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1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 50/85

In brief the situation is:

(Amounts in millions of DM)

Amounts declared 67,8

Corrections for late slaughter – 12,8
Corrections for control procedure deficiencies – 5,5
Eligible slaughter expenditure 49,5
Serology expenditure not yet reimbursed + 9,7
Total due 59,2
Amount already paid 66,1
Amount to be recovered – 6,9

(1999/C 50/124) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1756/98

by José Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (PPE) to the Commission

(5 June 1998)

Subject: Application by Cuba to accede to the ACP-EU Convention

In Written Question E-0816/98 (1) of 26 March 1998 on the application by Cuba to accede to the ACP-EU
Convention, the Commission was asked what its response had been to the application and in what terms it would
be commenting on it.

The answer received on 27 April referred to the answer to Written Question E-0832/98 by Mr Cabezón Alonso
which, however, fails entirely to address the issues raised in the written question of 26 March. Can the
Commission therefore answer that question directly and say whether it has responded to Cuba’s application?

If so, who gave a response on behalf of the Commission, when, to whom, and in what terms?

(1) OJ C 354, 19.11.1998, p. 27.

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission

(8 July 1998)

The Commission has indeed responded to the letter sent to it on 26 January by Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
in which Cuba applied to take part in negotiations for the new convention between the Community and the
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) states.

In its reply to the Minister, dated 20 March, the Commission took due note of Cuba’s application and its positive
view of the cooperation links between the Community and the ACP states. It confirmed that the application would
be treated with all due attention in accordance with the procedures laid down by the Lomé Convention.

The matter was subsequently discussed both by the group of ACP States and by the Council. During these
discussions the Commission declared itself in favour of Cuba’s participation as an observer in negotiations for the
new convention with the ACP countries, without prejudging whether or not there would be agreement on Cuba’s
accession to the next convention.

(1999/C 50/125) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1758/98

by Sirkka-Liisa Anttila (ELDR) to the Commission

(27 May 1998)

Subject: The basis for the Commission’s calculations for use in analysing trends in farm incomes and costs in the
Member States, e.g. Finland

The Commission monitors trends in agriculture by making assessments per country, per production sector, etc.
Negotiations have been conducted and letters exchanged with the Commission concerning the special needs of
C 50/86 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 22.2.1999

Finnish agriculture. Recently, on 23 April, a reply was received from the Commission concerning trends in farm
incomes and reductions in farm costs in Finland. According to the letter, farm incomes in Finland had risen by
5 % in 1995 and 5,4 % in 1996, while farm production costs had fallen by 17 %, were continuing to fall by
between 3 % and 4 % per annum and were expected to fall again in 1997.

In reality, according to research by both Helsinki University Economics Department and the Agricultural
Economics Research Institute, farm incomes fell by 6,1 % in 1995 and 8,4 % in 1996 and are continuing to fall.
Nor did reductions in costs keep pace with the Commission’s calculations. The same study by Helsinki University
considered that implementation of Agenda 2000 would represent a serious threat to the future of the whole of
agriculture in Finland.

What is the reason for the major disparities between the analyses by the Commission and by the Finnish
authorities concerning farm incomes and costs in Finland? The Commission’s assessments of trends in Member
States’ agriculture absolutely must be accurate, as they are used as a basis both for the Commission’s calculations
of the impact in the various Member States of reductions in producer prices under Agenda 2000 and for
estimating the need for direct support to compensate farmers for loss of income. I am particularly concerned
about the bases for the Commission’s calculations which yield inaccurate information about Finland. The
information in question is vital to the whole sector.

How will the Commission ensure that analyses of trends in incomes and farm costs in the Member States are
reliable, accurate and comparable?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf the Commission

(22 June 1998)

The Commission fully agrees with the view of the Honourable Member that trends in the agricultural economy of
Member States have to be assessed accurately. The basic instruments used by the Commission to monitor the
performance of agricultural income are the economic accounts for agriculture (EAA).

The EAA compiled by the Commission are an exhaustive source of information on the agricultural income. In
particular, they provide detailed information on production (final output), intermediate consumption, subsidies
and taxes, depreciation, compensation of employees, rent and interest payments in agriculture. They represent the
most reliable and comparable source of information to date at the sectoral level.

