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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/179

(2003/C 110 E/198) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3174/02

by Dorette Corbey (PSE) to the Commission

(7 November 2002)

Subject: Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy

Sustainable development is a priority of the European Union. The protection of biodiversity is a global
necessity. Birds have been affected by intensive agriculture. Within the framework of the Commission’s
proposals for a mid-term review of the CAP, the Commission has increased the importance of biodiversity
protection and the maintenance of natural habitat.

1. Does the Commission agree that there is a need to give priority to Pillar II funding to farmers who
arrange their agricultural practices in such a way that they benefit species and areas under the Wild Birds
and Habitat directives?

2. How will the Commission encourage Member States to give priority in Pillar II activities of farmers
who arrange their agricultural practices in such a way that they benefit Special Protection Areas under the
Wild Birds and Habitat Directives?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(17 December 2002)

The Commission is of the opinion that it is necessary to further increase the scope for Member States to
encourage the provision of environmental services through agri-environmental schemes under rural
development, the second pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Biodiversity protection and the
maintenance of natural habitats are a key element of the services that farmers can provide to wider society.

For this reason, the Commission proposed a number of elements to further facilitate the support of these
activities under the CAP in its Communication on the Mid-Term Review (1). This included proposing the
reinforcement of rural development funding, a higher intervention rate for agri-environmental measures as
well as long-term environmental set-aside.

It is up to Member States to decide the focus for increased support within the context of their priorities
and needs. With respect to Natura 2000 sites responsibility for ensuring their favourable conservation
management lies with the Member States who will need to consider how best to use currently available
Community funds to contribute to this objective. As in the past, the Commission will examine any
proposed changes to rural development programs within the framework of each Member State’s legal

The financial requirements for the management of the Natura 2000 network is currently subject to
consideration by an expert group convened by the Commission. The Commission is committed in its 2003
work programme to submit a Communication on this issue to the Parliament and Council. This will
provide the basis for further debate on the long term structure of Community co-financing.

(1) COM(2002) 394 final.

(2003/C 110 E/199) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3183/02

by Astrid Thors (ELDR) to the Commission

(31 October 2002)

Subject: Distortion of open and fair competition in public procurement, access to documents

On the initiative of local council member Ira Shanker (Linz, Austria), the European Commission has
required the Government of Austria to amend its law on public procurement (case 2000/4546 Schulungs-