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C 28 E/202 Official Journal of the European Union EN 6.2.

2003

(2003/C 28 E/230) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2198/02


by Kathleen Van Brempt (PSE) to the Commission

(19 July 2002)

Subject: Proposal for a Directive on environmental liability  impact on SMUs

Would the Commission kindly answer the following questions concerning the proposal for a directive on
environmental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental damage (1)?

Has it investigated the impact that the operation of the future market in environmental liability insurance
under this directive will have on the competitive position of SMUs vis-à-vis large undertakings?

To what conclusions did the investigations come?

If the operation of the future market in environmental liability insurance results in a comparative
disadvantage for SMUs vis-à-vis large undertakings, does the Commission take the view that measures
would need to be taken in order to restrict that negative impact to a minimum? What measures would
need to be taken to that end?

(1) COM(2002) 17, OJ C 151 E, 25.6.2002, p. 132.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(10 September 2002)

The Commission has assessed the economic impact of the proposal for a Directive of the Parliament and
of the Council on enviromnental liability with regard to the prevention and remedying of environmental
damage (1). The Honourable Member is referred in particular to section 4, entitled ‘The economic
assessment of the proposal, its benefits and costs’, of the Explanatory Memorandum to the proposal, and to
the Impact Assessment Form attached to the proposal.

No impact assessment has been specifically made for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) since
environmental damage might be caused irrespective of the size of a business.

It does not seem that the operation of any future market in environmental liability insurance would result
in a comparative disadvantage for SMEs vis-à-vis large undertakings. The level of the premium to be paid
by the operator would depend on the level of risk presented by each undertaking. This level of risk should
be assessed by the insurer on an individual basis. This assessment is likely to take into account the quality
and efficiency of the risk aversion and prevention policy measures implemented by each operator. In other
words, all efforts taken by an operator to prevent or at least minimise the risks of occurrence of accidents
capable of causing environmental damage should reduce the amount of the premium to be paid. It should
also be noted that it is common practice in the insurance industry to fix the premium as a function of the
turnover of the insured undertaking. Such a practice appears to be in the interest of the SMEs.

On the basis of the above-mentioned considerations, the Commission is not of the opinion for the time
being that particular measures specifically designed for SMEs are needed.

(1) COM(2002) 17 final, OJ C 151, 25.6.2002.

(2003/C 28 E/231) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2216/02


by Ioannis Marínos (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(22 July 2002)

Subject: Commission study of petroleum deposits in the EU

According to the Greek newspaper ‘TA NEA’ (9 March 2002), the Italian oceanographic vessel, the
‘Urania’, has discovered a large petroleum deposit in the Gavdos area to the south of Crete. Using an