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8.5.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/155

(2003/C 110 E/174) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3039/02


by Caroline Lucas (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(24 October 2002)

Subject: Iberian lynx

The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardina) is a priority species under Annex II of Council Directive 92/43/EEC (1) of
21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. There are fewer than
150 left in Southern Spain and Portugal. It could become extinct as early as 2005.

Which projects funded by the EU does the Commission consider to have an impact on the ability of the
Iberian lynx to survive extinction?

Does the Commission consider the Odelouca Dam, Alqueva Dam and A2 motorway projects to be
compatible with the provisions of Council Directive 92/43/EEC in respect of the Portuguese Government’s
obligations?

Is the Commission aware of any efforts by the Portuguese Government to declare the Iberian Lynx extinct?

What plans does the Commission have to press the Spanish and Portuguese Governments to promote:
rabbit repopulation measures (a food source for lynx); the preservation of old cork trees where the lynx
often nests; lynx habitat recovery schemes; and investment in sustainable traditional farming systems?

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(27 November 2002)

The Commission has supported, for several years already, conservation projects targeted at the Iberian lynx
in both Portugal and Spain. In particular, several LIFE-Nature projects received Community funding for
increasing the knowledge about the species and for creating adequate conditions, in terms of habitats and
food resources, for the conservation of the Iberian lynx where it is still present or for allowing the return
of the species to areas that it used in the recent past. Examples of these are the project ‘Recovery of
habitats and preys of the Lynx pardinus in Serra da Malcata’, in Portugal, or the projects that are starting
this year for the conservation of the Iberian lynx in Montes de Toledo  Guadalmena and in Andalucia, in
Spain.

The Commission is fully aware of the possible impact on nature, and namely on the Iberian lynx, of the
projects mentioned by the Honourable Member. For that reason, the Commission opened infringement
files against Portugal concerning the Odelouca dam and the A2 motorway. While a decision to take
Portugal to court for non compliance with Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the
conservation of hatural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, in constructing the A2 motorway was taken
by the Commission on 16 October 2002, a reasoned opinion was sent to the Portuguese authorities
concerning the Odelouca dam project. In the latter case, the Commission is presently assessing the most
recent information provided by the Portuguese authorities and the complainant, before taking a decision
on how to proceed. Concerning the Alqueva dam, a complaint file concerning the impact on the Iberian
lynx was closed after the Commission concluded that adequate measures were being taken to minimise the
impact of the dam on the habitat of the Iberian lynx and to compensate for the negative impact that is
being produced by the project.

The Commission is not aware of any efforts by the Portuguese government to declare the Iberian lynx as
extinct.

Concerning the last question asked by the Honourable Member, the responsibility for taking the adequate
measures to protect the habitat types and species covered by Directive 92/43/EEC lies entirely with the
Member States. The Commission, however, has the possibility, through the management of Community
funds, to encourage certain activities which contribute to the conservation of nature in Europe. Several of
C 110 E/156 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.2003

the LIFE-Nature projects mentioned above include measures concerning the reinforcement of the
populations of wild rabbits in areas potentially used by the Iberian lynx and the conservation and
recovery of cork oak forests in the same areas. Through agri-environmental measures, the Commission
promotes sustainable farming methods, which contribute in a significant way to the conservation of
nature.

(2003/C 110 E/175) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3048/02


by Jean-Claude Fruteau (PSE) to the Commission

(18 October 2002)

Subject: Regional policy

Enlargement is inevitable in political terms; its historical justification lies in the original purpose of
European integration, namely the establishment of lasting peace throughout Europe. The accession of ten
new countries, however, will raise certain problems in terms of the resulting marked disparities between
Member States. There is a real danger that the funds available for Objective 1 regions will be diluted as a
result of the ‘statistical effect’ of enlargement. It would be appropriate, therefore, to give thought to
devising additional criteria for eligibility to supplement the GDP criterion. Accessibility quotients could
provide a promising approach. Such quotients could take into account, for example, the distance between
a given region and the capital of the country to which it belongs, and would reflect more accurately the
problems certain regions have to overcome.

Would the Commission inform Parliament of the stage reached in its consideration of this question?

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(8 November 2002)

It should be noted that the eligibility of the regions for the Structural Funds and the financial allocations
involved will remain unchanged until the end of 2006.

In the period after 2006, the regional disparities in an enlarged Union of 25 Member States will be greater
than in the current Union of Fifteen, as the Commission stated in the second Cohesion report and the first
interim report on economic and social cohesion.

Enlargement will bring about a reduction in the Union’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) per person.
As a result, some regions currently eligible for Objective 1 are likely to be above the eligibility threshold
(75 % of the Union’s GDP per person) in a Union of 25 Member States.

Those regions therefore risk failing to qualify for Objective 1 on the basis of the current eligibility criteria,
without having made any real progress on convergence.

The Commission will take account of this fact in its proposals for future regional policy. The proposals
should also take account of the situation in areas other than the regions whose development is lagging
behind and which must equally engage in social and economic restructuring.

The Commission will include concrete proposals on the priorities and eligibility criteria for its future policy
among other things in the third Cohesion report, to be published in autumn 2003.