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1.8.2000

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Official Journal of the European Communities

C 219 E/73

As regards the aquifers near to Calatayud, the environmental impact statement for the preliminary draft of the Calatayud-Ricla section identified a series of measures to minimise the impact of work to construct the HST line including not locating heavy machinery in those areas, no tipping of materials or waste of any type, considering ways of not significantly affecting the aquifers during the excavations required to lay the rail-beds and planning and designing work to ensure that rainwater was not diverted from the area from which the aquifers were restocked. The Spanish authorities undertook to take account of these recom- mendations throughout the implementation phase of the projet.

(2000/C 219 E/087)

WRITTEN

QUESTION E-2039/99

by Monica Frassoni (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(3 November 1999)

Subject: Road tunnel at the port of Olbia, Sardinia

Expansion of the trading port of Olbia, considered to be of national importance because it handles over three million tonnes of goods and two million passengers a year, is governed by the port master plan drawn up in 1980 and endorsed by the Ministerial Decree of 26 June 1981. Under the plan, the north and south viaducts and the Isola Bianca wharf were to be connected by an elevated road link. On 3 October 1991, departing from the plan, ANAS (the independent Italian highways authority) hired the Roman firm Tor de Valle to build a tunnel instead of the elevated section, and work began in October 1998. The assignment was awarded without any call for bids. The work on the tunnel and the necessary junctions, which has not been the subject of any environmental impact assessment (EIA), has uncovered important archaeological finds dating back 1 500 years, regarded as one of the most extraordinary archaeological discoveries to have been made in Sardinia in recent years. The Art Treasures Service has partially halted the work and is conducting a further examination. After the tunnel, other port facilities are to be constructed, and, for example, the expanses of water between the old wharf, the Busazza, and via Genova are to be silted up. These works too are contrary to the port master plan and not covered by any EIA. After being alerted by the Foundation for Environmental Education in Europe, the Italian Ministry for the Environment indicated that an environmental impact assessment was required both for the Port of Olbia master plan and for each variant thereof ( 1 ). The Prime Minister’s Office ( 2 ) and Sardinia Regional Council ( 3 ) had previously expressed similar views. In spite of these clear statements and Directive 85/337/EEC, which stipulates that an EIA must be carried out for trading ports handling ships with a tonnage over 1 350 t ( 4 ), as is the case at the Port of Olbia, work is continuing even though no such assessment has been undertaken.

What steps will the Commission take to ensure compliance with Directive 85/337/EEC and make the works under construction at the Port of Olbia, in particular the tunnel and junctions referred to above, subject to EIA? Does it not believe that the fact that the contract to build the tunnel was awarded without an open invitation to tender constitutes a breach of European public procurement legislation ( 5 )?

( 1 ) See Circular 448/VIA/A.55.3 of 21.1.1999. ( 2 ) See Circular UCA/1.1.24488/1 of 14.11.1991. ( 3 ) See Sardinia Regional Council Decision No 14/53 of 15.4.1997. ( 4 ) See Annex 1 to Council Directive 85/337/EEC of 27.6.1985, published in OJ L 175, 5.7.1985, p. 40. ( 5 ) See Council Directives 92/50/EEC of 18.6.1992 (OJ L 209, 24.7.1992, p. 1), 93/36/EEC of 14.6.1993 (OJ L 199, 9.8.1993, p. 1), and 93/37/EEC of 14.6.1993 (OJ L 199, 9.8.1993, p. 54).

Answer given by Mme Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(21 December 1999)

The work to which the Honourable Member refers appears to be within the scope of Directive 85/337/EEC of 27 June 1985 on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the

C 219 E/74

Official Journal of the European Communities

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1.8.2000

environment ( 1 ) and, in particular, appears to be a project of the classes listed in Annex II of the Directive (No 12: modifications to development projects included in Annex I). Such projects should be made subject to an environmental impact assessment (EIA) where Member States consider that their characteristics so require. However, Member States are considered to be obliged to make a pre-assessment in order to establish whether projects of Annex II need to be made subject to an EIA procedure.

Not being aware of the situation described by the Honourable Member, the Commission will take the appropriate steps in order to gather detailed information about it and to ensure the observance of relevant Community law.

( 1 )

Directive 97/11/EC amending Directive 85/337/EEC is not relevant because it applies only to requests for development consent submitted to a competent authority after 14 May 1999.

(2000/C 219 E/088)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2040/99

by Helena Torres Marques (PSE) to the Commission

(3 November 1999)

Subject: The Commission and tourism

Tourism is a vital economic activity in the European Union and a major source of jobs.

As a horizontal activity, it is heavily interdependent with other sectors, such as transport, communications, basic amenities, safety standards and cultural, environmental, financial and monetary policies.

Will the Commission therefore specify:

how tourism is to be dealt with under its current reorganisation plans?

what type of coordination is planned within the institution between the various areas connected with tourism?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(21 December 1999)

As from 1 January 2000 the unit dealing with tourism within the Enterprise directorate-general will be part of a newly created directorate with responsibility for ‘services, commerce, tourism’. This arrangement will allow tourism to benefit from the synergies arising from its association with other major services sectors within the same directorate, and will ensure that the contribution of European tourism to the achievement of Community objectives is fully recognised.

It will be among the responsibilities of the tourism unit to ensure effective co-ordination in relation to Community measures affecting tourism. The approach to be taken will focus in particular on the areas in which close co-operation between the Commission services can lead to progress on issues identified in the Council conclusions of 21 June 1999, in relation to tourism and employment, namely facilitating the exchange and dissemination of information, improving training, improving the quality of tourist products, and promoting environmental protection and sustainable development in tourism. In that context particular account will be taken of the contribution of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).