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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 235 E/11

(2001/C 235 E/014) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3660/00

by Andrew Duff (ELDR) to the Commission

(27 November 2000)

Subject: Enforcement of fishing rules

Recent reports have shown that European fishing vessels have been fishing off the west African coast
inside national waters. This is bringing about a fall in fish stocks available for the local population and
posing a danger to local fishermen, who have been hit by large fishing vessels.

Is the Commission aware of this situation? What action is the Commission taking with countries in the
region to prevent illegal fishing inside national waters? What measures can be taken to bring legal action
against illegal fishing by European vessels in third country waters?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(5 January 2001)

The Commission thanks the Honourable Member for his question and informs him that, although the
surveillance of the territorial waters and of those of the exclusive economic zone is the responsibility of
the national authorities of the control States concerned, the Commission does whatever it can to assist
them in combating these illegal practices.

To this end, Fisheries Agreements concluded with African countries, which constitute the legal framework
for Community fishermen operating in the area, clearly define conditions for licences, authorised fishing
gear, catch reporting, closed areas, and so on.

Moreover, the financial compensation paid to third countries in exchange for fishing possibilities often
includes an element which aims at developing the third country’s own fisheries research and control

The Commission is also doing its utmost to encourage the countries with which it has Fisheries
Agreements to make ‘State-to-State agreements’ and reduce the number of ‘private licences’ given to single
vessels/ship owners. In fact, ‘private licences’ often adversely affect the utilisation of fishing possibilities
allocated in the framework of the Fisheries Agreements and therefore their sound financial management.
Furthermore, the absence of control of this type of fishery or its very limited scope is detrimental to fish

It should be noted that illegal fishing activities are mainly carried out by either pirate vessels or by vessels
flying flags of convenience, not by Community vessels.

The Commission is committed to the development of the Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO)
international plan of action to curb illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. In this plan, the main
objectives of the Community are to implement the existing international legal instrument, such as the
Compliance Agreement, and to fill the loopholes in international law, in particular concerning access to
ports. This plan should be presented to the FAO committee of fisheries (COFI) in February 2001.

(2001/C 235 E/015) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3668/00

by Mihail Papayannakis (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(27 November 2000)

Subject: Development of railway network in Greece

The development of a modern railway network is an important priority in development programmes

throughout the European Union and particularly in those concerning Greece, and there are obvious
C 235 E/12 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.8.2001

economic, regional and environmental reasons for this. However, particularly in Greece there have been
unacceptable delays and substantial cost overshoots in the projects that had been planned (tunnels, stations
in the Thriasian Plain, the Athens-Corinth line, etc.).

How does the Commission view these constant delays and cost overshoots, in view of the fact that these
do not appear to be in keeping with present Community law on public contracts and the awarding of such
contracts? How does the Commission intend to intervene so that the Greek railway development
programme is reviewed and brought into line with the priorities agreed with the Greek Government?

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(28 February 2001)

The Commission attaches great importance to the development of a modern rail network in Greece.
During the period 1989-2006, this sector should receive investment of some € 3 billion from Community
funds plus a national contribution of approximately € 2 billion.

The Greek authorities and the Commission are aware of the problems encountered both in carrying out
work on restructuring and improving the services provided by the body responsible for the Greek railways
(OSE) and in the carrying out of infrastructure projects by the subsidiary company created in 1977 to
manage them (Ergose). These have meant that the results initially expected with regard to rail transport in
Greece have not been obtained.

The Greek authorities are currently examining the measures which will have to be taken by these two
agencies to rectify this situation. These measures should include both the restructuring of Ergose and OSE
to make them more effective and compliance with Community and national law on public procurement. It
has also been clearly established that whenever the legislation in force has not been respected, related
expenditure will not be eligible under the Community Funds.

(2001/C 235 E/016) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3703/00

by Theresa Villiers (PPE-DE) to the Council

(30 November 2000)

Subject: Draft Charter of Fundamental Rights

Protocol 9 to the Treaty of Amsterdam (which relates to the role of national parliaments) requires that
a full economic impact statement should be provided wherever new legislation is contemplated. Since the
draft Charter of Fundamental Rights clearly proposes new initiatives which could impact on a national
level (e.g. national works councils) why has Protocol 9 not been complied with?

Europe purports to be competing with trading blocks such as Japan and the US, but in reality will such
initiatives not run counter to the spirit of Lisbon? Will they not effectively fetter the competitiveness of EU
undertakings on world markets, by adopting social practices which can only be adversely reflected in the
price and competitiveness of our goods abroad?


(7 May 2001)

1. The Council would draw the Honourable Member’s attention to the fact that Protocol No 9 on the
role of national parliaments in the European Union contains no obligation such as that referred to in the
question. It would emphasise that the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is not
a ‘Commission proposal for legislation’ to which the Protocol could apply.