Commission Question – Funding of agricultural projects in Georgia

Question for written answer E-008853/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD) and Julia Reid (EFDD)

Subject: Funding of agricultural projects in Georgia

EUR 4 612 447 has been given to a project in Georgia to strengthen farmers’ cooperatives in rural municipalities. Is there any concrete benefit to the Member States?

EN

E-008853/2015

Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini

on behalf of the Commission

(24.9.2015)

Under the European Neighbourhood Programme for Rural Development in Georgia (ENPARD), with a total budget of EUR 40,000,000, the EU is funding not a one stand-alone project but a set of measures aiming to strengthen business oriented small farmers’ cooperatives. The amount of the EU funding to these grants schemes is EUR 15,000,000. Also as part of ENPARD, the EU is providing direct technical assistance and budget support to the Government on agri-coops development. Thanks to these efforts, 1,040 agriculture cooperatives have been established. The main objective of this support is to improve the living conditions of the small farmers in Georgia. There are several positive effects for the EU Member States too:

(1)  By supporting coops, the EU is aiming at alleviating rural poverty, which ultimately should enhance social cohesion and stability in Georgia, and also reduce the migration rate from rural areas. A more prosperous and more stable Georgia is in EU’s and its Member States interest.

(2)  Investors from the EU Member States, such as European exporting companies and retailers operating in Georgia are already benefiting from economy of scale production by the smaller farmers.

Commission Question – FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

Question for written answer E-008840/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: FIFA World Cup Russia 2018

In light of recent human rights abuses in Russia, and the questions raised over the Russian bid, does the Commission intend to apply any diplomatic pressure regarding the host nation of the FIFA World Cup 2018?

EN

E-008840/2015

Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini

on behalf of the Commission

(24.9.2015)

The High Representative/Vice-President would like to refer the Honourable Member to the answer she provided to a similar question E-008912/20141.

The decision to award the organization of the 2018 World Cup to Russia belongs to the executive committee of the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association).

1  http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=WQ&reference=E-2014-008912&language=EN

Commission Question – Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)

Question for written answer E-008844/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI)

The funding allocation for the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) for 2014-2010 is EUR 15.4 billion. Does the Commission accept that, at a time of austerity, this figure is far too high, and that taxpayers’ money should instead have greater focus on the Member States?

EN

E-008844/2015

Answer given by Mr Hahn

on behalf of the Commission

(24.9.2015)

 

The Commission does not agree with the honourable Member because it believes that the funding earmarked under the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) from 2014 to 2020 is in the mutual interest of the Member States and the partner countries.

The Commission would like to point out to the Honourable Member that the Council and the European Parliament adopted on 11 March 2014 the ENI regulation (EU No 232/2014) which sets out the indicative ENI budget for the period 2014-2020.

Commission Question – Foreign dignitaries banned from EU

Question for written answer E-009120/2015

to the Council

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Foreign dignitaries banned from EU

Does the Council possess a list of non-EU politicians and dignitaries banned from entering EU Member States either under EU law or the law of the Member States? If so, can it provide details?

EN

E-009120/2015

Reply

(16.9.2015)

The lists of individuals to whom travel restrictions apply are set out in the appropriate annexes of the legal acts imposing EU CFSP restrictive measures. The restrictive measures in force can be accessed at http://eeas.europa.eu/cfsp/sanctions/docs/measures_en.pdf.

The Council does not possess any information on Member States’ legislation.

Commission Question – BBC funding and impartiality

Question for written answer E-008852/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD) and Julia Reid (EFDD)

Subject: BBC funding and impartiality

The BBC has received EUR 4 975 000 for media sector reform in the Southern Mediterranean region. What are the specific aims of this project?

Is there any requirement for the European Union or its values to be promoted as part of this project, and, if so, how does this fit in with the BBC’s charter requirement to impartiality?

