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C 110 E/62 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

In view of the fact that there have been a series of disastrous events (in particular drought) over the last
few years, which have jeopardised harvests and brought the Sicilian economy to its knees, the only means
of subsistence for farmers has been, precisely, EU income support, minimal though it is. In view of the
situation outlined above, it is clear how important supplementary aid is for farmers.

Can the Commission say whether it intends to reduce by 27 % the supplementary payment to farmers,
which would thus fall from the present EUR 344,5 per hectare to EUR 250 per hectare?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(9 October 2002)

The Honourable Member will certainly be aware of the Court of Auditors’ recommendations in its 1997
report and of the assessment made by independent experts who examined the effectiveness of the support
granted for durum wheat following the 1992 reform. The Commission took both of these into
consideration in its mid-term review (1), which proposes a reduction from EUR 344,5 to EUR 250 per
hectare (over a three-year period) in the supplementary compensatory payment to durum wheat growers
in traditional areas.

To promote quality production a new aid of EUR 15 per tonne is also proposed for durum wheat for
industrial processing grown under a sale contract requiring observance of certain quality standards.

As far as disastrous events (drought) are concerned, the Honourable Member should note that the
supplementary durum wheat aid of EUR 250/ha will count for the purpose of calculating the single
decoupled aid to be paid to farmers. This will ensure them greater flexibility of resources when events of
this type occur.

In addition, following the exceptional drought in the Mezzogiorno, Sardinia and Sicily the Commission
this summer authorised Italy to pay in advance (from 26 August 2002) a maximum of 50 % of the 2002/
03 area aid payments for arable crops, the durum wheat supplement included.

(1) COM(2002) 394 final.

(2003/C 110 E/065) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2504/02


by Konstantinos Hatzidakis (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(3 September 2002)

Subject: Severe problems in the agricultural sector as a result of a natural disaster in Crete

Last week a natural disaster hit Crete, causing the widespread destruction of agricultural crops, particularly
raisin crops in the regions of Iraklion, Rethimnon and Hania.

Knowing that:

 there is a possibility of covering the damages from national resources (ELGA), provided that the
Commission gives the relevant authorisation;

 part of the funding could be covered by resources from the operational programme for rural
development under the CSF (through reallocation of resources or use of reserves).
1. What proposals has Greece submitted regarding compensation for producers hit by this natural
disaster?
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/63

2. What possibilities are available for compensation of the producers affected via the Community
Support Framework in this particular case?
3. What developments have there been regarding the use of CSF resources to compensate farmers
for the blizzard at the beginning of the year in Greece? Has the Greek Government provided any
notification of the damages (Question E-0057/02 (1))?

(1) OJ C 160 E, 4.7.2002, p. 174.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(22 October 2002)

1. The Greek Government has informed the Council for Agriculture and Fisheries on the 23rd of
September 2002 on the impact on agricultural production of the adverse weather conditions that affected
regions in Greece including, in particular, the cultivation of grapes and the raisins production in the
departments of Heraclion, Rethymnon and Chanion in Crete during the month of August 2002. Moreover,
the Greek Government has stated its intention to submit a request for relevant compensation to the
European Commission, by using the appropriate channels and possibilities for compensation foreseen
under the current regulatory framework.

2. Depending on the importance of these damages, Community solidarity and funding may be used to
overcome as soon as possible the problems rural areas are confronted to and to rebuild production
potential. This applies as well for the production of raisins that may have been more vulnerable to these
adverse weather conditions during the summer period.

It is not up to the Commission to take measures for the compensation of the affected rural areas and
population but up to Greece to submitted relevant requests within the context of the current programmes
and mechanisms of the 3rd Community Support Framework (2000-2008) for Greece.

European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) contribution should be designated within
the total financial allocation attributed for structural funds intervention to Greece within the programming
period 2000-2006 by redefining of the programme’s priorities approved by the Commission. The current
‘National Operational Programme  Rural Development (2000-2006)’ for Greece with a total financial
allocation of EUR 1 233,42 million also covers the issue of natural disasters and emergencies with a credit
of EUR 14 million. Should this amount not be sufficient, the Greek authorities are entitled to submit a
request for a redefinition of the programming priorities and of the corresponding financial allocations.

It should be emphasised that EAGGF intervention will be limited to the reconstitution of production
potential and not to the income losses which are not eligible.

If aid will be necessary to compensate income losses, national aid scheme should be notified in that case
by the European Liaison Group for Agriculture (ELGA) (Hellenic Insurance Body) to the Commission for
approval.

3. Concerning the possible compensation of the affected rural areas and population from the adverse
weather conditions that affected Greece at the beginning of the year 2002, please note that an aid scheme
has been recently approved by the Commission on the basis of a series of commitments from the Greek
authorities which have still to be reflected in the national inter-ministerial decision that will constitute the
legal basis for the granting of aids.

No official request has so far been submitted by Greece concerning either the possible Community
contribution through EAGGF or the funding from the programming reserve of the 3rd Community
Support Programme for Greece in order to compensate rural areas and population affected.