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C 137 E/150 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

Reply

(18 February 2003)

As the Honourable Member is certainly aware, the accession negotiations on the Environment chapter
have been provisionally closed within intergovernmental Accession Conferences with all ten Laeken
candidates (Cyprus, Malta, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and
Slovenia). In this context, the EU has consistently underlined the importance for the candidate countries to
pay early attention to nature protection legislation. Furthermore, any transitional periods accepted by the
Union in the area of the environment have been in line with the Union’s general position that ‘transitional
measures are exceptional, limited in time and scope and accompanied by a plan with clearly defined stages
for application. They must not involve amendments to the rules or policies of the Union, disrupt their
proper functioning or lead to significant distortions of competition.’

No derogation or transitional periods have been granted to the candidate countries as regards Directive
92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora.

With regard to Directive 79/409/EEC on the conservation of wild birds, the only transitional period
regarding this Directive has been granted to Malta, concerning the implementation of Articles 5(a), 5(e),
8(1) and Annex IV(a). This allows Malta to employ traditional nets known as clap-nets within the Maltese
islands exclusively for the trapping of seven species of finches until 31 December 2008 for the purpose of
keeping them in captivity. The EU underlines that the measures taken during the transitional period should
be in full accordance with the principles governing the timing of hunting of migratory bird species as
outlined in the Directive. These principles include the ecologically balanced control of the species
concerned, in particular migratory species which are not to be hunted during their return to the rearing
grounds. At the end of the transitional period, Directive 79/409/EEC will have to be implemented by Malta
in full.

As with every candidate, the Union will closely monitor Malta’s progress in the adoption and
implementation of the acquis.

(2003/C 137 E/171) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3040/02


by Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(24 October 2002)

Subject: The interim revision of the CAP and the new system of direct aids

The interim revision of the CAP, as proposed by the Commission, will introduce major changes into the
system of granting direct aids: aid will be decoupled from production, with the creation of a single income
support system based on historical criteria, while the proposal on modulation will have the primary effect
of transferring funding between the first and second pillars of the CAP.

In the face of widespread opposition on the part of both farmers’ organisations in the EU and several
Member States, Commissioner Fischler decided to visit a number of Member State capitals with the
intention of explaining the merits of his reform. On 3 July 2002 in Lisbon, confronted with demonstrating
farmers and being made aware that several Portuguese farmers’ organisations were opposed to the
proposed reform, the Commissioner said that Portugal is one of the Member States which receive least
from the CAP and that the reform, rather than making things worse, would ensure that ‘Portugal will get
more money from the EC’s agricultural budget’.

Given the above:

 Can the Commission state what data this affirmation was based on?

 Does the Commission not consider that the historical criteria are liable to perpetuate existing
inequalities in the distribution of aid between producers and Member States? What is its answer to the
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/151

criticism that transferring funds to the rural development pillar will introduce the principle of
cofinancing through the back door? What does it believe will be the impact on the Member States’
agricultural budgets, given the major differences in budgetary terms and in financial effort which exist
between, for instance, Portugal and Germany?

 What estimates can the Commission supply concerning the redistribution of agricultural expenditure
between the Member States, on the basis of the proposal on modulation included in the interim
revision?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(27 November 2002)

When the Member of the Commission responsible for Agriculture and Fisheries went to Portugal in early
October 2002 to discuss the Commission’s proposals on the Mid Term Review (MTR) of the Common
Agricultural Policy (CAP), he explained that Portugal would benefit from the expansion of rural
development policy and that it could count on more money from the Union’s agricultural budget.

This statement referred to the expected effect of the dynamic modulation scheme proposed in the
Communication on the MTR that the Commission adopted in July 2002 (1) With the system of franchise,
the majority of Portuguese farms would not be affected by the reduction in direct payments. By contrast,
as the proposed redistribution key includes a cohesion component, Portugal would benefit from increased
Community funding for rural development. The principle of co-financing rural development expenditure is
not new. The Commission proposes to increase the rate of Community co-funding for some measures like
agri-environmental schemes.

The statement of the Member of the Commission responsible for Agriculture and Fisheries is based on a
first assessment of the redistributive effect of dynamic modulation This assessment used figures from
various Union sources: European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund, Farm Accountancy Data
Network and from the European Farm Survey.

It would not be appropriate to provide figures about the possible impact of modulation at this stage.
The Commission needs first to take into account the results of the European Council of Brussels which
took place on 24/25 October 2002.

Heads of States and Governments reached an agreement that marks a major step forward in the process of
enlargement and that should allow the Union to close negotiations with the ten candidate countries in
December 2002. One key element of the agreement is the introduction of a long-term financial ceiling for
expenditure related to direct payments and markets. By contrast, no new ceiling has been fixed for rural
development expenditure. Heads of States and Governments have even stressed the requirements
concerning producers in least favoured regions.

The Commission is convinced that the new long-term framework for agricultural expenditure requires a
clear perspective for the future development of the CAP. The needs and challenges identified in the MTR
remain unchanged. It is in this overall context that the Commission will table concrete proposals in the
form of legal texts by the end of 2002 or very early January 2003.

(1) COM(2002) 394 final.

(2003/C 137 E/172) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3056/02


by Massimo Carraro (PSE) to the Commission

(18 October 2002)

Subject: State aid for Alitalia

On 29 April 2002 the Commission received a request from the Italian government to grant further state
aid to Alitalia in order to recapitalise the company.