You are on page 1of 2


2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/199

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(3 December 2002)

The Commission can inform the Honourable Member that under the new decentralised management
arrangements for the Structural Funds (Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June 1999 laying
down general provisions on the Structural Funds (1)), it is the managing authority (in this case Sicily
Region) that is directly responsible for implementing the regional Operational Programme. The
Commission is ready to respond to the emergency around Catania by examining the proposals sent by
the Italian authorities within the limits of the Community rules in force.

(1) OJ L 161, 26.6.1999.

(2003/C 110 E/221) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3297/02

by Marie Isler Béguin (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(21 November 2002)

Subject: Negotiations between the EU and Armenia on the closing of the Medzamor power station

The climate of tension and crisis persisting in the southern Caucasus has highlighted the Republic of
Armenia’s energy dependence on an outdated power station located in an earthquake zone, which is
attracting the attention and concern of the political authorities and scientists throughout the region.

The conclusions of the first EU-Armenia Cooperation Council meeting mentioned the prospect of closing
the Medzamor power station.

Discussions with the EU on Armenia’s future energy situation began after 1995 when the Armenian
government, faced with a severe energy crisis, reactivated the Medzamor power station, with the intention
of decommissioning it in 2004. As it has not been possible to work out practical and effective alternatives
to replace nuclear power, the EU and Armenia concluded that the closure of the Medzamor power station
would require major investment beyond 2004 to allow an alternative solution to be found.

The overall bill for making the Medzamor nuclear hazard completely safe has been estimated at around
EUR1 billion, including the investment required for the transition to alternative sources of energy. The EU
has pledged EUR100 million, subject to signature of a Memorandum of agreement between the European
Commission and the authorities in Erevan ratifying a final closure date; the balance is expected from a
Donor Conference scheduled to meet between now the end of this year.

1. Can the Commission reaffirm its commitments regarding the transition in the Armenian energy
sector on the same conditions and deadlines as were agreed with the authorities in Erevan?

2. Can the Commission give a transparent and impartial assurance regarding the relevance and
objectivity of the studies and financial estimates for the plan to close this power station?

3. Has the Commission put all its energy and resources into promoting renewable energies within this
energy substitution programme, taking account of the industrial transition priorities against the
background of international environmental crises, in compliance with international commitments on
global warming and in line with the major renewable energy source potential available in the Republic of

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(17 December 2002)

In 1998, the EU-Armenia Joint Committee established a Commission-Armenia Working Group to work on
the conditions for closure of the Medzamor Nuclear Power Plant (MNPP). The Group drew up a strategy
C 110 E/200 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.2003

designed to provide Armenia with alternative power supplies following the closure of MNPP. This first
study showed that closing down MNPP by the target date of 2004 would not be possible without causing
serious disruption of electricity supplies to Armenian users.

Against this background, it became clear from the Commission’s discussions with the Armenian authorities
that it would not be able to obtain an agreement on closure of MNPP by 2004.

A further report funded under the TACIS programme and completed in August 2002 has prepared a
detailed Financing and Investment Plan for the development of alternative capacities to MNPP.

The plan prioritises a number of concrete projects which would respectively:

(a) shutdown MNPP and replace its capacity;

(b) increase energy savings, electrical system reliability and fuel diversification and

(c) contribute to meeting electricity demand in 2010, decreasing dependency on non-indigenous sources
and increasing diversification.

The Commission is now completing this report by means of a ‘least cost’ study to establish which sources
of energy, including renewable energies, offer the most economically favourable alternative for Medzamor.
This is considered an essential step to encourage broad-based financial support from the international
community. As soon as this study is completed, we hope early in 2003, the Joint Armenia-Commission
Working Group will meet in order to agree on the earliest possible closing date which should be
confirmed in a Memorandum of Understanding. The Commission stands ready to honour its commitment
to contribute to a donor’s fund when this agreement is reached.

(2003/C 110 E/222) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3304/02

by Albert Maat (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(21 November 2002)

Subject: Closure of Belgium’s three-mile zone

Does the European Commission take the view that the closure of Belgium’s three-mile zone to fishing
vessels with engines of more than 70 hp is consistent with freedom of access for the EU Member States,
particularly as French, British and Dutch fishing vessels are affected?

Is the European Commission prepared to call the Belgian Government to order over this matter?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(17 December 2002)

Article 6(2) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 3760/92 of 20 December 1992 establishing a Community
system for fisheries and aquaculture (1) reads:

In addition to the activities pursued under existing neighbourhood relations between Member States,
the fishing activities under the arrangements established in paragraph 1 [possibility of reserving zone
up to 12 miles for national vessels] shall be pursued in accordance with the arrangements contained
in Annex I, fixing for each Member State the geographical zones within the coastal bands of other
Member States where these activities are pursued and the species concerned.

Annex I indicates that in Belgium’s 3 to 12 mile band Dutch vessels can fish for all species and French
vessels for herring. No mention is made of fishing in the 0 to 3 mile band by Dutch, French or British