C 325/68

Official Journal of the European Communities

EN

12.11.1999

In the case of the allocation of call numbers for Internet service providers (ISPs), the Commission was informed that the case was dealt with at national level by the national commission for telecommunications (EET). The EET has informed the Commission that it has imposed a fine of GDR 80 million on OTE (Greek telecommunications company) for its failure to provide the single access numbers to Internet service providers. As far as the Commission is aware two ISPs have not signed a contract with OTE relating to the granting of such a number. As regards the increase of the rates for urban calls, there is under Community law a general obligation on Member States to allow their operator to rebalance their telephone tariffs, when these tariffs are out of line with the underlying costs. Directive 98/10/EC, however, requires Member States to ensure that the voice telephony service remains affordable. The principle of cost-orientation does nevertheless not prevent costs being recouped in different ways for two services provided using partly the same infrastructure when this is justified by the nature of the respective services or the demand patterns. The relevant Greek authorities could therefore allow OTE to apply a lower tariff for Internet access, as far as the same rate would apply to all Internet service providers.

(1999/C 325/085)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-0093/99 by Gerardo Fernández-Albor (PPE) to the Commission (27 January 1999)

Subject: Extension of the Erasmus programme to cover Latin America The Erasmus programme has become a real example of what Community policy can achieve when it has been well thought out and closely coordinated. By taking part in exchanges enabling them to study at other Community universities, thousands of students are helping many young Europeans to feel more European. The logical conclusion is that the Erasmus programme, which has proved to be a significant venture, should extend beyond Community frontiers, for instance to Latin America, which already has a wealth of experience in the same field because countless thousands of students have crossed the Atlantic to study either in Spain or in Latin America. Does the Commission believe that it should consider how the Erasmus programme might be extended to cover Latin America, either directly or by implementing a similar programme, with a view to ensuring that young people in the EU and Latin America will each have the opportunity to study in the other geographical area?

Answer given by M. Marín on behalf of the Commission (9 March 1999) The Erasmus programme has proved to be a model of academic cooperation in Europe. On the basis of the Erasmus venture and after several studies, the Commission decided to launch a similar initiative and in March 1994 it therefore created the ALFA programme on the basis of Council Regulation (EEC) 443/92 of 25 February 1992, on financial and technical assistance to, and economic cooperation with, the developing countries in Asia and Latin America (1). ALFA (translated into English as Latin American Academic Training) is the programme of cooperation in higher education between European and Latin American institutions designed to improve management within institutions and the training conditions of qualified staff. Eligible countries include all the Member States and 18 Latin American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela). The partners are institutions of higher education officially recognised by the governments.The final beneficiaries will be high school and university students, administrative staff, teachers and researchers at the institutions involved.

12.11.1999

EN

Official Journal of the European Communities

C 325/69

ALFA is divided into two sub-programmes. Sub-programme A: cooperation on institutional management and sub-programme B: cooperation on scientific and technological training (mobility of students and postgraduates). For the first stage of the ALFA programme 846 projects were approved, including 183 projects (21,6 %) for sub-programme A and 663 projects (78,4 %) for sub-programme B. In all, 530 European institutions and 373 Latin American institutions participated, and the Commission awarded 366 part-financed grants for European students in Latin America, 1089 for Latin American students in Europe and 243 for Latin American students in other Latin American institutions. On the basis of programme evaluation reports, the Commission prepared a further stage of the programme which was approved by the Commission on 4 December. Internal Commission procedures to set up the programme are presently underway.
(1) OJ L 52, 27.2.1992.

(1999/C 325/086)

WRITTEN QUESTION P-0103/99 by Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (PPE) to the Commission (22 January 1999)

Subject: Obligation to go before the International Court of Justice for the peaceful resolution of disputes under the 1995 New York Convention on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks In her reply to my Oral Question H-1189/98 (1) at the plenary sitting of 12 January 1999, Commissioner Emma Bonino stated that EU ratification of the 1995 New York Convention on Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks would mean that the compulsory dispute-settlement procedure established in that Convention ‘would clearly prevent Canada from withdrawing from the Court’s jurisdiction as it did in 1994/5’. On what legal precepts does the Commission base its view that Canada would be obliged to go before the International Court of Justice to resolve a dispute arising between the EU and Canada within the framework of that Convention once both were party to the 1995 New York Convention and once that Convention had entered into force?
(1) Debates of the European Parliament (January 1999).

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission (4 March 1999) The concept of compulsory and binding dispute settlement has indeed become a cornerstone of the 1995 United Nations agreement on straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks. This very concept is enshrined in part IX and more particularly in the provisions of article 30 of the agreement, which refer back to the provisions relating to the settlement of disputes set out in part XV of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the law of the sea. In this context, compulsory and binding dispute settlement means that, for international disputes arising within the purview of these legal instruments, states remain free to choose the means to settle such disputes, but that the chosen procedure must ultimately entail a binding decision for the parties to the dispute. Under this system, there is, in principle, no room for reservations and exclusions and, therefore, this contrasts with a system of optional jurisdiction over legal disputes such as that laid down in article 36 of the statute of the International court of justice. It is clear that compulsory and binding dispute settlement under the 1995 agreement will not become available until this agreement has entered into force, and only for those states which have actually ratified it.

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