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Official Journal of the European Communities

C 261 E/153

In the operational programmes for the period 2000-2006 for the Border, Midland and Western region (which includes Lough Swilly) and the Southern and Eastern region (which includes Kenmare Bay), the contributions from the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance (FIFG) for aquaculture are € 16,07 mil- lion and € 9,61 million respectively.

Both programmes detail their commitment to respect national and Community environment legislation including Directives 79/409/EEC (conservation of wild birds) and 92/43/EEC (conservation of natural habitats) and intend to vet projects by means of Environmental Impact Assessments.

Promotors seeking FIFG funding submit their requests to the Irish authorities which select those that meet the criteria laid down in the programmes and programme compliments for the period 2000-2006 (including compliance with environmental regulations). These projects are then submitted to a selection board appointed by the minister for final approval. The monitoring committees, with representatives from both national and regional authorities, (including environmental ones) as well as from the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, are informed of the projects selected for financing and supervise the implementation of the programmes.

As implementation of the programmes has only recently started, it is too early to determine yet whether aquaculture projects in the Lough Swilly and Kenmare Bay areas will be financed by the FIFG.

(2001/C 261 E/177)


by Elisabeth Schroedter (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(21 February 2001)

Subject: Refusal to let property to foreign nationals in Berlin

The Gemeinnützige Siedlungs und Wohnungsbauesellschaft Berlin (Berlin Community Residence and Building Association), belonging to the Land of Berlin, has rejected an application for a flat by an Iranian couple on the grounds that it only concludes long-term leases and is unable to consider applicants who have only limited term-residence permits for the Federal Republic of Germany.

Does the Commission consider that it is compatible with the principle of freedom of movement in the European Union for citizens of other countries holding a valid residence permit to be denied the right to accommodation in Germany because they are only in the country for a fixed period?

If not, what will the Commission propose that the German government do to ensure that the principle of freedom of movement is fully implemented in the Federal Republic of Germany?

Does the Commission consider that it is compatible with Article 13 of the Treaty establishing the European Union to deny the right of accommodation to persons holding a lawful residence permit in an EU Member State?

If so, on what grounds?

Does the Commission consider it compatible with Articles 21 and 45 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to deny the right of accommodation to persons holding a lawful residence permit in an EU Member State?

If so, on what grounds?

C 261 E/154

Official Journal of the European Communities



Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(10 April 2001)

According to the information provided by the Honourable Member, the reason for refusing to grant access to public housing to the third country nationals in the case in question was the absence of a permanent residence permit of the applicants involved.

Under current Community law, there is no Community instrument, which regulates the access of third country nationals to public housing ( 1 ). The October 1999 Tampere European Council stressed that the Union must ensure fair treatment of third country nationals who reside legally on the territory of its Member States. A more vigorous integration policy should aim at granting them rights and obligations comparable to those of Union citizens. It should also enhance non-discrimination in economic, social and cultural life and develop measures against racism and xenophobia. The implementation of this objective is the subject of a legislative agenda, specified in the Justice and Home Affairs Scoreboard ( 2 ), which the Commission presented to the Parliament and to the Council in March 2000.

The proposals which are envisaged by the Commission encompass measures on the admission and the rights and obligations of specific groups of third country nationals (long-term residents, workers, self employed persons, students, …). These instruments will pursue the aim of ensuring equality of treatment between third country nationals and nationals of the Member State concerned in a broad range of areas including access to housing. Rights of third country nationals will be differentiated according to the length of stay and the most coherent set of rights will be attributed to long-term resident third country nationals. This would be in line with the objectives set in Tampere and also with the idea, expressed by the Commission in its November 2000 ‘Communication on a Community Immigration Policy’ ( 3 ), that the rights enjoyed by third country nationals may be incremental and related to the length of stay.

As regards Article 13 of the EC Treaty, this provision allows the Community to take action to combat discrimination but it has no direct effect. It therefore does not grant individuals any right which can be enforced before national courts or the Court of Justice.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union ( 4 ), which has been proclaimed at the Nice European Council, is an instrument to verify respect for fundamental rights by the institutions and the Member States when they act under Union law. In the absence of Community legislation addressing specifically the access of third country nationals to public housing, the criticised German practice cannot be considered to conflict with the provisions of the Charter.

( 1 ) With the exception of third country members of the family of a citizen of the Union having exercised his right to freedom of movement. ( 2 ) Communication from the Commission to the Council and the Parliament Scoreboard to review progress on the creation of an area of ‘Freedom, security and justice’ in the European Union; (COM(2000) 167 final); (updated by the Biannual update (second half of 2000)) (COM(2000) 782 final). ( 3 ) Communication from the Commission to the Council and the Parliament on a Community immigration policy (COM(2000) 757 final). ( 4 ) OJ C 364, 18.12.2000.

(2001/C 261 E/178)


by Richard Howitt (PSE) to the Commission

(1 March 2001)

Subject: Applicability of European-approved specification EN1317 for safety barriers

Could the Commission comment on the enforceability of specification EN1317 in relation to road safety barriers in EU Member States? Are there any special issues relating to the United Kingdom, given difficulties experienced by Sistema Construction (UK) Limited in selling to the UK Highways Agency, which apparently apply a separate national standard?