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C 137 E/106 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

(2003/C 137 E/119) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2669/02


by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission

(17 September 2002)

Subject: European sugar cartel

In its answer to written question P-1985/02 (1) by the author of the present question, the Commission
stated that it had not drawn up any document of the type requested by the questioner, but nonetheless
made explicit reference to the existence of a procedure which it had decided not to continue with
officially.

I believe that there is no doubt whatever that the concerted refusal of sugar sales referred to by
Commissioner Monti in his address to the EP plenary is the reflection of an agreement which should be
defined as a cartel (this is not, of course, the right place to hold a discussion on the meaning of ‘cartel’).

Given these circumstances, can the Commission note my request, once again repeated, that it forward me
a copy of the procedure referred to by Commissioner Monti in his reply to written question P-1985/02,
pursuant to the terms and conditions laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 (2)?

In view of the fact that the Commissioner’s reference to the existence of the procedure was made in public,
I am presuming that the Commission will take the view that it does not fall under Article 4 of the above-
mentioned regulation.

(1) OJ C 28 E, 6.2.2003, p. 168.


(2) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001, p. 43.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(11 October 2002)

The Honourable Member requests access to documents relating to the procedure referred to by the
Member of the Commission responsible for Competition in his reply to a previous written question
P-1985/02 by the Honourable Member (1). This request is based on Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the
Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to Parliament, Council and
Commission documents.

The Commission will assess the request of the Honourable Member according to the procedure foreseen in
that Regulation.

(1) OJ C 28 E, 6.2.2003, p. 168.

(2003/C 137 E/120) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2674/02


by Kathleen Van Brempt (PSE) to the Commission

(24 September 2002)

Subject: Environmental issues  public access to information in the European decision-making process 
public input into this decision making

Taking account of the environmental policies and objectives of the European Communities, including the
importance of public access to the environmental information held by the authorities,

 and bearing in mind that the Sixth Environment Action Programme ‘Environment 2010: Our Future,
Our Choice’ again stresses the need to ‘ensure better and more accessible information on the
environment for citizens’,
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/107

 the aim of Council Directive 90/313/EEC (1) of 7 June 1990 on the freedom of access to information
on the environment is to guarantee free access to the environmental information available,
and dissemination of this information through the periodic publication of descriptive reports.
The directive states that access to information on the environment held by public authorities will
improve environmental protection,

 one of the aims of the proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on public
access to environmental information (2) is to remedy the shortcomings that have come to light in the
practical application of Directive 90/313/EEC, as well as to bring the directive into line with
developments in the area of information and communication technology,

 bearing in mind the preparations for ratification by the European Community of the Aarhus
Convention of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, in which activities are presented
in three areas: giving the public better access to information, allowing citizens greater participation in
environmental decision making, and giving them greater access to justice in environmental matters;

Can the Commission say:

 whether it is aware that the possibilities offered by the ‘information society’ are by no means optimally
exploited at present, even though this could easily be done in an inexpensive way; (an example of this
is the frequent unavailability of laws, proposals, opinions etc., or the unnecessary complexity of
gaining access to them);

 what concrete measures the Commission intends to take to ensure that the possibilities of the
‘information society’ are used to best advantage, so that the aims of the abovementioned instruments
can be realised;

 when and how the Commission will take these steps, and how it will guarantee that they will lead to
effective access for the public in a sufficiently simple and comprehensible manner.

(1) OJ L 158, 23.6.1990, p. 56.


(2) COM(2001) 303 fin., OJ C 240 E, 28.8.2001, p. 289.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(28 November 2002)

Like the Honourable Member, the Commission attaches great importance to the supply of high-quality
environmental information to the public.

In the current state of Community legislation, Council Directive 90/313/EEC of 7 June 1990, on the
freedom of access to environmental information, gives the public a right to environmental information
upon request. It also obliges periodic publication of descriptive reports. The Directive does not impose an
obligation to create publicly accessible databases. Where public authorities do so, they do this on their
own initiative, which is welcomed by the Commission.

