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C 219 E/38 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 1.8.

2000

2. The Commission is not content with the current system for the payment of Community aids in
Greece, in particular with the compliance with some of the accreditation criteria contained in Commission
Regulation (EC) 1663/95 of 7 July 1995 laying down detailed rules for the application of Council
Regulation (EEC) No 729/70 regarding the procedure for the clearance of the accounts of the EAGGF
guarantee section (2). For this reason the rules on budgetary discipline, Article 13 of Council Decision
94/729/EC of 31 October 1994 (3) reduce the monthly advances in the 1999 year. The final amount of
these reductions will be decided soon. A definitive decision on the amount that the Commission will refuse
to finance (which could be zero) will follow later after a further assessment by the Commission and after
bilateral and possible conciliation procedures are completed.

The Commission is aware that it is intended to introduce a new paying agency in Greece in the future. It
hopes that this new organisation, with clearer powers over all those involved in the system for the
payment and control of Community agricultural subsidies, will lead to improvements in the control
system. However, until genuine improvements are noted, the Commission will continue to take strong
measures to protect the financial interests of the Community.

3. The Greek authorities have not yet fully implemented the integrated administration and control
system, as required under Regulation (EEC) No 3508/92.

The Commission has already made deductions from monthly advances paid to Greece of DRA 2 780
million in 1998 and (provisionally) DRA 22 900 million in 1999. These amounts are based on reductions
of 10 % of amounts demanded for bovine premiums, 2 % for ewe and goat premiums, 5 % for arable crops
payments and 5 % for olive oil payments (1999 only). A definitive decision on the amount that the
Commission will refuse to finance will follow later after a further assessment by the Commission and after
the completion of bilateral and possible conciliation procedures.

4. The Commission is aware of the problems of deductions from Community aids in Greece. Where
these are not in conformity with Community regulations then the Commission will act to require that the
full amounts of the aid be received by beneficiaries.

For example, in the past the Greek authorities retained 3,6 % of aids paid for forestry measures under
Council Regulation (EEC) 2080/92 of 30 June 1992 (4). The Commission initially proposed to refuse to
finance these retentions but the Greek authorities finally agreed to reimburse to beneficiaries the amounts
retained.

Retentions of aid in other sectors are currently the subject of clearance of accounts action. However, it
must be remembered that not all retentions from Community aids are necessarily illegal. Article 2 of
Council Regulation 1259/99 of 17 May 1999 establishing common rules for direct support schemes under
the common agricultural policy (5) provides that, as from 1 January 2000, almost all aids must be paid in
their entirety to the final beneficiary.

(1) OJ L 293, 12.11.1994.


(2) OJ L 158, 8.7.1995.
(3) OJ L 293, 12.11.1994.
(4) OJ L 215, 30.7.1992.
(5) OJ L 160, 26.6.1999.

(2000/C 219 E/045) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1864/99


by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(14 October 1999)

Subject: Long distance truck drivers

Is the Commission aware of reports that certain haulage firms are now employing significant numbers of
drivers from outside the European Union, paying them rates below the minimum wage and forcing them
to drive more than the permitted hours?

What steps will be taken by the Commission to urge governments of Member States to crack down on
such practices where they occur?
1.8.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 219 E/39

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(17 November 1999)

The Commission is aware of the increasing number of drivers from outside the Community that are
employed often illegally by haulage firms in the Community. The Commission is very concerned about the
distorting effects of this practice on road haulage competition within the Community and considers this
issue to be a very pressing problem within the national and international road haulage industry.

For this reason the Commission has already written to the Member States in order to raise awareness of
the problem and to gauge Member States’ perception of how widespread the problem is.

As a first step towards exploring possible ways to address this issue, the Commission has asked the
Member States to establish an overview of the diverse social, labour and transport rules applied by them in
this area. Once the Commission has established an overview of the relevant rules and details determining
current practice, further action will be considered.

A key factor which must be acknowledged is that Member States are responsible to ensure the effectiveness
of enforcement arrangements within their territory. Clearly, breaches of minimum wage arrangements or
even of permitted driving hours and rest periods are unacceptable. That this should occur on an almost
systematic basis in some Member States is very disturbing. The Commission is also currently drawing up a
report on the uniform and effective enforcement of the Community rules on driving times and rest periods
based on submissions made by Member States which may result in legislative proposals in this area.

(2000/C 219 E/046) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1868/99

by Antonio Tajani (PPE-DE), Stefano Zappalà (PPE-DE)


and Giuseppe Nisticò (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(14 October 1999)

Subject: Radioactive leak at the Tokaimura power station in Japan

Will the Commission evaluate and provide information as soon as possible on the risks posed to the
population and the environment by the uranium leak at the Tokaimura nuclear power station in Japan on
30 September 1999, given that initial estimates suggest that the level of radiation in the vicinity of the
plant is fifteen thousand times higher than normal?

What steps will it take to monitor the situation in Europe to avoid a repeat of previous disasters such as
the Chernobyl accident (1986) and what preventive measures has it taken or does it plan to take with
regard to other nuclear power stations which could pose a threat to the health of European citizens?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(20 December 1999)

The facility in which the accident occurred at Tokai Mura in Japan on 30 September 1999 is a plant
involved in the preparation of nuclear fuel. It is not a nuclear power plant nor is it, as often incorrectly
identified, a reprocessing plant.

The Commission has been in close contact with the Japanese authorities and with the International atomic
energy agency (IAEA) concerning the evaluation of the accident and its impact on the population and the
environment. The IAEA has recently published a preliminary report on the subject. This identifies human
error and the flouting of safety regulations as the main cause of the criticality accident.