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C 151 E/114 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 22.5.


The laborious process which begins with the formation of cork in the cork-oak groves and ends with it
reaching the hands of the consumer takes in the axe of the cork-cutter and the factory in which the
season’s harvest is processed. All the workers involved in the production process believe that the
Community’s policy for the sector must be reformed, to ensure their survival and a secure future.

Can the Commission state whether the Community’s cork policy will be reformed in such a way as to
ensure a secure future and whether, each year as has been the case up till now, the Community’s cork-
producing areas such as that in Malaga province will be able to go on harvesting cork in their time-
honoured fashion?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(20 November 2000)

The Commission has taken note of the cork sector’s current circumstances and future problems, and the
concern which those working in it feel. Cork policy is covered by the forestry strategy (1), which provides
for promoting the development of all the forestry sector’s components (including the cork oak) and
improving sustainable management.

Specific measures to assist the cork sector are included in the rural development plans drawn up under
Council Regulation (EC) No 1257/1999 of 17 May 1999 on support for rural development from the
European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and amending and repealing certain
Regulations (2). Various specific measures may be taken in accordance with Article 30: investment to
improve and rationalise harvesting, processing and marketing; and particularly measures which address the
concern expressed about the sector’s future by promoting new outlets.

Projects may be submitted in relation to these various aspects. Support is also provided to professional
organisations so that they can expand or maintain their activities in the sector, particularly regarding the
processes to which the Honourable Member refers (such as bark-stripping).

The Advisory Committee on Forestry and Cork brings together trade and associated interests to exchange
information and views.

The Commission recently defined the measures provided for, which cover the forestry sector including
cork. They can be adjusted and given practical shape according to the sector’s needs. It is therefore not
necessary to consider revising Community policy, since improvements can be made on the basis of
proposals which the trade puts forward within the existing framework.

(1) COM(98) 649 final.

(2) OJ L 160, 26.6.1999.

(2001/C 151 E/128) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3251/00

by Jorge Hernández Mollar (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(20 October 2000)

Subject: Community penalties for dumping of oil at sea

The disastrous aftermath of the dumping of oil into the sea from a tanker has proved a full-scale ecological
and economic catastrophe for the Spanish Costa del Sol and its tourist industry.

The irresponsible attitude of tanker owners who practise dumping off the coasts of the Union’s tourist
regions without considering the damage caused should be punished with particular severity by the EU
authorities, in order to protect both our beaches’ ecosystems and the economic interests of those tourist
regions, especially during the summer high season.
22.5.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 151 E/115

Can the Commission state whether it believes that the existing Community legislation on this matter is
sufficient to deter tanker owners from practising dumping off the coasts of the Union’s tourist regions?

Should this not be the case, can the Commission state what new provisions of Community law it intends
to propose and whether there is any Community-level coordination of police controls in this area?

Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(5 December 2000)

The Commission is greatly concerned about operational pollution, including tank-cleaning operations in
Community waters, which represents a large part of the total marine oil pollution.

Various international measures regarding construction and operation of oil tankers (mainly through the
Marpol 73/78 Convention) have significantly reduced the need for and benefits of discharge of cargo
residues at sea during the last decades. The application of these international rules is controlled in
Community ports through port state control under Council Directive 95/21/EC of 19 June 1995
concerning the enforcement, in respect of shipping using Community ports and sailing in the waters
under the jurisdiction of the Member States, of international standards for ship safety, pollution prevention
and shipboard living working conditions (port state control) (1).

However, the Commission considered that additional measures were needed in order to stop the discharges
of oil and other substances at sea. For this reason, it proposed in 1998 a Council Directive on port
reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues (2).

Much of the operational pollution from all types of ships in Community waters results from the inability
in some ports to deliver cargo residues and ship generated wastes to shore facilities and from reluctance of
ships to use them. The directive addresses this particular problem and introduces a number of require-
ments on both ports and ships to ensure that adequate facilities are available in all Community ports and
that they are utilised by ships. The Directive is now adopted by the Parliament and the Council and will
become applicable 24 months after its publication in the Official journal.

The rules on reception facilities, waste management planning, financial and other incentives to deliver
waste ashore will greatly reduce the need for discharges at sea. The Directive also imposes an obligation
for ships to notify the port of on-board quantities of wastes and residues. This, coupled with port-based
checks, will greatly improve the ability to control compliance with the international rules. The Commission
is confident that the Directive will have a considerable effect on reducing operational pollution, and in
particular oil pollution from all types of ships.

The control of illegal discharges at sea is the responsibility of Member States. However, co-operation in the
response to such incidents is subject to Community rules. A new decision of the Parliament and of the
Council setting up a Community framework for cooperation in the field of accidental or deliberate marine
pollution (3) should soon be finalised. This decision, once adopted, will in particular allow the development
of joint initiatives such as workshops or training courses aiming to strengthen the measures taken by
Member States against illicit operational spills from vessels.

Finally, the Commission announced in its communication on the safety of the seaborne oil trade (4) that it
plans to examine other Community initiatives that could be taken to reduce the occurrence of operational
pollution by all types of ships.

(1) OJ L 157, 7.7.1995.

(2) OJ C 271, 31.8.1998.
(3) OJ C 25, 30.1.1999.
(4) COM(2000) 142 final.

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