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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.