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C 110 E/82 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.

2003

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(6 November 2002)

The Union had full knowledge early on of the United States’ initiative of sending American customs
officials to certain European ports, including Antwerp.

This initiative by the US is part of a broader approach to the security of maritime transport worldwide,
involving more than just the Member States in question. It focuses in particular on customs procedures
applied to exports and incorporating appropriate controls. The Community’s response therefore needs to
meet two fundamental requirements: it must be comprehensive, so as to fit into a global approach, and it
must meet the requirements of our internal market, particularly by ensuring equal treatment for all our
exporters.

The singling out of certain ports also runs counter to the Union’s goal of improved geographical
distribution of transport flows to relieve congestion on the already saturated road network. The
Commission continues to believe that an uncoordinated approach such as this which fails to provide an
overall response to the problem is not the best approach to the problem of security.

The Commission would also point out that the Community has concluded an Agreement with the United
States on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters (1), Article 3 of which stipulates
that ‘the Contracting Parties may by mutual consent expand this Agreement with a view to increasing the
levels of customs cooperation and supplementing them, in accordance with their respective customs
legislation, by means of agreements on specific sectors or matters.’

As well as proposing close coordination with the United States with a view, ultimately, to arriving at
mutual recognition agreements introducing proper security standards, the Commission will in a few
months also be putting forward a proposal on implementing and monitoring all appropriate security
measures in all the Union’s international merchant ports, based on the regulations approved by the
International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Recent talks between the Commission and the American authorities have been encouraging and have
raised hopes that in the medium term a greater guarantee of security will be provided on both sides of the
Atlantic, in line with the international trade arrangements entered into by the Union and the United States.

(1) Council Decision 97/541/EC of 21 May 1997 concerning the conclusion of the agreement between the European
Community and the United States of America on customs cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters;
OJ L 222, 12.8.1997.

(2003/C 110 E/085) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2661/02


by Patricia McKenna (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(23 September 2002)

Subject: Project for regeneration of Almadrava and Les Devesses beaches, Denia, Alicante

The fishermen of Denia (Autonomous Community of Valencia) have denounced a project of public works
by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment (28/1126/96) which has already been contracted. This project
is apparently receiving EU funding. This project is called ‘Proyecto de Recuperación del Entorno Natural de
la Playas de la Almadrava y Les Devesses de Denia, Alicante’. According to the fishermen of Denia, this
project violates Directives 79/409/EEC (1) (Birds), 92/43/EEC (2) (Habitat), 97/11/EC (3) (Environment Impact
Assessment) and 90/313/EEC (4) (Access to Environmental Information) as it seriously affects protected
marine and bird habitats, ignoring the need for environmental impact studies and not giving citizens free
access to environmental information.

The case was denounced in a petition to the European Parliament in July 2000 (Petition 472/2000, by
Juan José Camarena Llopis on behalf of the ‘Cofradia de Pescadores de Denia’, the Fishermen’s Association
of Denia). The petition was considered on 10 November 2000, by Parliament’s Petitions Committee and
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/83

sent to the Commission on 30 November 2000. On 21 January 2002 the President of Parliament’s
Petitions Committee responded again to the petitioners, re-stating that the petition had been sent to the
European Commission. After that, no further information has been received.

Can the Commission clarify what is the current position of its investigation?

Why has the Commission not responded to this petition?

Can the Commission confirm that the project is EU funded? If yes, by which means?

Does the Commission consider that EU directives have been infringed?

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


(2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.
(3) OJ L 73, 14.3.1997, p. 5.
(4) OJ L 158, 23.6.1990, p. 56.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(11 November 2002)

The Commission sent an initial communication on Petition 472/2000 on 7 March 2001 and a further
communication has just been prepared following the receipt of new information from the petitioner.

According to the information at hand, the beach regeneration project which is the subject of this written
question is likely to have a significant impact on sites proposed by the Spanish authorities for inclusion in
the Natura 2000 network, due either to sand extraction or to the beach regeneration itself. Incidentally,
these sites contain a priority habitat of Community interest listed in Annex I to Council Directive 92/43/
EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Posidonia beds
 Posidonion oceanicae).

The Commission asked the Spanish authorities for their comments on the situation reported by the
petitioner and on the implementation in this instance of Council Directive 92/43/EEC and of Council
Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private
projects on the environment. It is currently examining the Spanish authorities’ reply and will not fail to
inform the Honourable Member and the Petitions Committee of developments in the dossier.

The Commission has to date received no request for cofinancing of the Almadrava and Les Devesses beach
regeneration project at Denia, either through the Cohesion Fund or through the Structural Funds.

(2003/C 110 E/086) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2662/02


by Caroline Lucas (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(23 September 2002)

Subject: Air transport and the environment

The Commission’s communication on ‘Air transport and the environment: towards meeting the challenges
of sustainable development’ (1) stated that further measures on reducing the negative effect of air transport
on the environment would be proposed at a future date. Moreover, my report on behalf of Parliament on
the communication calls on the Commission to bring forward various proposals on air transport and the
environment.