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11.12.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 350 E/203

(2001/C 350 E/221) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1627/01


by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(12 June 2001)

Subject: Programme of aid for the conversion of tobacco production

Tobacco producers in several Greek regions are facing serious problems arising from EU policy on aid for
tobacco production, in particular for varieties which are considered to be of low quality and low market
value. A typical example is provided by regions in southern Etoloacarnania, where the Mavra and
Tsembelia varieties are grown, production of which is to cease in the coming years in accordance with
European Union plans.

Faced with constant falls in their incomes, tobacco producers in these regions are unable to convert to
other crops without appropriate aid. As a result, these areas are gradually becoming depopulated as young
people in particular are leaving, whilst workers in the tobacco processing sector are also being affected and
their jobs are under threat.

Aid should cover projects designed to tackle the insufficient availability or lack of water for irrigation,
measures to cut the costs of irrigation, the provision of technology and the development of research into
new substitute crops, the creation of commercial structures for new products to replace tobacco,
a minimum but adequate level of funding, etc. Such aid cannot be effective if it is restricted to measures
under the third CSF or agricultural development programmes (young farmers, compensatory payments,
etc.) and the common organisation of the market for tobacco (buying back of quotas).

Given that the Commission has adopted and financed specific programmes for sectors in crisis and
requiring restructuring in the past (Retex and Rechar), can it say whether it will look into the possibility of
adopting and financing a specific programme (perhaps to be named Retob) which would make it possible,
through infrastructure projects and training measures, to restructure production in tobacco-growing
regions which are facing problems and to provide aid for tobacco producers and for workers in the
tobacco industry?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(19 July 2001)

The Commission does not intend proposing or implementing any specific programme of the sort alluded
to by the Honourable Member.

It regards the instruments available for rural development as adequate for responding to the tobacco
sector’s problems in Greece. It is for the national and regional authorities to utilise the resources allocated
under the 2000-2006 programming for encouraging production diversification and integrated rural
development by fostering multiple-jobholding in country areas and to concentrate them on the sector’s
weak points in rural areas most dependent on tobacco-growing.

(2001/C 350 E/222) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1630/01


by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission

(12 June 2001)

Subject: White Paper on European Governance

Would the Commission provide a timetable, and explain the unacceptable delay, for the publication of
a Communication on future consultation with civil society, as referred to in the Plan of Action on the
implementation of the EU’s development co-operation policy?

How does the Commission intend to ensure that civil society will be consulted in full about this
Communication?
C 350 E/204 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 11.12.2001

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(26 July 2001)

The Commission has chosen the White Paper on governance to reinforce, and provide a political
framework for, its commitments to raising the quality of consultation with civil society and non-
governmental organisations. This approach is designed to enhance the impact of specific actions advocated
in the White Paper.

The preparatory work for the White Paper drew on the consultations held at the beginning of 2000 on the
discussion paper entitled ‘The Commission and non-governmental organisations: building a stronger
partnership’ and, in general, on the experience acquired by the Commission’s Secretariat-General with
regard to existing practice in consulting civil society.

The preparatory work for the White Paper also benefited from specific contributions from all the major
players in organised civil society, provided either spontaneously or in response to a request.

The White Paper will be accompanied by a detailed timetable setting out the various stages of
implementation. It will be the subject of wide-ranging discussions with all the parties concerned, including
representatives of civil society.

(2001/C 350 E/223) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1631/01


by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission

(12 June 2001)

Subject: White Paper on European Governance

Would the Commission clarify what steps it has taken to ensure that civil society is consulted in full about
the preparation of the White Paper on European Governance?

In this context, would the Commission clarify the role of the Working Group on Civil Society
Participation?

How does the Commission intend to ensure that earlier recommendations from civil society on how to
improve relations between the EU and NGOs will be fed into the discussions on the White Paper on
European Governance?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(26 July 2001)

External consultation, involving civil society, formed an important part of the preparatory work for the
White Paper on governance. In the spirit of good governance, a report on the consultations carried out by
all the working groups during the preparatory process will very shortly be available via the Europa
website: http://europa.eu.int/comm/governance/index_en.htm.

The members of the working group on the consultation and participation of civil society and regional and
local players have conducted hearings collectively and taken part individually in events organised by civil
society players in connection with the preparation of the White Paper.

The main feedback from non-governmental organisations is set out in the report on the consultation
process and was duly taken into account in drawing up the recommendations in the governance White
Paper.