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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 340 E/211

Recently the pace of privatisation has quickened in several of the candidate countries. Major privatisations
and the resulting reorganisations  particularly those involving heavy industry and the energy sector  are
complex processes with many repercussions, particularly social repercussions.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is attracted initially by privatisation policies and subsequently by new
businesses. Increased protection of FDI has encouraged financial flows to Central and Eastern European
countries. Some countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic are now attracting substantial FDI. In
others, such as Hungary, FDI has been attracted more to ‘greenfield’ ventures than to the privatisation that
has taken place.

There are assistance programmes, notably under the PHARE programme, to facilitate restructuring and
privatisation (for example, the Ricop programme in Romania).

As part of its current twinning operations, the Community is also funding projects to assist the
privatisation of small and medium-sized enterprises in the Czech Republic and in the energy sector in

(1) Agenda 2000: ‘For a stronger and wider Union’  COM(97) 2000 final  Bulletin Supplement No 5/97.

(2001/C 340 E/242) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1276/01

by Jorge Hernández Mollar (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(2 May 2001)

Subject: Charter to protect the Alboran Sea

A group of experts has launched an initiative for a Charter of Rights for the Alboran Sea in order to
preserve its resources, improve its use and control its environmental quality.

Two thirds of the world’s oil tanker traffic goes through the Alboran Sea, causing major spillages in what
is a closed sea, akin to a massive lake, whose environmental quality is very difficult preserve.

In view of the ambitious objectives of the Charter of Rights for the Alboran Sea with a view to preserving
a natural system whose environmental quality is in great danger, can the Commission affiliate itself to the
Charter, in whatever manner it sees fit, in order to help ensure that the latter is effective and that its
objectives find the requisite financial support to guarantee their realisation?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(6 June 2001)

Unfortunately the Commission had not been aware of the proposed ‘Charter for the Alborán Sea’ referred
to by the Honourable Member. This makes any judgment concerning possible Community cooperation

The island of Alborán has been put forward by Spain as an area of Community relevance under the
Habitats Directive (1). In time this area would become a special conservation area included in the
Natura 2000 network.

The Commission is fully aware that the effective implementation of Community instruments aiming at
activities having an impact on the marine environment offers certain scope for greater cooperation among
the operators on the ground, and other interested parties.
C 340 E/212 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 4.12.2001

This is even more important if one considers that effective protection of marine biodiversity requires an
integrated strategy in order to confront the many pressures with which it is threatened. The development
of such a strategy, which is based on broad cooperation with other parties, and the use of appropriate
scientific tools, is already considered to be a priority by the Commission (2).

(1) Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora
(OJ L 206, 22.7.1992). As amended by the Act of Accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden (OJ L 1, 1.1.1995).
(2) Communication from the Commission on the sixth programme for Community action on the environment 
Proposal for a European Parliament and Council decision introducing the Community action programme on the
environment for 2001-2010, COM(2001) 31 final.

(2001/C 340 E/243) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1279/01

by Pere Esteve (ELDR) to the Commission

(19 April 2001)

Subject: Substitute for feedingstuffs containing animal protein

In view of the need to change animal feed as a consequence of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)
and find a substitute for MBM (meat and bone meal), and given the possibility in the countries of the
European Union for the satisfactory cultivation of oilseeds and protein crops (alfalfa, rape, peas and other
crops), which require little water and would provide a useful source of vegetable protein, what action will
the EU take to promote these crops and thus help make vegetable protein available in Europe for the
production of animal feed, thereby reducing Europe’s heavy dependency on third countries?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(8 June 2001)

The Honourable Member is requested to refer to the Commission’s communication to Parliament and the
Council (1) ‘Options to promote the cultivation of plant proteins in the EU’, which is based on a working
paper (2).

(1) COM(2001) 148 final.

(2) SEC(2001) 431.

(2001/C 340 E/244) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1282/01

by Theresa Villiers (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(3 May 2001)

Subject: Property taxation

Speaking at a Belgian Presidency tax seminar on 26 March 2001, the Director-General for Taxation and
the Customs Union, Michel Vanden Abeele, suggested that there was an ‘intermediate zone’ where there is
currently no tax harmonisation but where the need for harmonisation could be discussed, such as
company taxation, which the Commission was actively looking at, and also property taxation.

1. What steps has the Commission taken so far in order to consider whether there is a need for
harmonisation of property taxes?

2. Has the Commission followed up the study performed for the Commission by Arthur Anderson,
‘Study on the application of Value Added Tax to the property sector’ (N XXI/96/CB-3021) and if so, what
conclusions has it drawn?