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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 261 E/107

(2001/C 261 E/112) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0398/01

by Juan Naranjo Escobar (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(15 February 2001)

Subject: EU funding to widen the Panama Canal

After its first year of operation, it was realised that the Panama Canal, which is under the sovereignty of
Panama, would reach saturation point by the year 2010 unless the necessary investments were made and
that its importance for the sea freight sector would decline considerably.

At present the canal is being widened under a one billion dollar project which began in 1996 and will be
completed in 2005. However, to meet future requirements, and in particular to enable post-Panama ships
to pass through the canal, an investment of at least 5 billion dollars will be required, a massive sum for the
country concerned.

In the interests of world trade and the influence exerted by the EU in the region, which is a strategically
important enclave, does the Commission think it would be appropriate to propose ways of providing
funding for Panama to complete the widening project needed for the canal, which will cost almost 5 billion
US dollars?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(27 March 2001)

The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s opinion that the development and security of the
Panama Canal are of considerable importance to the Community.

For this reason the Commission previously financed a technical study on the canal’s development prospects
and contributed to the Universal Congress.

However, it is not up to the Commission to offer Panama funding to widen the canal, especially since
Panama has not sought it.

The cost of the work referred to in the Honourable Member’s question far exceeds the financing
possibilities not only of the Community Cooperation Programme with Panama, but also other Community
organisations such as the European Investment Bank (EIB).

(2001/C 261 E/113) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0399/01

by Luis Berenguer Fuster (PSE) to the Commission

(15 February 2001)

Subject: Negotiations with the Spanish Government concerning the opening of proceedings in respect of
state aid to Spanish electricity companies

It was reported in the media that proceedings were to be brought in connection with the state aid given to
Spanish electricity companies cover the costs of transition to competition. However, the efforts made by
Vice-President de Palacio succeeded in delaying the case. January has now gone by without proceedings
being opened, whether because of Mrs de Palacio’s efforts or for other reasons.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Monti stated during the Davos Summit that progress was being made in
negotiations with Spain on the subject. In addition, it has been announced that as a consequence of the
merger between Endesa and Iberdrola the CTC could be waived.
C 261 E/108 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 18.9.2001

Is there any reason other than the pressure brought to bear by Mrs de Palacio why the proceedings have
not been opened?

What progress has been made in the negotiations with the Spanish Government?

Has the Spanish Government indicated that it intends to amend the legal provisions governing CTC?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 2001)

1. In the case of the costs of transition to competition (‘CTC’) arrangements in the Spanish electricity
sector, as in cases of stranded costs in electricity sectors in the other Member States, the Commission
thinks it more appropriate to await the judgment of the Court of Justice in Case C-379/98 (1) before taking
any decision. The judgment was delivered on 13 March 2001. It still needs to be examined in detail from
the point of view of the assessment of stranded costs.

2. The progress consists in the fact that the Spanish authorities have taken note of a number of points
put forward by the Commission in the context of its examination of the case.

3. The Spanish authorities adopted a decree-law on 2 February 2001 amending in particular the sixth
transitional provision of Spanish Electricity Sector Act No 54/1997 of 27 November 1997. The new
decree-law contains two elements of importance to the Commission: first, the removal of the securitisation
and second, the fact that the CTC payments will no longer be funded by levies on imported electricity.

(1) PreussenElektra AG v. Schleswag AG.

(2001/C 261 E/114) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0400/01

by Rosa Miguélez Ramos (PSE) to the Commission

(15 February 2001)

Subject: Routing of the ‘Atlantic highway’ through Porriño

In its answer to my Written Question P-1736/00 (1), the Commission stated on 22 June 2000 that it had
decided to launch an investigation into the decision taken by the Spanish Ministry of Public Works and the
concessionaire enterprise to route the ‘Atlantic highway’ through the district of Porriño (Pontevedra, Spain)
close to the Gándaras de Budiño lagoon, an area proposed for inclusion in the Natura 2000 network and
already included in the register of natural habitats in Galicia.

What results have been achieved by the abovementioned investigations?

What questions has the Commission asked the Spanish Government, further to its answer to the
abovementioned question, and what replies has it received?

Is Community law being observed, in particular Council Directive 92/43/EEC (2) on the conservation of
natural habitats?

(1) OJ C 53 E, 20.2.2001, p. 183.

(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.