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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/33

Does the Commission acknowledge this problem and will it urge Member States to take action against
federal states and regions that systematically spend more than is permitted under Stability Pact rules?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(12 August 2002)

The Commission acknowledges that the effective respect of the medium-term objective of budgetary
positions of close to balance in surplus objective, to which the Stability and Growth Pact commits the
Member States, depends on behaviour at all levels of government. Within the framework of multilateral
surveillance set out by the EC Treaty and complemented by the Stability and Growth Pact, the Commission
has recommended that national governments ensure strict budgetary implementation at all levels of
government, where this was a significant issue. The Commission follows with interest developments in
Member States aiming at coupling fiscal decentralisation with making sub-national levels of government
responsible for the achievement of the overall budgetary objectives. However, national government
remains responsible for ensuring the respect of Community law, and this includes the obligations deriving
from the Stability and Growth Pact.

(2003/C 137 E/037) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1863/02

by Gerard Collins (UEN) to the Council

(28 June 2002)

Subject: Afghanistan

According to UNHCR figures, by 24 April 2002 the number of refugees returning to Afghanistan in a
period of less than eight weeks was more than 353 000, with people returning from Pakistan representing
by far the largest number.

Will the Council now provide an assessment of the impact of EU assistance on Afghanistan and does it
consider that EU aid should now focus on additional areas and, if so, which areas and is it satisfied that
enough is being done to ensure the welfare of children?


(6 February 2003)

1. The EU is firmly committed to delivering humanitarian aid and to making a substantial contribution
to alleviate the plight of Afghan refugees. In general, the EU’s co-operation objectives in Afghanistan are to
support the implementation of the Bonn Agreement that sets out the path for long-term stabilisation and
development of Afghanistan. The EC development programme and Member States’ bilateral programmes
all feed into this central objective.

2. In addition to the aid provided by individual Member States, the European Community (ECHO) has
provided EUR 60 million in humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and refugees in neighbouring Iran and
Pakistan in 2002. This humanitarian support has been a mainstay of EU support to the country over the
last ten years.

3. As for additional areas of aid that could be considered in the future, the Honourable Member might
wish to request further details from the European Commission. The National Indicative Programme of EC
support to Afghanistan for 2003-2004 is under discussion.