The Aarhus Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to
justice in environmental matters, signed (1) by all Member States and the Community, goes beyond the
current Directive in that the Convention also contains an obligation actively to disseminate environmental
information to the public. This information must progressively become available in electronic databases
that are easily accessible to the public through public telecommunications networks.

The proposal for a Directive of the Parliament and the Council on public access to environmental
information (2) strengthens Directive 90/313/EEC and completes it with the obligations flowing from the
Aarhus Convention.

The Commission is convinced that this proposal contains sufficient guarantees for an effective realisation
of the right of access to environmental information, not only upon request, but also as the result of the
active dissemination of information by the public authorities. The proposal contains a number of rules that
define and guarantee the right of public access to environmental information. It contains, for example,
clear obligations for public authorities to indeed create electronic databases with clear search-instruments
and to make these accessible to the public through telecommunication networks. The proposal also
contains obligations to assist and provide guidance to the public in access to information and clear rules
on the practical arrangements for access to environmental information.
C 137 E/108 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

As regards the implementation of the Aarhus Convention at Community level, these obligations are
already fulfilled to a great extent by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001/EC of the Parliament and of the
Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to Parliament, Council and Commission documents (3)).
Furthermore, Commission, Council and Parliament have already made considerable progress in putting
documents they have in their possession (and which are not covered by one of the exceptions foreseen in
the Regulation), in electronic databases and through registers that are publicly accessible through
telecommunications networks. Thus, a lot of environmental information has already been made publicly
accessible.

The developments in the ‘information society’ constantly offer new possibilities for electronic
dissemination and accessibility of data. The Commission is aware of the fact that such new possibilities
are not always or cannot always be directly and optimally used, because of the fact that the use of such
new possibilities often requires considerable investments in equipment and personnel. This, however, does
not necessarily imply that public access to the information through electronic networks is limited or
hindered. The Commission has, however, confidence that the legislative instruments that are being
developed at the moment  the above mentioned instruments, but also other initiatives such as the recent
Commission proposal for a Directive on the re-use and commercial exploitation of public sector
documents (4)  will push public authorities to effectively use such new possibilities to the widest extent
possible. The modified Directive on public access to environmental information, on which Council and
Parliament reached an agreement in conciliation on the 6 November 2002, will be formally adopted by
the end of 2002. The Commission envisages furthermore to submit a proposal for applying the principles
of the Aarhus Convention to the Community Institutions and will examine the questions raised by the
Honourable Member in this context.

(1) Denmark, France and Italy have ratified the Convention.


(2) OJ C 337 E, 28.11.2000.
(3) OJ L 145, 31.5.2001.
(4) OJ C 227 E, 24.9.2002.

(2003/C 137 E/121) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2678/02


by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL), Pedro Marset Campos (GUE/NGL)
and Herman Schmid (GUE/NGL) to the Council

(24 September 2002)

Subject: Continuation of peaceful solutions to the long-lasting conflict in the Philippines by avoiding
outlawing non-terrorist organisations

1. Does the Council recall the resolution of the European Parliament of 14 January 1999 on the human
rights situation in the Philippines (1), reaffirming the resolution of 13 December 1990 in which the
European Parliament encouraged and supported peace negotiations between the Government of the
Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), and requested the
Commission and the Council to provide and facilitate support and assistance to the parties in carrying out
their formal peace negotiations and in undertaking development, relief and rehabilitation programmes and
projects to lay the ground for a just and lasting peace?

2. Did the Council take note of the statement of 3 September 2002 by the Negotiation Panel of the
National Democratic Front of the Philippines entitled ‘Why the CPP and NPA are not terrorist
organisations’?

3. What action do you intend to take in order to avoid a situation in which the NDFP and the
organisations belonging to it (the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army), or
persons who have responsibilities inside the NDFP, CPP or NPA, are included on any list of terrorist
organisations issued by the United Nations Organisation Sanctions Committee or the European Union, an
action which could prevent a speedy and peaceful solution to this long-lasting conflict?

(1) OJ C 104, 14.4.1999, p. 116.