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1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 370/17

6. In so far it can be established that any uniform tariffs are the result of an agreement or concerted
practice between the banks and in so far as trade between Member States is affected in an appreciable way,
action pursuant to Article 85 of the Treaty would be possible. Article 86 of the Treaty can only be applied
if the banks in question hold a dominant position on the relevant market and there is abuse of this
dominant position.

The Commission’s reply to Written Question E-3962/98 by Mrs Larive also provides further information
on the steps it is taking to examine the level of charges applied by banks for cross-border transactions and
exchanging banknotes of participating Member States. It states the Commission’s intention to issue a
communication in the spring of 1999 covering the policy relating to payment systems in EMU. This will
set out a detailed framework which is aimed at achieving the goal of a single payments area.

Finally the Honourable Member is referred to the Commission’s answers to Written Questions E-3825/98
from Mr Caudron (2) and P-52/99 from Mr Tamino (3).

(1) OJ C 320, 6.11.1999.

(2) OJ C 348, 3.12.1999, p. 3.
(3) OJ C 325, 12.11.1999.

(1999/C 370/021) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4043/98

by Ian White (PSE) to the Commission

(13 January 1999)

Subject: Puerto Morazan ; Hurricane Mitch

How much money has the EU made available for emergency aid for Nicaragua and Honduras? Can this be

How much EU aid is channelled through the NGO community and international relief agencies, rather
than the Nicaraguan Government? What steps are being taken to increase this, so that all aid is channelled
through the NGO community and international relief agencies?

What steps are being taken to mobilise all EU Member State helicopters in the vicinity?

How much construction help, in the form of road and bridge repair teams and equipment, has been sent
to Nicaragua and Honduras? What steps are being taken to increase this and speed up their mobilisation?

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission

(10 February 1999)

So far the emergency aid mobilised by the Commission amounts to 8,2 million euro for Honduras and
5,5 million euro for Nicaragua. The Commission adopted a first decision on 4 November 1998 (6,8 million
euro) in order to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable population throughout the region (food
parcels, emergency relief items, medical support). A further relief programme, mainly focusing on water
sanitation, health and housing was adopted by the Commission on 21 December 1998 (9,5 million euro).
Furthermore, the Commission had reconverted 3 million euro from other programmes, mainly regional
disaster-preparedness programmes, towards emergency aid for the affected population.

During the course of the year the Commission will continue to increase its support to the region through
the financing of projects (8 million euro), which will include a sizeable rehabilitation component in view
of preparing the transition towards more structured rehabilitation and economic reconstruction aid from
other budget sources.

The Commission works mainly in partnership with non-governmental organisations, the specialised
agencies of the United Nations and international bodies such as the International Committee of the Red
Cross. In the case of Central America, aid is being channelled through the European non governmental
organisations (NGO) which were already working in the region and through the Spanish, German and
Austrian Red Cross in co-operation with their sister organisations from the affected countries.
C 370/18 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.12.1999

The Commission understands that the United States and Mexico in particular deployed helicopters to
Nicaragua and Honduras thereby playing a lead role in bringing relief to cut-off villages.

The Commission does not finance any reconstruction help in the form of road and bridge repair teams or
equipment in Honduras and Nicaragua. However, it provides financial support for emergency reconstruc-
tion of hospitals, private houses and water installations. It recently mobilised 8,2 million euro for technical
assistance needed for the preparation and implementation of a regional reconstruction programme in
Central America. Details of this reconstruction programme will be contained in a communication which
the Commission will present around March 1999 to the Parliament and the Council.

(1999/C 370/022) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4044/98

by Pedro Marset Campos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(13 January 1999)

Subject: ERDF funding for the Lorca-Águilas trunk road in the Spanish region of Murcia

The Lorca-Águilas trunk road in the Spanish region of Murcia is being partly financed by ERDF funding.
Section I of the road (0-3,8 km) has yet to be completed, although work apparently started on it recently.

1. Does the Commission know that the construction of this section was held up because of an adverse
environmental impact assessment?

2. Does the Commission know whether changes were made subsequently to enable a favourable
environmental impact assessment to be made?

3. Does the Commission consider that the construction of this section complies with European
environmental provisions, in particular Directive 85/337/EEC (1) on the assessment of the effects of certain
public and private projects on the environment?

4. Can the Commission supply information on progress made in the construction of the section of the
road in question?

(1) OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40.

Supplementary answer
given by Mrs Wulf-Mathies on behalf of the Commission

(5 May 1999)

On 30 May 1992 the Murcia Region’s Agency for nature and the environment issued an unfavourable
environmental impact statement on the project to construct the first section (to km 3,7) of the Lorca-
Aguilas motorway, because of the close proximity of houses.

In 1995 the Regional Government amended the initial project in order to minimise its negative effects on
the area. In July 1998 the Directorate-General for Civil Protection and the Environment considered the
environmental impact of the new project to be acceptable.

The Regional Government immediately launched a new call for tenders to construct the section. The
successful tenderer was chosen on 16 October 1998 and the section is now being built.

Certified expenditure on the project up to 31 December 1998 amounted to ESP 447,26 million, including
ESP 290,27 million from the European Regional Development Fund.