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C 50/82 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 22.2.


In the light of the above, does the Commission consider that this secretive way of preparing the matter and
dealing with it in two separate papers is normal EU administrative procedure, reflecting for example the
objectives of the SEM 2000 project?

Has citizens’ legal protection been properly guaranteed when they are kept in the dark about the basis on which
their land is sought to be included in a protection area?

Does the Commission, too, intend to keep the information forms secret from those who will be affected by the

How can this type of procedure be reconciled with the basic principles of the EU: democracy, transparency of
administration, legality and respect for citizens’ basic rights?

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(16 June 1998)

As pointed out by the Honourable Member, the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) (1) requires in its Article 4 that
when the Member States propose their lists of sites for the Natura 2000 network, they also provide the
Commission with information on each site. This information, which covers habitat types and species, results from
the application of the criteria specified in Annex III (Stage 1) of the Directive, has to be transmitted to the
Commission in a format established by the Commission (so called standard data forms (2) − Commission
Decision 97/266/EC).

It is up to the Member States to administer this part of the Natura 2000 network. This also includes possible public
consultations and dissemination of information concerning the sites to be proposed and their natural values.

As regards documents submitted by Member States to the Commission, including the standard data forms,
interested parties should turn to the national authorities. According to Commission Decision 94/90/ECSC, EC,
Euratom of 8 February 1994 (3) as amended by Commission Decision 96/567/Euratom, ECSC, EC, on public
access to Commission documents (4), the Commission only grants access to documents emanating from itself. If
the document held by the Commission emanates from a Member State or any national body, the application must
be sent directly to the author.

In this context, reference can be made to the Directive on free access to information about the environment (90/
313/EEC) (5) under which public authorities of the Member States are required to make available information
relating to the environment to any natural or legal person at his request and without having to prove an interest,
unless the exemptions apply.

The Commission intends to adopt a list of sites of Community importance following the procedure of Article 21
of the Habitats Directive. The Commission neither wishes nor has any reason to hide information in its possession
on these sites, and intends to make it publicly available as soon as the sites are selected for the Community list.

(1 ) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.
(2 ) OJ L 107, 24.4.1997.
(3 ) OJ L 46, 18.2.1994.
(4 ) OJ L 247, 28.9.1996.
(5 ) OJ L 158, 23.6.1990.

(1999/C 50/121) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1740/98

by Olivier Dupuis (ARE) to the Commission

(20 May 1998)

Subject: Financing of RAI (Italian public television) programme on Altiero Spinelli

On 7 and 8 May 1998, the first Italian public television channel, RAI 1, broadcast a programme on Altiero
SPINELLI produced by Angelo Sferrazza and Edmondo Paolini and co-financed by the European Commission.
The programme was broadcast at 00.50, in other words at a time when audiences are at their lowest or virtually
22.2.1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 50/83

Was the Commission informed of the time at which the programme was scheduled for broadcasting?

Can it state the exact amount provided for financing this programme and, more generally, the amounts and
breakdown of funds allocated to Italian public television broadcasting?

Does the Commission not also consider it necessary to ensure that programmes co-financed by the EU − which is
to say with European taxpayers’ money − should be scheduled for broadcasting at times of the day when the
largest possible numbers of European citizens stand to benefit from them?

Answer given by Mr Oreja on behalf of the Commission

(1 July 1998)

As part of the ‘Fathers of Europe’ series, the Commission cofinanced the production by RAI of a documentary on
Altiero Spinelli.

The grant from the Commission was ECU 40 000, i.e. less than a third of the cost of production.

The programme was presented to the press in Rome on 6 May 1998 and received widespread media coverage.

Since the programme was made by the ‘RAI Educational’ Service, under RAI’s own rules, it had to be broadcast
for the first time on RAI Uno after midnight, the slot reserved for education programmes. It is also to be broadcast
at better times.

Furthermore, the programme is being offered to the television stations which produced the other ‘Fathers of
Europe’ portraits and is being distributed throughout the Commission’s information network.

(1999/C 50/122) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1741/98

by Mary Banotti (PPE) to the Commission

(5 June 1998)

Subject: Directive 91/439/EEC on driving licences

Directive 91/439/EEC (1) on driving licences states that account must be taken of the state of a person’s epilepsy
in considering the issue of or renewal of a driving licence. The Directive lays down a guideline of no epileptic
seizure for the past two years.

Could the Commission explain why a period of two years is used?

Is the Commission aware that, in the UK, a period of only one year is laid down for the issue or renewal of a
driving licence?

If so, is the Commission aware of the development in medical science which underpins the period of twelve
months laid down in UK law?

Since the period of two years laid down in the Directive seems to be no more than a recommendation, could this
not be changed in accordance with the guidelines used in the UK?

(1) OJ L 237, 24.8.1991, p. 1.

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(15 July 1998)

Provisions relating to the issuing and renewal of driving licences to people with epilepsy are laid down in Annex
III point 12 of Council Directive 91/439/EEC on driving licences (1).

Point 12.2 stipulates that no group 2 licences (lorries and buses) may ‘be issued to or renewed for applicants or
drivers suffering or liable to suffer from epilepsy seizures or other sudden disturbances of the state of