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C 137 E/112 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

Reply

(18 February 2003)

The EU Code of Conduct on arms exports, adopted by the Council on 8 June 1998, was not adopted in
the form of a legally binding act, nor does it constitute an international agreement to be signed or ratified
by Member States. A certain number of third countries, including all candidate countries, aligned
themselves with the Code’s principles either at the time of its adoption or subsequently. They did so in the
form of unilateral statements. As a consequence, they are politically bound by the Code’s principles, but
they do not take part in the consultation mechanism contained in the Code’s operative provisions.

Dialogue with the third countries which have aligned themselves with the Code’s principles, particularly
the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, began
immediately after the adoption of the Code, and was stepped up during the lst two years (i.e. third and
fourth year of its application). During these two years new initiatives were launched aimed at improving
the application of the Code in these countries both at legislative level and in the actual implementation by
the operators concerned.

Moreover, seminars on arms exports were held with a view to promoting a wider exchange information
among experts of all Member States and candidate countries on European Code of Conduct practices.
Such seminars were held in Warsaw (January 2001), Nicosia (June 2001) and in Sofia (March 2002).

This enhanced dialogue has allowed Member States to assess the considerable progress made by candidate
countries in improving and implementing their arms control legislation in the light of the Code.

At the same time, work has continued towards greater involvement by the candidate countries in the
consultation mechanism and the principle was agreed to involve candidate countries in denial notifications,
as well as the principle of sharing such information on an aggregate basis.

After their accession to the EU, the candidate countries will fully apply its operative provisions as any
other Member State.

(2003/C 137 E/126) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2696/02


by Joaquim Miranda (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(26 September 2002)

Subject: State aid to maritime transport

According to the Commission’s guidelines, state aid to maritime transport should be based on the
fundamental objectives of ensuring that vessels continue under Community flags and that the largest
possible percentage of maritime workers employed are of Community origin.

In 1992, in its 22nd report on competition policy, the Commission reaffirmed its view that this policy
should be aimed at:

 safeguarding employment in the Community (whether on-board or land-based);

 preserving the Community’s maritime know-how and developing maritime skills; and

 improving safety.

However, it appears from information supplied by the representative structures of workers in the sector
that in some Member States state aids are granted to undertakings which do not comply with the first
objective, tending to employ maritime workers from third countries, and, therefore, at lower rates of pay,
and, for the same reasons, put the two other objectives in jeopardy.

Is the Commission aware of these practices? What action does it intend to take to ensure that state aid
policy for maritime transport operates in a transparent fashion, in line with the Community’s maritime
interests and those of workers in the sector?
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/113

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(22 November 2002)

The 1997 Community guidelines on State aid to maritime transport provide that the Member States may
help shipping companies which operate internationally to reduce their operating costs by imposing a very
low level of tax on companies and by reducing or granting exemption from wage-related costs, whether
those of the employer or not. Their aim is to ensure that the Community fleet has the competitiveness it
needs to survive in a global market and to promote employment and maritime know-how.

In general, the guidelines demand that there must be a link with a Community flag.

Despite this demand, the guidelines do not draw any distinction between seafarers on the basis of
nationality as long as they pay tax and/or social security contributions in a Member State. Measures to
reduce the levels of tax and wage-related liabilities in respect of such seafarers are allowed.

As announced in its White Paper, the Commission currently plans to adjust the guidelines on the basis of
an analysis of their impact on the registration of ships in the Member States, the development of the
Community shipping industry and employment.

(2003/C 137 E/127) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2707/02


by Chris Davies (ELDR) to the Commission

(26 September 2002)

Subject: Habitats Directive

Has the Commission received the UK Government’s proposals for additional Special Areas of Conservation
in accord with the requirements of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC (1)), and when does it expect to be in
a position to respond to these?

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(18 November 2002)

Pursuant to Article 4(1) of Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural
habitats and of wild fauna and flora (1) each Member State is required to transmit a list of proposed sites to
the Commission for the habitat types listed in Annex I and species listed in II of the Directive native to
their territory.

A seminar took place in The Hague from 5 to 7 June 2002 to evaluate the national proposals of each
Member State of the Atlantic Biogeographic Region, in which the United Kingdom is entirely located.
The conclusions of this seminar were that the proposed national lists of the United Kingdom and other
Member States are incomplete.

No additional proposed sites have yet been transmitted to the Commission since this date. However, the
United Kingdom has informed the Commission that preparations are at an advanced stage to identify
additional sites and that a consultation procedure, which is a prior requirement in the United Kingdom
before transmission of these sites, will shortly be launched. The statutory consultation period is three
months. Therefore, it is expected that additional sites will not be formally proposed before the first quarter
of 2003. The information provided by the United Kingdom and other Member States with their updated
national lists will then provide the basis for subsequent evaluations to determine if these lists are sufficient
to meet the requirements of the Directive.

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.