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C 53 E/110 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 20.2.


Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(19 May 2000)

As stated in the reply to the Written Questions P-0179/00 by Mr de Roo (1) and E-330/00 by Mr Meijer (2)
the Commission has sent a letter to the Netherlands requesting information about the application of
Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds (3) and Council Directive
92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna (4) with
regard to the Biesbosch. The Biesbosch has been designated as a special protection area (SPA) within the
meaning of Directive 79/409/EEC and has been proposed as an area of special Community interest (SCI)
within the meaning of Directive 92/43/EEC as well.

In its letter the Commission asked the Netherlands for information on whether an appropriate assessment
as defined in Article 6(3) of Directive 92/43/EEC has been made concerning the effects that the project
could have on the Biesbosch and if so, what are the results of it. The Commission also asked whether it
has obtained the opinion of the general public.

The Commission has not yet received a reply from the Netherlands and it is now overdue. Therefore it has
sent a further letter to the Netherlands requesting a reply as soon as possible.

Until the Commission has been informed about the results of the assessment it is not able to judge the
applicability of Directive 79/409/EEC and Directive 92/43/EEC, in particular Article 6(4) of the last
mentioned Directive, to the project in question.

The application of Directive 79/409/EEC and Directive 92/43/EEC is primarily the responsibility of the
Member State that is concerned. The Commission’s only responsibility is to check whether the Member
State has respected the requirements of those Directives.

The requirements of Article 6(4) of Directive 92/43/EEC only apply if the results of the assessment that is
meant in Article 6(3) of the Directive show that the project will have significant effects on the Biesbosch.
At the moment the Commission has no indication that action has to be taken as suggested in the question
in advance of receiving the reply from the Netherlands. It has not yet received any indication that an
infringement of Directive 79/409/EEC or Directive 92/43/EEC has already taken place.

(1) OJ C 330 E, 21.11.2000, p. 99.

(2) OJ C 330 E, 21.11.2000, p. 129.
(3) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979.
(4) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(2001/C 53 E/140) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1231/00

by Camilo Nogueira Román (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(14 April 2000)

Subject: Hydroelectricity production in the Ulla river basin (Galicia)

The Galician regional government, through its autonomous body Aguas de Galicia, is studying the
application made by the electricity company Unión Fenasa S.A. for authorisation to exploit the entire
Ulla river basin. The project submitted by the electricity company entails the construction of 12 dams
which would seriously alter the natural features of the river basin, if authorisation is granted. In some
cases, the linking of marshland areas could lead to the complete disappearance of large stretches of the
river bed (dams 1, 2 and 3 on the river Ulla). In other cases, the project entails diverting the river bed
through channels (dam 14 on the river Deza). The project is opposed by local people, who have submitted
5 000 complaints to Aguas de Galicia calling for it to be rejected.
20.2.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 53 E/111

The project poses a particularly serious problem for the following reasons:

1. At the same time as it was studying the application for hydroelectricity production (already at a fairly
advanced stage), the Galician government’s environmental department, by decision of 28 October
1999, designated the Ulla-Deza river system a natural area which should enjoy general protection with
a view to its inclusion in the Natura 2000 network;

2. The river area is covered by the Leader-Protodemouras (I, II) programme, which receives Community
funding with a view to enhancing the area’s rural and ecological tourism potential. The destruction of
this key natural site (which provided the justification for the investment under the Leader II
Community initiative) would constitute fraud against the European Union;

3. The project also constitutes a serious threat to the area’s historical and cultural heritage, in particular
the site of the Romanesque monastery at Carboeiro, which is situated near the Way of St James;

4. From the point of view of energy production, the Ulla project is irrelevant for Galicia, where much
larger hydroelectric power stations are already in operation.

Can the Commission take the necessary steps with a view to ensuring that the Spanish state and the
Galician government prevent the destruction of the Ulla-Deza river basin and investigating the possible use
of Community funds in financing the Unión Fenasa S.A. hydroelectricity project?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(13 June 2000)

The Commission was not aware of the situation to which the Honourable Member refers.

The Ulla-Deza river system has been identified by the Spanish authorities as a site of Community
importance for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network under Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992
on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. (1)

The Commission has asked the Spanish authorities for their observations in order to determine whether
the project is likely to have a significant impact on the site in view of the objectives of the said Directive,
in which case the provisions of Article 6 thereof must be applied.

In any event, as guardian of the Treaties the Commission will take the necessary measures to ensure that
Community law is complied with in the case in question.

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(2001/C 53 E/141) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1237/00

by Jan Andersson (PSE) to the Commission

(10 April 2000)

Subject: Sweden’s position in relation to EMU under the Treaties

At a press conference in Stockholm on 3 April, Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou said that a ‘no’ vote
in a referendum on EMU in Sweden would not in any way affect Sweden’s obligations under the Treaties.
The Commissioner’s statement may be seen as representing a change of position in comparison with
previous statements by the Commission, which indicated that, under the Treaties, Sweden did not have the
right to remain outside monetary union.

Can the Commission clarify its official position on Sweden’s obligations under the Treaties in relation to
monetary union?