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C 53 E/22

Official Journal of the European Communities



Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(3 May 2000)

The Commission has been informed of the situation described by the Honourable Member regarding the pollution of the Baix Ter aquifer. A complaint on the same subject has just been recorded and is now being examined.

Aware of the problem to which the Honourable Member refers, the Commission is examining the problem of Spain’s failure to designate zones, in Catalonia and other regions.

It should be noted that infringement proceedings (case 1996/2205) were initiated against Spain for failure to communicate the action programmes for vulnerable zones which are mandatory under Article 5 of Directive 91/676/EEC. The Commission took the matter to the Court of Justice.

According to the maps the Commission possesses, the sector mentioned in the written question was designated as a vulnerable zone by the Spanish authorities (Decree 283/1998 of 21 October 1998) but to date no official action programme has been established.

The Commission, in its role as guardian of the Treaties, will take all the necessary measures to ensure that Community law is complied with.

It should also be noted that codes of good agricultural practice must be applied both in ‘nitrate’ vulnerable zones and in areas where Regulation No 1257/99 ( 1 ) is applied (measures supporting rural development:

agri-environmental measures and compensatory allowances).

( 1 )

OJ L 160, 26.6.1999.

(2001/C 53 E/026)


by Sergio Berlato (UEN) to the Commission

(17 March 2000)

Subject: Environmental priorities for the CEECs

The EU White Paper on the integration of the CEECs into the internal market exclusively concerns legislation that is directly linked to the free movement of goods and services and does not cover such a highly important sector as the environment.

The alleged flooding of Community markets with crops from eastern European countries at give-away prices is therefore subject to no control whatsoever, as the funding of € 10 million, allocated under the PHARE programme for the approximation of environmental laws, appears to be inadequate and somewhat ineffective, not least because the more urgent environmental priorities for the CEECs have yet to be established.

Given the above, what measures does the Commission intend to take to ascertain whether products coming onto the European markets meet the criteria laid down with a view to protecting the health of EU citizens?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(8 May 2000)

The White Paper on the integration of the countries of central and eastern Europe (CEECs) incorporates much of the Union’s environmental legislation, including the rules relating to the free movement of goods. The applicant countries must adopt the Community’s existing environmental standards before joining the Union.



Official Journal of the European Communities

C 53 E/23

Within the framework of pre-accession and application of the Europe Agreements, the Commission is helping the applicant countries in their efforts to bring legislation into line with Community rules and ensuring that the Community ‘acquis’, including environmental protection standards, is properly adopted and implemented.

The PHARE programme is a means of technical assistance and the quoted figure of € 10 million is only part of the total funding allocated for harmonising legislation. PHARE assistance now takes the shape of twinning, amongst other things, and has been supplemented by Regulations on the Instrument for Structural Policies for Pre-Accession (ISPA) and the administrative structures required to manage pre- accession aid (Sapard).

In the veterinary field, with respect to live animals and animal products the applicant countries are required to adopt national legislation in line with Community rules (principle of adopting the Community ‘acquis’). The Commission is, moreover, making every effort to ensure that the CEEC authorities have sufficient capacity to apply these laws effectively. There is no provision for accepting live animals and animal products on the existing internal market under conditions other than those laid down in current Community regulations.

In the plant health sector (pesticides and pesticide residues), none of the applicant countries has indicated any particular problem in adopting the Community ‘acquis’.

(2001/C 53 E/027)


QUESTION E-0755/00

by Bill Miller (PSE) to the Commission

(13 March 2000)

Subject: Transportation of horses from Lithuania to Italy

It has been brought to my attention that horses transported between Lithuania and Italy are suffering unnecessarily as a consequence of the appalling conditions they are subjected to in transit.

Does the Commission intend to raise this matter with the Italian and Lithuanian governments?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(28 April 2000)

The Commission is aware of the suffering of imported horses originating from Central and Eastern European countries as a consequence of the conditions to which they are subject in transit.

Problems also still exist in relation to the insufficient enforcement of Council Directive 91/628/EC as amended on the protection of animals during transport ( 1 ) at some Italian border inspection posts.

Several veterinary inspection missions of the Commission’s Food and veterinary office (FVO) have been carried out at the Italian border inspection posts. Following the missions, detailed recommendations were submitted to the Italian authorities. The Italian authorities have planned arrangements to improve the conditions for the animals and another FVO mission is foreseen in the near future to verify these arrangements.

In a recent note from the Italian authority the need for a resting period of 24 hours for imported horses that have travelled for more than 24 hours was drawn to the attention of the official veterinarians working at the border inspection posts.

The Commission is nevertheless reviewing the matter with a view to possibly opening Article 226 (ex-Article 169) of the EC Treaty infringement proceedings against Italy.

In addition, the Commission believes that to achieve a widespread improvement in animal welfare standards it is necessary both to improve the enforcement of existing welfare legislation and to work towards an international consensus on this issue.