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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 261 E/35

The list of its administrators, the name of its management auditor and of its board of management are
being sent directly to the Honourable Member and to the Parliament’s Secretariat.

GERTH operates as follows: the grouping co-ordinate administrative and financial queries on projects of a
scientific nature.

GERTH is involved in the preparation of projects and in the dissemination of results.

4. Lists of the projects carried out by GERTH between 1990 and 1998 are being sent directly to the
Honourable Member and to the Parliament’s Secretariat.

(2001/C 261 E/035) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0051/01

by Joaquim Miranda (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(22 January 2001)

Subject: Environmental impact of the construction of a road in Arouca (Portugal)

A call to tender is about to be issued for the construction of a road to create the Feira/IC2/Arouca link in
the district of Aveiro in Portugal.

It will be an essential road link and the Portuguese Government has submitted or will be submitting an
application to the Commission to fund the project.

However, the route of the road, in particular a section approximately two kilometres long in the valley of
the river Arda, is facing great opposition, not least from various local organisations, since it will clearly
have an adverse effect on the environment and landscape.

Furthermore, an environmental impact assessment already carried out indicates that in the section of the
route referred to the occupation of the land alongside the river Arda will have a significant impact.

Nevertheless, not only are the authorities insisting on building the section of road, but have found a way
of circumventing national and Community legislation on the subject, which in particular make environ-
mental impact studies compulsory. This is the only explanation for the fact that a separate project for a
distance of 9,9 kilometres (which includes the disputed section) is being drawn up, even though it is part
of a road the total length of which is more than 30 kilometres.

In view of the above, can the Commission say:

1. whether or not it already knows about this situation and whether or not it has received an application
for funding for the project;

2. how it intends to react in view of the environmental impact of building this stretch of road; whether
or not it will make funding for it subject to consideration of the environmental impact studies carried
out on it, and whether it accepts that the road project is being split up to prevent these studies from
being taken into account?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(7 March 2001)

The Feira/IC2/Arouca road construction project is the subject of a complaint lodged with the Commission.
It is being investigated at present. If it is found that there has been an infringement of Community
legislation, the Commission will obviously draw the necessary conclusions with regard to future Com-
munity funding.
C 261 E/36 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 18.9.2001

In addition, according to information received from the Portuguese authorities, this project has not been,
up to this point, presented to the Commission for co-funding either under the Structural Funds or under
the Cohesion Fund.

On first analysis, it was found that it appears to concern a project for a two-lane road covered by point
10(d) of Annex II to Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of
certain public and private projects on the environment, (1) as amended by Council Directive 97/11/EC of
3 March 1997. (2) An environmental impact assessment under the terms of this Directive is, in principle,
left to the Member States to carry out.

Nevertheless, this does not mean that the Member States have complete discretionary power, this being
limited by Article 2 of the abovementioned Directive. The Member States have to take the necessary steps
to ensure that projects likely to have significant effects on the environment are subject to both a request
for development consent and an impact assessment procedure before any permits are granted.

If necessary, the Commission will ask the Portuguese authorities, as part of the above investigation, for
further details on how the impact assessment procedure for the project in question was carried out.

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985.

(2) OJ L 73, 14.3.1997.

(2001/C 261 E/036) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0073/01

by Nicholas Clegg (ELDR) to the Commission

(22 January 2001)

Subject: Nuclear safety

Does the European Commission have any plans to cut back the number of nuclear inspectors at the
Euratom office?

If so, does not the Commission agree that such a cutback might compromise safety and lower standards at
a time when the public and politicians are becoming increasingly aware of the danger of uranium and
plutonium being diverted into military rather than civil use?

Does not the Commission also agree that any reduction in standards might put the EU at risk of violating
international agreements and European law?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(19 March 2001)

In the framework of the reform process the Commission is undertaking a comprehensive review of all
activities of its Services including the Euratom Safeguards Office. It is intended that a high level expert
group will be established to analyse the activities of the Office in line with its obligations under the
Euratom Treaty and to make recommendations regarding goals and objectives to be achieved.

The Commission takes this opportunity to clarify that the activities of the Euratom Safeguards Office
devolve from the rights and obligations of the Commission in relation to nuclear safeguards, as provided
for under Chapter 7 of the Euratom Treaty, rather than nuclear safety.