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C 110 E/44 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

The Commission has not, however, been informed of any fraud in part-financing under the European
Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Financial Instrument for the Environment (LIFE).

Regarding the work part-financed by the ERDF for the Laganas Maríne Park project in Zakynthos, the
Commission would point out that  in accordance with the subsidiarity principle  sole responsibility for
project selection and implementation rests with the Member States. The Commission therefore does not
hold comprehensive information, which is supplied only in the event of checks, and would ask the
Honourable Member to request that information from the managing authority for the Environment
operational programme (Evritania and Itea Street 2, 11523 Athens, telephone 010-6971700).

The Commission is not responsible for determining financial compensation in respect of the losses referred
to or for taking expropriation decisions. Expropriations are a matter for the national authorities in
compliance with national legislation. Expropriation costs may be eligible for part-financing by the
Structural Funds, subject to the conditions and limits stipulated in rule No 5 of Commission Regulation
(EC) No 1685/2000 of 28 July 2000 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council
Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 as regards eligibility of expenditure of operations co-financed by the
Structural Funds (1).

(1) OJ L 193, 29.7.2000.

(2003/C 110 E/045) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2354/02


by Michiel van Hulten (PSE) to the Commission
(31 July 2002)

Subject: European farm subsidy for the Netherlands royal family

According to a report in the Volkskrant newspaper on 16 July 2002 under the headline ‘Beatrix looks
forward to Balkenende’s arrival’, Queen Beatrix told a group of Members of the Netherlands Second
Chamber in February 1999 that the Netherlands royal house had received European subsidies for planting
an olive grove at the Netherlands royal family’s country estate at Porto Ercole in Italy.

1. Can the Commission confirm that the Netherlands royal house has received subsidies for planting an
olive grove at Porto Ercole, Italy?

2. Does the Netherlands royal house receive other kinds of European subsidies, from the agricultural
fund or from other funds (such as the European Social Fund)?

3. Is the subsidy to the Netherlands royal house granted under Article 33, paragraph 1(b) of the Treaty
of Rome, which says that one of the objectives of the common agricultural policy is ‘to ensure a fair
standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of
persons engaged in agriculture’? If not, on the basis of what objective was it paid?

4. Does the Commission agree that insofar as any financial aid is granted to the agriculture sector it
should be restricted to small farms with low incomes, and that even the ceiling of EUR 300 000 proposed
by Commissioner Fischler is too high in some cases?

5. Does the Commission share the view that a decision to grant a subsidy should at least be based on
an income and means test? Is it prepared to revise its plans accordingly?

(2003/C 110 E/046) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2413/02


by Michiel van Hulten (PSE) to the Commission
(7 August 2002)

Subject: Further questions concerning the agricultural subsidy granted to Queen Beatrix

On 18 July 2002 I put questions to the Commission concerning the subsidy which Queen Beatrix of the
Netherlands reportedly received in connection with the establishment of an olive grove at the Netherlands
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/45

Royal Family’s foreign residence in Porto Ercole, Italy. In the meantime, the Royal Family has informed me
that this project was carried out at the Queen’s farm in Tavernelle, Italy, and I therefore ask the
Commission to take account of that fact when answering my questions of 18 July 2002.

In response to press reports concerning my questions, a spokesman for the Queen has stated that she tried
to turn down the subsidy, but was unable to do so because of its ‘more or less automatic’ nature.

1. Can the Commission state what procedure was employed in connection with the grant of the
subsidy? Could the Queen have refused the subsidy? Are subsidies granted which are ‘more or less
automatic’ in nature?

2. Can the Commission confirm that the subsidy in question was a European one, and not a subsidy
granted under a national scheme and approved by Brussels, as suggested by a Commission spokesman on
19 July 2002?

3. What sum of money was granted per olive tree and how many olive trees did the Queen plant?

4. Was it a one-off subsidy, or did the Queen also receive similar subsidies in subsequent years?

Supplementary joint answer


to Written Questions E-2354/02 and E-2413/02
given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(21 October 2002)

1. Point 1 of Written Question E-2354/02 and points 1 to 4 of Written Question E-2413/02

Council Regulation (EC) No 1654/86 of 26 May 1986 (1) introduced a common measure for replanting
and converting olive groves in certain Community regions, in order to remedy the damage caused in 1985
by frosts of exceptional severity and length. Aid from the Guidance Section of the European Agricultural
Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) was granted in order to ensure the survival of farming and at the
same time prevent soil erosion and disruption of the hydrologic cycle, protect the environment and
preserve the countryside. In particular, collective replanting schemes covering a minimum area and
minimum number of farmer members of an agricultural cooperative or producer group or other
recognised association were eligible for support.

Each region covered by the measure drew up a programme: the one for Tuscany was approved by
Commission Decision 87/132/EEC of 26 January 1987 approving the special programmes drawn up by a
number of Italian regions for replanting and conversion of olive groves damaged by frost in 1985 under
Council Regulation (EEC) No 1654/86 (2), the aid being granted in part under that Regulation and in part
under national Law No 590 of 15 October 1981, amended by Law No 198 of 13 May 1985. The relevant
provisions of the latter were brought into play in Tuscany by the Regional Council’s Decision No 7852 of
22 July 1985 approving a regional scale for setting expenditure ceilings for replanting olive groves.

The Tuscan programme was supplemented by a replanting scheme contained in the integrated
Mediterranean programme for that region presented under Council Regulation (EEC) No 2088/85 of
23 July 1985 on integrated Mediterranean programmes (3). Covering the period 1 January 1987 to
31 December 1992, it was approved by the Commission by Decision 88/392/EEC of 13 June 1988 (4).

For the 1994-99 programming period Community aid could be granted in the form of Structural Fund
part-financing. The legal basis was Council Regulation (EEC) No 2052/88 of 24 June 1988 (5), as amended
by Council Regulation (EEC) No 2081/93 of 20 July 1993 (6), on the tasks of the Structural Funds and
their effectiveness and on coordination of their activities between themselves and with the operations of
the European Investment Bank and the other existing financial instruments. Among its purposes were to
promote rural development by speeding up adjustment of agricultural structures (Objective 5(a)) and
facilitating the development and structural adjustment of rural areas (Objective 5(b)).