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C 110 E/76 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

(2003/C 110 E/078) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2616/02


by Konstantinos Hatzidakis (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(18 September 2002)

Subject: Web pages published by the CSF administrative authorities in Greece

Project announcements are often posted on the Internet pages published by the administrative authorities
of the CSF operational programmes in Greece without any deadline on the initial page (see, for example,
the operational programme for agricultural development). On many occasions this causes considerable
inconvenience to citizens or bodies who are interested.

Could the Commission intercede with the Greek authorities with a view to ensuring that the deadline for
submitting proposals appears on the initial page?

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission


(28 October 2002)

In several web pages of the Greek managing authorities of the sectoral and regional Operational
Programmes (OP) of the Community support framework for the 2000-2006 programming period, there is
indeed no distinction between open invitations to tender and those where the deadline has expired. Certain
web pages, however, have provided this information (e.g. OP Information Society (1)) and the Commission
intends to write to the Greek authorities inviting them to generalise this practice to all programmes.

(1) http://www.infosoc.gr/programme_main5.html.

(2003/C 110 E/079) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2618/02


by Michl Ebner (PPE-DE)
and Giacomo Santini (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(18 September 2002)

Subject: A mountains directive

The UN has declared 2002 the ‘International Year of Mountains’, and cultural and information activities are
under way everywhere to draw attention to the importance of mountains, not only as an economic
resource but also as a living environment for numerous species of flora and fauna. Nonetheless, mountain
areas still do not receive the financial and legal opportunities and aids which they need if they are to deal
with problems such as depopulation or ecological damage.

Given the importance of the matter, does the Commission not consider it desirable to introduce legislation
for the financial and legal support of mountain areas, thus helping to conserve a key element of the
natural heritage?

Does the Commission not consider that a directive is required on the subject of mountains and mountain
areas?

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission


(31 October 2002)

A number of Community policies, including regional policy and the common agricultural policy, already
recognise the specific needs of mountain areas.

In the case of regional policy, 95 % (by extent) of mountain areas are eligible for Community aid under
Objective 1 during this programming period. Community assistance includes specific measures to be build
on the potential of these areas, reduce their handicaps, particularly depopulation, and ensure their
sustainable development.
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/77

Community Initiatives such as Interreg III and Leader+ are further valuable instruments for these regions.
Strand B of Interreg III ‘Trans-national cooperation’ includes an ‘Alpine arc’ covering the whole of the Alps
and the territory of the Alpine Convention, i.e. Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland (with its own federal
appropriations), Austria, Slovenia and Liechtenstein.

Leader+ also provides an opportunity for encouraging the implementation of innovative development
strategies initiated at local level in rural mountain areas.

As in the case of Leader I and Leader II, a large number of local action groups selected under Leader+ are
located in mountain areas.

The Union’s rural development policy contains a broad range of measures of particular importance for
these areas, including compensatory payments to those farming where land use is limited and production
costs particularly high, agri-environmental programmes, forestry measures and a number of measures for
the development and adjustment of rural areas.

As regards the future, the second report on economic and social cohesion adopted on 30 January 2001 (1)
proposed that areas with permanent geographical and/or natural handicaps, such as mountain areas,
should be among those supported by the Union’s regional policy after 2006. The Commission will publish
specific proposals to this end in its third report on cohesion at the end of 2003.

With that in mind, it has launched a study to obtain an objective diagnosis of the situation as regards
mountain areas.

(1) COM(2001) 24 final.

(2003/C 110 E/080) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2631/02


by Stavros Xarchakos (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(18 September 2002)

Subject: Lack of information concerning EU funding of projects

The EU finances numerous projects in the ‘cohesion countries’ in cooperation with those countries’
authorities. It is a requirement that a sign be displayed at the sites of such projects informing the public of
the EU’s financial contribution towards their completion. The signs displayed in Greece, however, most
frequently make no reference at all to the exact amount of the Community’s contribution and simply state
that ‘the project is jointly funded by the EU’. Likewise, in the case of the Athens Metro, only recently have
three small signs been displayed without any reference to the exact amount of the Community’s
contribution. This is a serious matter since it gives the Greek public a false impression, plays down the
importance of EU funding and creates the illusion that the Greek Government covers the lion’s share of the
overall cost of each project with only a nominal contribution from the Union.

Why do the Greek authorities not display the exact amount contributed by the Union to all the projects
jointly funded in Greece, without exception? Why was it only recently (2,5 years after the opening
ceremony) that small signs were displayed in Athens Metro stations merely stating that ‘the project was
jointly funded by the EU’?

What precise instructions do the Commission’s departments give to the Member States’ authorities in
regard to displaying signs to ensure that the public is not misinformed by them and that they do not serve
the purpose of government propaganda?