The Commission has published EAA since 1964. Since 1969 these statistics have been based on the European
system of integrated economic accounts (ESA) (1) as the basis for calculations covering the period from 1963
onwards. Concepts, ideas and rules of accounting, laid down in the ESA, represent only a general framework
applicable to the economy as a whole. They therefore cannot make provision for all aspects specific to each of the
individual ‘industries’ and had to be amplified to cover the particular requirements of agriculture and forestry.

This was done initially in 1969 in two working documents produced by the committee on agricultural statistics
working party on economic accounts for agriculture. These were regularly expanded in the course of the next few
years. The work subsequently carried out by the working party on economic accounts for agriculture has made it
possible to develop a common methodology for all the Member States. This aims to provide a coherent, practical
and comprehensible tool for the compilation and use of the EAA. It was first published in 1989. The revision of
the system of national accounts in 1995 and the need to adapt to economic and structural developments in the
agriculture and forestry sectors have led to an in-depth revision of the basic methodology used for the EAA/
economic account for forestry (EAF). The EAA working party adopted the manual on economic accounts for
agriculture and forestry (rev. 1) in July 1997. The revised EAA methodology will be applied from 1999 onwards.

A couple of measures for agricultural income can be derived on the basis EAA. These measures concern in
particular the net value added at factor cost (NVAfc) which is derived from final output minus intermediate
consumption plus subsidies minus taxes minus depreciation. Deducting rents and interest payments from the
NVAfc one arrives at a measure which is the ‘Net income from agricultural activity of total labour input’. The
further deduction of the compensation of employees leads to the ‘Net income from agricultural activity of family
labour input’.

The correspondents in the Member States are, above all, national statistical offices. In the case of Finland the
official correspondent for the transmission of EAA and agriculture income index (AII) data is Statistics Finland.
The figures published by the Commission reflect exactly these figures. The only figures which do not come
22.2.1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 50/87

(directly) from the Member States in the Commission’s calculations are gross domestic product deflators and
exchange rates. However they are calculated applying a standardised methodology.

Diverging results between calculations of the Commission and some Finnish research institutes on economical
indicators have their source in differences of the applied methodology of data compilation and data selection. As
far as is known to the Commission the Finnish institutes, quoted by the Honourable Member, apply a
methodology which is not in congruence with the methodology the Member States agreed in the committee
on agricultural statistics.

(1) Statistical Office of the European Communities, European System of Integrated Economic Accounts − ESA, 2nd edition, Luxembourg 1979.

(1999/C 50/126) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1765/98

by Bernd Posselt (PPE) to the Commission

(5 June 1998)

Subject: Different prices in associated countries

Does the Commission believe that the practice in several countries which are candidates for accession to the EU
of charging different prices to nationals of those countries and foreigners for entrance to cultural establishments
and events or in restaurants, is compatible with membership of the EU?

Answer given by Mr van den Broek on behalf of the Commission

(14 July 1998)

The Commission considers the application of different prices on grounds of nationality, as referred to by the
Honourable Member, incompatible with the EC Treaty and an unacceptable practice in the applicant countries
after their accession to the European Union. In short, any discrimination between Member State nationals on the
basis of nationality is prohibited under the terms of the Treaty.

(1999/C 50/127) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1766/98

by Paul Rübig (PPE) to the Commission

(5 June 1998)

Subject: Improving the arrangements on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal

In its Green Paper on the subject, the Commission lays down the framework conditions for future transport
policy. It has been established in this connection that compared with traditional means of transport, shipping is
cheaper, has a lower accident rate and emits conspicuously lower levels of pollution.

In 1992 the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal was opened, making a navigable inland waterway network of 10 000 km.
We are pleased to note that since then there has been a great increase in freight transport on the Danube.

It is nevertheless important, especially in view of the enlargement of the EU, for the Danube to be made even
more profitable for European trade and to safeguard its role as a natural, ecological and inexpensive transport

It is particularly necessary to eliminate the stretch of shallow water between Straubing and Vilshofen, ensuring a
minimum depth of 2,50 metres in the shipping channel. Likewise, warehouses for buffer stocks must be
specifically promoted so that industry can receive continuous supplies of goods and raw materials even at times
when the water level is low.

What support does the Commission intend to give to these proposals?