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C 222 E/190 Official Journal of the European Union EN 18.9.


On 3 December 2002, in the aftermath of the accident involving the oil tanker Prestige, the Commission
published a communication aimed at improving maritime safety (1), followed by unanimous far-reaching
Council conclusions.

As regards the passage through international waters close to Member State coastlines of vessels carrying
potentially dangerous cargoes, the Commission feels that the international law of the sea needs to be
amended so as to ensure a better balance between freedom of movement and the interests of the coastal
States which need to be in a position to protect their coasts against possible risks.

Against this background, the Commission has called on all countries that are neighbours of the Union, as
well as other partners and international institutions such as the United Nations, to take firmer steps to
improve the international legal arrangements governing pollution caused by ships. It has also called on all
Member States to play their part in actively promoting, within the United Nations, the International
Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the other competent bodies, the adaptation of the provisions of the law
of the sea to the new requirements of maritime safety in the 21st century.

At the same time, the Commission is currently examining, in those areas for which it is responsible and in
conjunction with the Russian authorities, matters relating to the conditions governing the transport of gas
and oil in the Baltic Sea.

(1) COM(2002) 681 final.

(2003/C 222 E/217) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0372/03

by Véronique Mathieu (EDD) to the Commission

(7 February 2003)

Subject: Funding of the Natura 2000 programmes

For some time now the provisions of the Natura 2000 plan, particularly those relating to zoning, have
been gradually put into practice. This environmental conservation programme will have certain effects on
the economic activities of the zones concerned. However, one question still does not seem to have received
a clear answer: that of the funding of Natura 2000. The second pillar of the CAP is often mentioned. What
is the exact situation?

Among the costs incurred, some NGOs mention the renting and/or purchase of land situated in the Natura
2000 zones. This raises a number of questions: what reasons will be given for these purchases? Who will
be able to act as purchaser of the land? And, above all, what will happen to agriculture in these areas?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(5 March 2003)

State of play regarding financing of Natura 2000

Natura 2000 is the European ecological network established by the 1992 Habitats Directive (1). Its main
purpose is the protection of wild species and habitats of European significance. Article 8 of the Habitats
Directive was drafted in recognition of the financial burden that Natura 2000 might place on Member
States, particularly those Member States with a higher concentration of species and habitats. It therefore
provides for Community co-financing of measures required for the implementation and ongoing
management of Natura 2000.

In order to address co-financing issues in a comprehensive and effective way, the Commission set up an
independent Working Group on Article 8 in December 2001. The Working Group brought together
experts and representatives from a number of Member States, stakeholder groups and non-governmental
organisations. On 6 December 2002 the Final Report of the Working Group was submitted to the
18.9.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 222 E/191

The Working Group agreed that three main options should be examined for securing future co-financing
for Natura 2000, as follows:

 Option 1: using existing Community funds, notably Rural Development Regulation of the Common
Agricultural Policy (CAP), Structural and Cohesion Funds and the LIFE-Nature instrument, but
modifying these in order to ensure better delivery against Natura 2000 needs;

 Option 2: enlarging and modifying the LIFE-Nature instrument to serve as the primary delivery
mechanism; or

 Option 3: creating a new funding instrument dedicated to Natura 2000.

The report will be used as an input for preparing a Communication to the Council and the Parliament on
the Financing of Natura 2000 envisaged in 2003, which will outline a coherent framework for co-
financing Natura 2000.

Costs incurring with regard to Natura 2000 sites

There is a wide range of potential measures and activities necessary for the designation and management
of Natura 2000 sites, and for which funding may be required. Activities can relate to the pre-designation
phase, or only follow after a site is designated. They can be one-off ‘investment’-type actions, such as land
acquisition or the restoration of damaged habitats or features, or they may involve actions over extended
periods, such as the regular active management of vegetation and other features, and site or species

In the report of the Working Group a table illustrates a range of management activities for the designation
and management of Natura 2000 sites, which the Working Group considered, should be generally eligible
for Community funding. ‘Land purchase’ is listed as one of those activities.

No decision on this issue has been taken yet. It will be treated in combination with an implementation
framework for the co-financing following the envisaged Communication on financing Natura 2000.

(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.

(2003/C 222 E/218) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0384/03

by Riitta Myller (PSE) to the Commission

(13 February 2003)

Subject: Extension of EU safety standards to cover the carriage of oil for neighbouring regions

In a resolution adopted in December 2002 Parliament called on the Commission to initiate bilateral
negotiations with key third countries with a view to improving the safety of ships in transit through EU
waters. In January 2003, in its ‘Northern Dimension’ resolution, it called on the Commission to work
towards a ban prohibiting tankers other than those fulfilling the highest international safety standards from
engaging in transport operations in the Baltic.

Could the Members concerned say what steps the Commission has begun to take in these matters?

According to newspaper reports the head of the EU’s Maritime Safety Authority, Willem de Ruiter, has said
that, in his opinion, the continuing carriage of oil via Russian ports through the Gulf of Finland, which is
endangering safety at sea, is a bilateral matter for Finland and Russia. However, should not the aim be to
conclude an agreement between the EU and non-member countries whereby all the states of the region
would be bound by safety standards not only matching the stringency of EU standards, but also tailored to
the specific prevailing conditions?