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17.4.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 92 E/215

In 1998, WTO Members adopted ‘Disciplines on Domestic Regulation in the Accountancy Sector’
(document No S/WPPS/W/21). These are to be applicable to Members who scheduled specific
commitments for accountancy at the conclusion of the current round of negotiations. They are intended
to facilitate trade in accountancy services by ensuring that domestic regulation affecting trade in
accountancy services meets the requirements of General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Article
VI:4. Basically, they consist of a set of rules aimed at ensuring that regulations are transparent and
administrative procedures predictable, reasonable and objective. However, they do not establish, or aim to
establish, any international harmonisation of accountancy rules and regulations.

(1) Fourth Council Directive 78/660/EEC of 25 July 1978 based on Article 54(3)(g) of the Treaty on the annual
accounts of certain types of companies, OJ L 222, 14.8.1978.
(2) Seventh Council Directive 83/349/EEC of 13 June 1983 based on Article 54(3)(g) of the Treaty on consolidated
accounts, OJ L 193, 18.7.1983.
(3) First Council Directive 68/151/EEC of 9 March 1968 on coordination of safeguards which, for the protection of the
interests of members and others, are required by Member States of companies within the meaning of the second
paragraph of Article 58 of the Treaty, with a view to making such safeguards equivalent throughout the
community, OJ L 65, 14.3.1968.
(4) Regulation (EC) No 1606/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 July 2002 on the application
of international accounting standards, OJ L 243, 11.9.2002.

(2003/C 92 E/275) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2849/02


by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(4 October 2002)

Subject: Recognition of D’Hoppebos as a habitat conservation area

The Natura 2000 network, created by the Commission on the basis of the Habitats Directive (92/43/
EEC (1)) and the Birds Directive (79/409/EEC (2)), establishes areas of Europe where the protection and
conservation of the biological diversity of fauna and flora are the highest priority.

In Belgium, two conservation areas in particular have been, or are being, put forward by the Walloon and
Flemish regions:

 the Pottelberghbos, which the Walloon region intends to propose,

 the Brakelbos, which was proposed in 1996 by the Flemish region,

However, it is striking that D’Hoppebos (which forms part of the same habitat area as the abovementioned
woods) has not been put forward as a conservation area by the Walloon region. Splitting up the area in
this way negates the efforts made by the Commission. The region is only habitable for protected species if
the various woods are treated as a single, connected area. In the case of a number of species, this is even
an essential condition for their survival.

Furthermore, D’Hoppebos has for years been used as a waste dump by the Fort-Labiau group. The
company recently applied for a ten-year extension of its environmental permit for the dump. The results of
various analyses included in the official environmental impact report show that both groundwater and
surface water have been polluted by numerous chemical substances. Since the adoption of the Habitats
Directive, conditions in this natural habitat have significantly deteriorated. The waste dump presents a flaw
which has affected some 20 ha of woodland. A road whose foundations are partly made of waste has been
built barely a few tens of metres away from the Brakelbos.

In the light of the provisions of the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive, do the above facts constitute
sufficient grounds for instituting a bilateral consultation procedure between the Commission and the
Member States pursuant to Article 5(1)?
C 92 E/216 Official Journal of the European Union EN 17.4.2003

Was Community financing for Walloon structural funds not suspended in the autumn on the grounds that
lists of areas submitted were incomplete? Would it not therefore be appropriate to include the D’Hoppebos
in the relevant list?

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


(2) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p. 1.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(25 October 2002)

The bilateral concertation procedure the Honourable Member refers to and which is provided for in
Article 5(1) of Directive 92/43/EEC (1) only applies in exceptional cases where the Commission finds that a
list of sites proposed by a Member State fails to mention a site hosting a priority natural habitat type or
priority species which, on the basis of relevant and reliable scientific information, it considers to be
essential for the maintenance of that priority natural habitat site or for the survival of that priority species.
In the case referred to by the Honourable Member, the Commission has insufficient scientific information
to conclude that the procedure needs to be applied.

As regards D’Hoppebos being proposed as a site of Community importance under Article 4(1) of Directive
93/43/EEC, the Commission has yet to receive formal communication of the new list of sites adopted by
the Walloon Government on 27 September 2002 and so is unable, at present, to check whether that
Government has proposed the wood as a potential site of Community importance under the Directive. It
should also be noted that it falls to the Member State to apply the selection criteria set out in Annex III to
the Directive. These relate in particular to the representativeness, surface area and degree of conservation
of the natural habitats present on the site in question, and to the populations of species present. The
Member State has a margin of appreciation in applying these criteria. On the basis of the information
supplied by the Honourable Member, the Commission is unable to judge whether the Walloon
Government has misused its discretionary power in applying the site selection criteria by failing to
propose the site in question as a site of Community importance.

The Commission recently received a complaint concerning the operation of a waste burial centre on the
site in question. In this context, it could ask the Walloon Government to provide it with due evidence that
the provisions of Article 6(3) of Directive 93/43/EEC regarding assessment of the implications of plans or
projects on sites protected by the Directive have been complied with.

The Commission can confirm that the Member of the Commission responsible for Regional Policy wrote
on 14 June 2001 to the Minister-President of the Walloon Region, informing him of his decision to
instruct the Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional Policy to suspend payments for two measures
in the Hainaut 2000-2006 Objective 1 Single Programming Document (SPD), liable, through their
potential impact on the territory, to damage possible Natura 2000 sites. This suspension will be lifted as
soon as the Walloon Region sends the Commission its list of Natura 2000 sites.

(1) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.

(2003/C 92 E/276) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2885/02


by Brice Hortefeux (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(14 October 2002)

Subject: Civil defence

With the end of the Cold War and the feeling that the threat of conflict has receded, countries in the West
have considerably reduced their spending on civil defence. The terrorist attacks on New York and
Washington showed up serious deficiencies in their arrangements for defending the civilian population.