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C 137 E/138 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

(2003/C 137 E/157) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2962/02


by Sérgio Marques (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Implementation of aid for Venezuela

Following the tragic floods which hit Venezuela in December 1999, the Commission mobilised emergency
humanitarian aid amounting to a total of EUR 7,15 million. All of the 20 humanitarian operations planned
have now been concluded.

As regards support for reconstruction in the area affected, the Commission decided to allocate a sum of
EUR 30 million in 2001 and 2002 geared to support for reconstruction in Vargas state (EUR 10 million)
and risk prevention, i.e. the drawing-up and implementation of programmes aimed at the management of
natural risks in a vast area adjacent to that struck by the 1999 floods, in the states of Falcon, Miranda and
Yaracuy (EUR 20 million).

Parliament considered the budget proposed by the Commission to be insufficient and approved an
additional EUR 25 million for reconstruction in Vargas state.

Commission sources have indicated that, in parallel with Community aid, the Commission established a
range of contacts with other donors (such as the United Nations Development Programme UNDP) with the
aim of looking into the possibility of coordinating projects.

1. What specific projects are being supported by the EU from the above financial resources, and what
stage has been reached in their implementation (physical and financial)?

2. What are the reasons behind the apparent long delays in the implementation of these projects?

3. What consequences will any such delays have? Might the financial resources in question be
reallocated for other purposes, to the detriment of Venezuela?

4. What conclusions have been reached from contacts with the remaining donors, and what level of
coordination has been achieved?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(3 January 2003)

1. As the Honourable Member rightly indicates, the humanitarian operations financed by the
Commission to the tune of EUR 7,15 million following the floods in Venezuela in 1999 have been
concluded in so far as the emergency phase is concerned.

2. As regards the measures to aid rehabilitation, reconstruction and prevention, the situation is as
follows:

 Vargas State:
 Project on ‘Support for reconstruction and disaster prevention in Vargas State’. Community
contribution: EUR 25 million (heading B7-313 ‘Rehabilitation etc …’)
The aim of the project in the Tacagua and La Zorra river basins is to provide adequate protection
against future floods by means of structural protection works (canals, dykes) and the
implementation of non-structural prevention systems (monitoring and early warning).
The operation, which concerns Catía La Mar municipality, one of the most densely populated
and economically important in Vargas State, also supports the creation of agencies to be
responsible for maintaining the works.
Current project status: Signature of the financing agreement by the national authorities is
pending.
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/139

 Project on ‘Social reconstruction in Vargas State’. Community contribution: EUR 10 million


(heading B7-310 ‘Financial and technical cooperation’)
The target zone for this operation is the same as for the rehabilitation project above. Its aim will
be to provide environmental sanitation in the Catía La Mar municipality, particularly in
disadvantaged districts. The necessary measures will be implemented to ensure discharge of liquid
effluent and solid waste by environmentally sound means and to eliminate contaminated effluents
in drainage channels (Tacagua pumping station, Santa Eduvigis landfill study, Upper Tacagua
basin flow bypass).
Current project status: Signature of the financing agreement by the national authorities is
pending.

 Falcón, Yaracuy and Miranda States:


 Programme of ‘Flood prevention in the states of Falcón, Yaracuy and Miranda’. Community
contribution: EUR 20 million (heading B7-310 ‘Financial and technical cooperation’)
The programme will concern the drainage basins of the rivers Tocuyo (Falcón State), Aroa
(Yaracuy) and Tuy (Miranda).
The programme will have to draft master plans for the Tocuyo (Falcón) and Aroa (Yaracuy)
basins, since there are no appropriate planning documents at present.
In the case of the Tuy river basin (Miranda), as there already is a master plan, the programme will
form part of the Miranda government investment plan and provide European technology for
building filter dams.
Current project status: Commission decision procedure in progress

3. The above projects are intended to remedy shortcomings in relation to land use planning which were
highlighted by the 1999 floods. As such, they form part of the reconstruction phase which required
detailed studies to be made and policy decisions to be taken by the national authorities, in particular
concerning Vargas State.

