance of the hazelnut crop for Catalonia?

What measures does the Commission intend to take to guarantee that Catalan hazelnut producers’ income
levels will be maintained?

Does the Commission intend to ensure that the COM in fruits and vegetables includes provision for
renewing the direct aid to hazelnut production specified in Article 55 of Regulation (EC) 2200/1996 (1) for
1997-1998, 1998-1999 and 1999-2000?

(1) OJ L 297, 21.11.1996, p. 1.

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-0955/00 and E-0962/00
given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(10 May 2000)

The majority of the nut area in Catalonia has benefited from financial support for 10 years under the
provisions of Title IIa of Regulation (EEC) No 1035/72 of the Council of 18 May 1972 on the common
organisation of the market in fruit and vegetables (1) in order to improve nut productivity and competi-
tiveness. Community-wide expenditure on nuts in this scheme from 1990 to 1999 was € 725 million.
Further expenditure of over € 250 million for improvement plans still in operation is foreseen until 2006.

Nearly all the hazelnut area in Catalonia has benefited from the specific flat-rate aid for hazelnuts which
was granted for the period 1997-2000 under the provisions of Article 55 of Council Regulation (EC) No
2200/96 of 28 October 1996 on the common organisation of the market in fruit and vegetables (2).

These measures were always intended to be temporary and degressive, in order to allow a shift of financial
responsibility on to the growers.

Since 1997, aid is available for nuts and locust beans, as for all other products in the fruit and vegetable
sector, through the operational fund scheme of Council Regulation (EC) No 2200/96 which provides
financial support for all fruit and vegetables marketed through producer organisations.