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C 110 E/38 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.


(2003/C 110 E/037) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2267/02

by Astrid Lulling (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(24 July 2002)

Subject: Maltese wine and enlargement negotiations

How does the Commission intend to deal with the Special Market Policy Programme for Maltese
Agriculture (SMPPMA) aiming at introducing derogations to the ‘acquis communautaire’ in respect of wine

Specifically, how does the Commission view the Maltese Government’s wish to:

 subsidise the importation of grape-must (in particular from Italy)?

 allow indefinitely Maltese vintners to add sugar to meet minimum international alcohol specifications?

 interpret ‘on a less strict basis’ the rule on designation of origin of ‘Quality Wines Produced in the
Specific Region of Malta’ so as to extend it to wine made from a combination of imported grape-must,
grapes, sugar, etc?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(6 September 2002)

In the course of the accession negotiations, the Commission has constantly recalled its general negotiating
position that transitional arrangements should be exceptional and limited in time and scope. The
Commission seeks to ensure that such transitional arrangements do not involve amendments to the rules
or policies of the Union, disrupt their proper functioning, or lead to significant distortions of competition.

As regards the accession negotiations with Malta on the agriculture chapter, the Commission has applied
the same principles. It is therefore analysing all requests of Malta on a case by case basis, to assess whether
the specific conditions of Malta justify a special arrangement, and if this is the case, to find a solution
compatible with the acquis and the good functioning of the internal market.

In doing so, the Commission must also take into account the exceptional small scale of Malta’s agriculture,
the specific natural constraints of the island and the existing differences between producer prices for local
produce and Union produce. In view of these conditions, the Commission does not exclude some
temporary measures, with the aim to ensure a successful restructuring of the Maltese agriculture and its
sustainability in the framework of the Common Agricultural Policy.

As regards the wine sector in Malta, the Commission is considering Malta’s specific requests within the
same general guidelines. However negotiations are ongoing and it is still too early to assess their outcome.

(2003/C 110 E/038) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2269/02

by Frédérique Ries (ELDR) to the Commission

(24 July 2002)

Subject: European funding for cities bidding for ‘Capital of Culture’ status

Is it acceptable to the Commission that European funding (such as the Regional Development Fund) be
used by cities bidding for ‘Capital of Culture’ status between the years 2005-2019, for the preparation of
their bid, while other competing cities from the same Member State are perhaps not in receipt of such
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/39

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(24 September 2002)

The Commission draws attention to its reply to Written Question E-3490/01 from Mrs Kinnock (1).

Under the subsidiarity principle, selection of projects to be part-financed from the Structural Funds is the
responsibility of the national and regional managing authorities. This principle covers any use of these
resources for preparation of a European City of Culture bid.

Many programmes adopted contain measures aimed at boosting a region’s image and identity so leading to
attraction of outside investment and creation of new jobs. Accordingly the managing authorities may select
projects relating directly or indirectly to preparation of such a bid.

(1) OJ C 160 E, 4.7.2002, p. 122.

(2003/C 110 E/039) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2299/02

by Maurizio Turco (NI) to the Commission

(25 July 2002)

Subject: Explanations regarding the reply to Written Question E-1187/02 concerning the possible
involvement of the Vatican in agricultural fraud

From the reply of 2 July 2002 given to Written Question E-1187/02 (1) concerning the possible
involvement of the Vatican in agricultural fraud, it would appear that the EU anti-fraud office OLAF has
decided not to open an investigation, on the grounds that it has no information on the matter.

In the light of the above:

 Why did OLAF decide not to open an investigation; does this mean that OLAF did not inform the
Guardia di Finanza (the Italian tax and customs police) and/or the Italian judiciary of the matter?

 Is the Commission or OLAF aware that 800 tonnes of butter were exported to the Vatican by an
Austrian dairy?

 In this specific case, were export subsidies granted, and if so, what was the amount of those subsidies?

(1) OJ C 28 E, 6.2.2003, p. 81.

Answer given by Mrs Schreyer on behalf of the Commission

(26 September 2002)

The Commission has been provided with the following information by OLAF regarding the questions of
the Honourable Member:

1. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has contacted the Italian authorities. On the basis of the
information given by Italy and in light of the Italian-Vatican customs agreement governing the
Community trade with the Vatican, OLAF has considered that there are no grounds to start an

2. Yes.

3. Based on information received from the Austrian authorities, between 1996 and 2002 export refunds
in the total amount of EUR 1 544 079 were paid for a total quantity of 898,2 tons of butter.