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1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 325/69

ALFA is divided into two sub-programmes. Sub-programme A: cooperation on institutional management and
sub-programme B: cooperation on scientific and technological training (mobility of students and postgrad-

For the first stage of the ALFA programme 846 projects were approved, including 183 projects (21,6 %) for
sub-programme A and 663 projects (78,4 %) for sub-programme B.

In all, 530 European institutions and 373 Latin American institutions participated, and the Commission
awarded 366 part-financed grants for European students in Latin America, 1089 for Latin American students
in Europe and 243 for Latin American students in other Latin American institutions.

On the basis of programme evaluation reports, the Commission prepared a further stage of the programme
which was approved by the Commission on 4 December. Internal Commission procedures to set up the
programme are presently underway.

(1) OJ L 52, 27.2.1992.

(1999/C 325/086) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0103/99

by Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (PPE) to the Commission

(22 January 1999)

Subject: Obligation to go before the International Court of Justice for the peaceful resolution of disputes under
the 1995 New York Convention on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks

In her reply to my Oral Question H-1189/98 (1) at the plenary sitting of 12 January 1999, Commissioner
Emma Bonino stated that EU ratification of the 1995 New York Convention on Straddling Fish Stocks and
Highly Migratory Fish Stocks would mean that the compulsory dispute-settlement procedure established in
that Convention ‘would clearly prevent Canada from withdrawing from the Court’s jurisdiction as it did in

On what legal precepts does the Commission base its view that Canada would be obliged to go before the
International Court of Justice to resolve a dispute arising between the EU and Canada within the framework of
that Convention once both were party to the 1995 New York Convention and once that Convention had
entered into force?

(1) Debates of the European Parliament (January 1999).

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission

(4 March 1999)

The concept of compulsory and binding dispute settlement has indeed become a cornerstone of the 1995
United Nations agreement on straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks. This very concept is
enshrined in part IX and more particularly in the provisions of article 30 of the agreement, which refer back to
the provisions relating to the settlement of disputes set out in part XV of the 1982 United Nations Convention
on the law of the sea.

In this context, compulsory and binding dispute settlement means that, for international disputes arising
within the purview of these legal instruments, states remain free to choose the means to settle such disputes,
but that the chosen procedure must ultimately entail a binding decision for the parties to the dispute. Under
this system, there is, in principle, no room for reservations and exclusions and, therefore, this contrasts with a
system of optional jurisdiction over legal disputes such as that laid down in article 36 of the statute of the
International court of justice.

It is clear that compulsory and binding dispute settlement under the 1995 agreement will not become available
until this agreement has entered into force, and only for those states which have actually ratified it.