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C 289/16 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 11.10.


Answer by Mr Papoutsis on behalf of the Commission

(25 November 1998)

In adopting Decision 98/343/EC of 19 May 1998 on measures of financial assistance for innovative and job-
creating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) (1), the Council approved funding of ECU 420 million to
finance three facilities: a risk-capital scheme, a support scheme for the creation of trans-national joint ventures
and a guarantee scheme. A sum of ECU 150-190 million was set aside for the guarantee scheme. The
Commmission subsequently signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF) for the
implementation of the first and third schemes.

On 1 October 1998 the Commission published (2) the implementing measures and selection criteria of
Member State guarantee systems in the public and private sectors, including mutual guarantee arrangements.
Intermediaries will be able to submit proposals on the basis of this publication. The EIF will consult with the
authorities in each Member State, including Italy, before finalising its selection of intermediaries.

(1) OJ L 155, 29.5.1998.

(2) OJ C 302, 1.10.1998.

(1999/C 289/021) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2954/98

by Gerhard Hager (NI) to the Commission

(8 October 1998)

Subject: Euro-Jus 2

One or two questions remain after my question E-1278/98 (1).

In his answer Commissioner Oreja stated that funding for Euro-Jus 1998 was being increased inter alia to
increase the hours worked by the legal advisers. How does the Commission justify this increase, and from what
and to what figures have they been increased?

On what topics were the 217 written questions in Austria submitted in particular?

How was the tender procedure for the contract in Austria organised in detail, and how many tenders were

(1) OJ C 402, 22.12.1998, p. 104.

Answer given by Mr Oreja on behalf of the Commission

(7 December 1998)

The Eurojus network has been reinforced in 1998, in accordance with the priority given by the Commission to
information and communication initiatives close to the European citizen and in response to encouragement
from the Ombudsman, as well as in line with recommendations by the high-level group on free movement of
people chaired by Mrs Simone Veil.

The budget of the network was increased accordingly, from ECU 195 613 in 1997 to ECU 552 000 in 1998,
through reallocation of lower priority budget resources. This increase has made it possible to broaden
geographical coverage and, on average, to double the time spent by Eurojus consultants providing advice to
European citizens and carrying out research in response to an increasing amount of questions submitted by
citizens in all Member States.

The 217 written questions submitted to the Eurojus consultant in Austria in 1997 dealt mainly with social
legislation, access to regulated professions (validity of diplomas, professional legislation, setting up an
enterprise in another country), car imports, validity of driving licences, sale of real estate, discrimination
and competition issues.
11.10.1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 289/17

The call for tender concerning the Eurojus consultant in Vienna was included in a call for tender involving six
Eurojus consultants, which was carried out centrally by the Commission and published in the Official
journal (1). Four applications were received for the services to be supplied by the Eurojus consultant in Vienna.

(1) OJ S 120, 25.6.1997.

(1999/C 289/022) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2960/98

by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(8 October 1998)

Subject: Conservation of sixth century Byzantine villages and churches in northern Syria

Along an area of 140 kilometres in northern Syria, villagers are responding to a severe housing shortage by
building their own accommodation among the ruins of Byzantine churches and villages dating from 6 AD.,
despite the fact that the Syrian Government prohibits construction in ancient villages. The country’s
archaeologists are warning that these villages with their 2000 churches, which form part of the architectural
heritage of particular historical value, will probably be destroyed.

How will the Commission intercede with the Syrian authorities and what assistance can it offer them to
preserve areas of particular architectural and historical value?

Answer given by Mr Marín on behalf of the Commission

(28 October 1998)

The Commission is aware of the immense value of Syria’s historical and cultural heritage and is supporting a
number of measures to conserve it. However, given the scale of the Syrian heritage and the limited funds
available, it is not possible to cover all Syrian sites of historical and cultural interest.

The following projects to protect the Syrian heritage have recently been financed, or are at the preparation
stage: modernisation of municipal administration (including historical centres); development of cultural
tourism (involving eight historical sites); archaeological digs at Jerf el Ahmar; support for a Euro-Syrian
archaeological mission to the Tell Beydar site; conservation of the murals of the Doura Europos and Qasr El
Heir synagogues. There are also sixteen projects at the preparation stage to train Syrian restorers and
researchers in the field in the conservation of their cultural heritage.

Many proposals were made, and those selected have been chosen primarily on the following bases: they will
have a helpful impact on the Syrian economy (development of cultural tourism); they will improve Syrian
institutional and administrative capacity (modernisation of municipal administration); their results will be
sustainable and broadly disseminated through training and the teaching of appropriate technologies (training
programme for the conservation of the cultural heritage).

The Commission can discuss the problem raised by the Honourable Member during one of its frequent
contacts with the Syrian authorities.

(1999/C 289/023) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2981/98

by John McCartin (PPE) to the Commission

(8 October 1998)

Subject: Price of mountain lambs

Is the Commission aware of the total collapse in the price of mountain lambs in Ireland and the UK and will the
Commission consider taking into account the different regional market prices of sheepmeat when calculating
the premium for this year?