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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/177

The Commission is obviously aware of the fact that prices as low as those at Mercamadrid signalled by the
Honourable Member may occur. However the Commission only relies on official statistics (FAO Globefish)
and according to them, seabass and seabream average European prices recovered in December 2001 and
were since then above the production costs every month, with the exception of seabream prices for a short
period (January-March 2002).

The trend to reducing prices for seabass and seabream in the last three years might be due either to the
fact that the industry is approaching maturity, or to a structural overproduction of these fish. The latter
hypothesis was denied by all the Member States representatives attending the special meeting of 16 May
2002. To try to clarify this aspect, a new special meeting with Member States and producers
representatives will take place in November 2002 in Brussels. In addition, in the incoming months the
Commission will finance a study on the market of seabass and seabream.

The Commission will inform the Honourable Member of the evolution of this issue in the future.

(2003/C 110 E/196) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3169/02

by Eluned Morgan (PSE) to the Commission

(6 November 2002)

Subject: CAP dairy payments

Under the Common Agricultural Policy dairy (milk and milk products) regime, what overall annual level of
payments has been made to dairy processing and exporting companies in the EU over the last ten years?
What is the breakdown of these payments by type of subsidy, by company, by product and by EU Member

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(13 December 2002)

As the Honourable Member can see from the tables that have been sent direct to her and to Parliament’s
Secretariat, budget expenditure on milk in the last decade has fallen remarkably. The same is true for all
the budget subheadings. So, while the budget for milk in 1991 accounted for 17,6 % of the total EAGGF
budget, by 2001 it represented only 6 %, a fall in expenditure of EUR 3 billion.

The Commission does not have any information on the breakdown of aid by company as requested in the
second part of the question.

(2003/C 110 E/197) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3172/02

by Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(30 October 2002)

Subject: ’Heavily fisheries-dependent’ regions, relative stability and access to fisheries resources

In its reply to my questions E-0650/02 (1), E-2096/02, E-2097/02 and E-2098/02 (2), the Commission
failed to answer the specific points I raised, thereby obliging me to pursue this matter further. I had asked
the Commission to say what the criteria were for a European region to be classified as ‘heavily fisheries-
dependent’ for the purpose of allocating fishing opportunities and whether it thought it necessary, in
accordance with the Community legal concept of the progressivity principle, to update the list of ‘heavily
fisheries-dependent’ regions, since the current one had been in force for 20 years, and to include new
regions dependent on fisheries, following the various accessions of new Member States such as Spain and
C 110 E/178 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.2003

Portugal. However, the Commission did not respond to these points and confined itself to pointing out
that ‘the concept of fisheries dependence is defined in Article 4(8) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/
1999 (3) dealing with structural aid to the fisheries sector in Objective 2 regions. It does not appear in
Council regulations such as those dealing with the allocation of fishing opportunities at Community level
and their subdivision into national quotas allocated between Member States’. In the resolution it adopted in
the Hague on 3 November 1976, the Council specifically noted the vital needs of local communities
dependent on fisheries should be taken into account when applying the CFP. Along the same lines, in its
declaration of 30 May 1980, the Council spelled out the criteria for the allocation of quotas between
Member States: traditional fishery activities, special needs of regions whose populations are particularly
dependent on fisheries and loss of catch potential in third country waters. These criteria form the
mechanism for the allocation of fisheries quotas under the relative stability system. On the basis of these
criteria, Greenland, Ireland and the northern United Kingdom were designated ’heavily fisheries-dependent’
regions, and since that time have benefited from the ‘principle’ of relative stability. This mechanism has
continued unchanged, without any new regions being included under the successive basic regulations.

Does the Commission not agree that the concept of ‘heavily fisheries-dependent’ regions is not solely
confined to Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 on the Structural Funds, but was previously used by the
Council for the purpose of allocating fisheries opportunities, as reflected in the recitals to Council
Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92 (4), which is still in force?

Given the criteria laid down by the Council in 1980, for the allocation of fisheries opportunities, does the
Commission not think that regions such as Galicia  which in its replies it has acknowledged to be ‘very
dependent upon fishing’  should also benefit from a fresh allocation of fisheries opportunities, once the
transitional period following the act of accession has expired and on the basis of the criteria set out above,
particularly following the loss of catches in third country waters it has suffered with regard to Moroccan
fishing grounds?

(1) OJ C 229 E, 26.9.2002, p. 114.

(2) OJ C 28 E, 6.2.2003, p. 182 and 183.
(3) OJ L 161, 26.6.1999, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 389, 31.12.1992, p. 1.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(6 December 2002)

The Commission is aware that the initial allocation keys adopted in 1983 for a number of stocks took into
account the special circumstances of certain Community coastal regions. However, in current Community
legislation, the notion of ‘fisheries dependent region’ only exists in the framework of Council Regulation
(EC) No 1260/1999 (1), dealing with the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance, and thus has no link
with quota allocation. On the other hand, in the context of the basic regulation on the common fisheries
policy (2), the provisions concerning allocation of fishing possibilities (Article 8 thereof) do not mention
fisheries-dependent regions as a criterion. Nor does the Treaty of Accession of Spain contain provisions to
the effect that, upon expiry of the transitional period, existing allocations should be reconsidered. There is
no legal basis for an updating of the definition of fisheries-dependent regions with a view to re-opening
the debate on existing allocation keys.

The Council enjoys a large room for discretion in determining which factors must be taken into account
when adopting allocation keys. The criterion of ‘fisheries-dependent regions’ has, however, never been used
to re-open any quota allocations established in 1983 or thereafter.

On the other hand, Article 8 of Regulation 3760/92 recognises that, when allocating new fishing
possibilities, the interest of all Members States shall be taken into account.

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds,
OJ L 161, 26.6.1999.
(2) Council Regulation (EC) No 3760/92 of 20 December 1992 establishing a Community system for fisheries and
aquaculture, OJ L 389, 31.12.1992.