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C 330 E/166 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.11.


Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 2000)

In reply to the Honourable Member’s previous written question E-2006/98 (1), the Commission indicated
that a questionnaire was under preparation for circulation to all interested parties. Such a questionnaire
was sent to Member States, cable operators, broadcasters, consumer organisations and copyright organisa-
tions throughout the Community. The Commission has also issued a communication reviewing regulation
in the communications sector (2), which considered the economic impact on cable operators’ ability to
compete in convergent communications markets. On the basis of a substantial number of replies received,
in the context of both initiatives, the Commission is examining whether a horizontal initiative in this area
is necessary.

The need for such an initiative also has to be examined in the light of the growing number of complaints
in this area, which shows the importance of this issue for the functioning of the internal market.

(1) OJ C 13, 18.1.1999, p. 134.

(2) COM(1999) 539.

(2000/C 330 E/188) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0466/00

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

(24 February 2000)

Subject: Commission policy on implementation of the EU budget for 2000 in respect of the promotion
and safeguard of regional and minority languages

The two EU budgetary authorities, Parliament and the Council, have decided to set aside a number of
headings under the Community budget for 2000 to promote and safeguard regional and minority

To be more precise, it has been indicated that line B3-1003N (Preparatory measures for promotion of the
linguistic diversity of the Community in the information society), to which the sum of EUR 2 million has
been earmarked, aims, within the information society, to promote the linguistic diversity of the Commun-
ity, including regional and minority languages, and to finance preparatory measures with a view to the
designation of 2001 as the European Year of Languages, including sign languages.

Will the Commission say exactly how much of the sum of EUR 2 million is to be earmarked for the
protection and safeguard of minority languages in the Community, and what sum is to be allocated
specifically in order to the achieve the two basic aims mentioned above?

What procedure will it be pursuing with a view to implementing the aforementioned budget line?

When does it intend to begin accepting applications for specific projects which may be eligible for funding
to promote and safeguard minority languages?

What will be the guidelines and requirements governing the eligibility of projects for Community funding?

When can the selected projects hope to receive the Community funding allocated to them?

Is any other heading or sum in the EU budget for 2000 likely to be in any way earmarked for the
promotion and safeguard of regional and minority languages, and if so, what will be the amounts of
money involved?
21.11.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 330 E/167

Answer given by Mrs Reding on behalf of the Commission

(19 April 2000)

Budget heading B-1003 ‘Preparatory measures for promotion of the linguistic diversity of the Community
in the information society’ is intended, according to the budget remarks, to promote the Community’s
linguistic diversity, including regional and minority languages. It is also intended to cover the funding of
preparatory measures for the European Year of Languages (EYL).

The Commission originally asked for € 4 million to prepare for the Year. It now proposes to use all of the
€ 2 million finally awarded for these preparatory activities.

The limited budget available in 2000 will only be enough to cover urgent expenditure which cannot be
deferred until 2001, i.e. the information campaign and launch events. These activities will be funded
respectively following a call for tenders for this contract and on the basis of proposals from those Member
States organising launch events. The Commission has always emphasised that many of the activities
associated with the Year will be neutral in target language terms. However, all the target languages defined
in the decision establishing the Year will be included.

The Commission plans to publish a call for proposals during the autumn to identify projects eligible for a
grant under the 2001 budget; the text of the call is currently being drawn up. The projects chosen will be
informed once the selection and financial commitment procedure has been completed. If necessary, a
second call will be published in 2001.

With regard to linguistic diversity in the information society, the Commission is planning to publish at the
end of April 2000 a call for proposals for preparatory measures intended to prepare the joint follow-up to
the Multilingual Information Society (MLIS) and INFO 2000 programmes. These measures could, in
principle, target all languages, including regional and minority ones, if their objectives are suitable and fit
within the framework of the call for proposals.

(2000/C 330 E/189) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0467/00

by Luis Berenguer Fuster (PSE) to the Commission

(24 February 2000)

Subject: Shortcomings in the transposition of Community legislation on health and safety at work into
Spanish law

Spain has adopted a number of provisions to transpose the Community laws aimed at guaranteeing
minimum levels of safety protection for workers into domestic law. These Community laws are Framework
Directive 89/391/EEC (1) and two individual directives ensuing from it  Directive 92/104/EEC (2) on the
minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers in surface and under-
ground mineral-extracting industries, and Directive 92/57/EEC (3) on the minimum safety and health
requirements for workers at construction sites.

Spanish legislation on certain civil engineering projects, such as tunnels, does not conform to the
provisions of Directive 92/57/EEC, since in Spain such sites are also covered by the inspection of
safeguards established for mining and other extractive industries, in accordance with Royal Decree 1389/
97. Spanish Law 42/97 of 14 November 1997 stipulates that the labour and social security inspectorate is
not competent to deal with health and safety issues for any form of underground activity, regardless of
whether or not it involves mining.

The Commission has already received complaints from trade unions and professional organisations to the
effect that, rather than improving security levels as Community legislation requires, the irregular extension
of measures and monitoring for the mining sector to civil engineering projects involving the construction
of underground tunnels places workers at risk. The risks involved stem from the enforcement of safety and