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C 137 E/172 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.


Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(19 December 2002)

The Commission does not agree that there have been no concrete results following the series of questions
on legionella from the Honourable Member. The surveillance of the disease (especially related to travel
related illness  the main preoccupation of the Honourable Member) has been fully integrated into the
framework of the European network created on the basis of the Parliament and Council Decision No 2119/
98/EC of 24 September 1998 setting up a network for the epidemiological surveillance and control of
communicable diseases in the Community (1). All Member States now officially submit their validated data
for analysis by the Centre of the legionella network, located in the Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS)
of the United Kingdom, through specially designated government contact points whose participation is
endorsed by the Member States in the Committee set up under Decision No 2119/98/EC.

The network on legionella (EWGLI: European Working Group for Legionella Infections) has developed
guidelines, also supported by the Network Committee, addressing the control and prevention of travel
associated legionnaires’ disease and defining a clear reporting scheme for all participants. The guidelines
address risk assessment (particularly in hotels), control of legionella in water systems and the environment,
and methods for investigation and control of outbreaks, standardising rapid control and prevention
measures in all participant countries. European laboratories share clinical and environmental specimens
and take part in External Quality Assurance schemes in order to improve the investigation of actual or
potential sources of outbreaks across European countries. The EWGLI web site is a European resource for
all aspects of information on legionella infections for health professionals, tour operators and members of
the public.

The Commission is of the opinion that these measures are very practical steps to improve surveillance, and
reaction to any outbreak, but they should not lead to complacency. The Commission is also taking
concrete steps to improve the Community’s capability to react to calls for assistance in response to
outbreaks and other health threats in terms of rapid and co-ordinated intervention. The Commission
believes that this could be achieved by the setting up of a European Centre for disease control, and intends
to bring forward proposals to the Parliament and Council in 2003. Such a Centre should add to the
Commission and Member States’ achievements in combating diseases, such as legionella, boosting technical
and scientific support, and enhancing preparedness.

(1) OJ L 268, 3.10.1998.

(2003/C 137 E/196) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3202/02

by Maurizio Turco (NI) to the Commission

(4 November 2002)

Subject: Aid for exports of Community products to the Swiss Confederation, the Principality of Andorra,
the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Principality of Monte Carlo, the Republic of San Maríno and
Vatican City State

Does the Commission keep statistics on aid for exports of Community products to the Swiss
Confederation, the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Principality of Monte
Carlo, the Republic of San Maríno and Vatican City State?

If it does, for each importing country, can it supply a list of products covering the past five years and
showing the quantities imported, the amounts of aid provided and the names of the exporting countries?
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/173

Supplementary Answer
given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(6 February 2003)

The Commission is sending direct to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s Secretariat a table
containing the information requested.

(2003/C 137 E/197) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3210/02

by Robert Sturdy (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(5 November 2002)

Subject: Natural disaster relief funding for recent storms across the EU

Having regard to the devastating storms across Europe over the weekend which destroyed homes, lives and
infrastructure as well as causing severe social disturbance, can the Commission inform me as to whether
any emergency provisions are foreseen to complement Member States’ disaster funds and whether any
funds will be released from unspent EU structural funds as happened in the floods earlier this year?

In addition to this, is the Commission going to accelerate procedures for the deployment of state aid and
allow additional flexibility in this area?

Finally, have the disaster relief fund and EU solidarity fund been set up yet and will storm-damaged areas
qualify for monies, given that one of the stated focus areas of the funds is ‘short-term reconstruction of
destroyed infrastructures and facilities in the fields of energy, water and wastewater, telecommunication,
transport, health and education’?

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(13 December 2002)

After the floods that hit central Europe during August 2002 the Commission proposed a Council
Regulation establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) (1) making available up to EUR 1 billion
per annum to grant emergency aid in the event of major disasters. The Council adopted the EUSF
regulation on 11 November 2002 (2).

Upon request of the country affected the fund may mainly be mobilised for natural disasters, including
storms and flooding, if certain criteria are met. Damages must be higher than 0,6 % of Gross National
Income (GNI) of the country concerned or EUR 3 billion. Under exceptional circumstances regional
disasters not fulfilling these criteria may also benefit from the fund if the major part of the region’s
population is affected and if it has serious and lasting repercussions on living conditions and the economic
stability of the region.

The Structural Funds may only be mobilised to help relieve disaster damage within the regions assisted
under the Structural Funds and must respect the conditions set out in the relevant programmes. Managing
authorities of Structural Funds programmes may however propose programme changes which the
Commission will examine on a case by case basis.

So far as State aid is concerned, Article 87 (2) (b) of the EC Treaty provides that aid to make good the
damage caused by natural disasters or exceptional occurrences shall be compatible with the Treaty. Thus