They have been designed as measures which are fully compatible with the reconstruction and regional
planning policies of the federal and relevant state authorities which are contributing substantially (50 % of
the overall budget) to their financing.

Approval and implementation of the programmes has also been influenced by the following factors:

 the time required to formulate the reconstruction plans at national level;

 the time required to carry out detailed identification missions to ensure that the operations are
included in the national reconstruction plan framework;

 the doubts of the federal authorities concerning the tax arrangements for the Community projects
(exemption from VAT on goods and services). The talks with the federal authorities aimed at finding a
solution to the problem of the taxation of the EU projects, which have lasted several months, only
reached agreement in the week of 21-24 October 2002. The agreement reached should enable a
framework agreement to be signed before the end of 2002 between the Commission and the federal
authorities on the status of the European projects and allow signature of the specific agreements
(already signed by the Commissioner concerned) for the first two projects mentioned above.

4. The delay in starting operations in no way detracts from the validity of the measures planned which
have lost none of their relevance thanks to their long-term perspective.

I can assure the Honourable Member that, once the legal problems have been resolved, the Commission
will do its utmost to ensure prompt implementation of the measures.

5. The Commission has established permanent contacts with the World Bank and the Inter-American
Development Bank in order to coordinate efforts and investments at territorial level. I can assure the
Honourable Member that every care has been taken to ensure an even territorial distribution of the
available resources and to avoid duplication.
C 137 E/140 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

Other contacts, on a reciprocal information basis, have been set up with the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) which was responsible for managing funding totalling five-million dollars provided by
the Italian development agency in Miranda State (small schemes implemented via NGOs).

5. The Commission will, of course, ensure the highest level of coordination possible with Member States,
multilateral organisation and UN agencies in the implementation of operations.

(2003/C 137 E/158) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2980/02


by Rosa Miguélez Ramos (PSE) to the Commission

(23 October 2002)

Subject: Social clause in international fisheries agreements

The Commission is rightly encouraging European social dialogue between entrepreneurs and trade unions
with a view to ensuring that the progress of European integration includes the social aspects. Of the
various industries, perhaps fisheries most require this social dialogue, due to the harsh working conditions,
long working days, high rate of accidents, aspects which go beyond the national framework, low levels of
trade union organisation and collective negotiation, wage systems foreign to labour law, etc.

At the plenary meeting of the ‘Sea Fishing’ Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee of 19 December 2001,
the economic and social representatives adopted a social clause to be included in fishery agreements with
third countries.

The clause also recognises the following within the framework of these agreements: freedom of association,
effective recognition of collective negotiation, and the elimination of discrimination of all kinds with
regard to employment and profession. It further establishes guarantees for contracted fishermen from the
signatory countries, who are guaranteed ‘living and working conditions similar to those of the EU’.

The Commission has recently signed three fishery agreements, with Santo Tomé, Angola and Senegal
respectively, and neither the regulation nor the protocols make any reference to this social clause.

Why did the Commission not include this social clause in its proposals for regulations and in the
protocols?

What measures is the Commission going to take to promote this clause and make it effective?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(11 December 2002)

The Commission is following with interest the deepening of the social dialogue between employers and
employees in the sea fishing sector and welcomes adoption by the social partners meeting in the Sea
Fishing Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee of the declaration calling for inclusion of a ‘social clause’ in the
Community’s fishery agreements with other countries.

The Commission is at present studying how the social partners’ wish can best be realised. It would be
possible to include the clause in agreements directly by means of a specific reference. Or its provisions
could be set out in the agreement and possibly improved on depending on the nature of the latter.

The Commission can already draw on past experience in this matter: provisions on employment of seamen
already exist, e.g. in the protocols to the agreements concluded with the Seychelles (1), Côte d’Ivoire (2) and
Mauritania (3).

(1) OJ L 134, 22.5.2002.


(2) OJ L 102, 12.4.2001.
(3) OJ L 341, 22.12.2001.