EN

E-008852/2015

Answer given by Mr Hahn

on behalf of the Commission

(21.9.2015)

In January 2014, the European Commission launched the MedMedia project with a value of EUR 4 975 000. The service contract was awarded to a consortium led by BBC Media Action including as partners the International Federation of Journalists, IREX Europe, Blanquerna Communications School, the Federation of Arab Journalists and the Jordan Media Institute. The tendering procedure was an open procedure. Candidates were free to form the consortia which seemed the most appropriate and to apply with a project proposal in line with the Terms of Reference, proposing the methodology most appropriate considering their skills, competences and resources in order to reach the set objectives.

The overall aim of the project is to reinforce the role of media as vector for democratisation and contribute to the development of a more public service oriented media landscape in the southern Mediterranean as well as contribute to the creation and development of public sphere in the region.

The specific objectives are:

·     To accompany the process of restructuring the media sector in the ENP South countries and to develop the capacities in the media sector based on a bottom up approach so that they could fulfil their role as independent and professional watchdogs.

·     To improve level of contacts between media practitioners from the region facilitating their work at local and regional level.

·     To make available the overview of the media sector to relevant decision makers and media practitioners.

The consortium has to respect the visibility guidelines of the European Commission when implementing this project. These visibility guidelines ensure that the EU can be identified as the donor.

Commission Question – EU politicians banned from third countries

Question for written answer E-009121/2015

to the Council

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: EU politicians banned from third countries

Does the Council maintain a list of which EU politicians are currently banned from nations which are not members of the European Union? If so, please provide details.

EN

E-009121/2015

Reply

(16.9.2015)

The information requested by the Honourable Member is not available to the Council.

Commission Question – Ornamental fish

Question for written answer E-011525/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Ornamental fish

Not only do a great many UK citizens keep ornamental fish as pets, but any new restrictions enforced on the trade and import of ornamental fish would have a negative impact on the UK economy. Will the Commission commit to ensuing that ornamental fish would be exempt from any future proposals to limit the import of ‘exotic’ or ‘wild’ species into the European Union? Does the Commission have any knowledge of any upcoming proposals that would impact the import and trade of either captive-bred or wild-caught ornamental fish in the United Kingdom? This industry employs more than 10 000 people in the UK and is worth an estimated GBP 400 million each year to the British economy. Does the Commission know of any proposals that would impact the sale, trade or import of ornamental fish in the United Kingdom?

EN

E-011525/2015

Answer given by Mr Vella

on behalf of the Commission

(21.9.2015)

A number of species of ornamental fish are listed in the Appendices to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and in the Annexes to Council Regulation (EC) No 338/971. As a consequence, international trade in these species is regulated, and imports into the EU are conditional upon meeting the provisions of the above Regulation.

The Commission is currently assessing, together with the EU Member States’ CITES authorities, what species may warrant further consideration in view of the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to CITES in the autumn of 2016. The Banggai cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) was recently identified by the EU Scientific Review Group as one of these species on the basis of the following report:http://ec.europa.eu/environment/cites/pdf/reports/Species_in_EU_pet_trade_for_further_consideration.pdf. The status of this species is currently being assessed with a view to deciding whether any action would need to be taken at the international level to improve the protection and the management of the species.

1  OJ L 61, 3.3.1997, p. 1–69

Commission Question – Budget draft meeting for 2016 – Somalia

Question for written answer E-008849/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: Budget draft meeting for 2016 – Somalia

During the budget draft meeting for 2016, the point was raised in relation to having an EU delegation in Somalia. Please provide information relating to how much money this is costing the taxpayer and for how long will this delegation be based in Somalia. Can the Commission confirm the cost and duration of the delegation?

EN

E-008849/2015

Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini

on behalf of the Commission

(16.9.2015)

The European External Action Service (EEAS) is currently working on technical and budgetary details of the establishment of the EU Delegation in Somalia, with the aim of providing the Committee on Budgets (COBU) with a detailed financial statement and to submit by autumn 2015 a building file in accordance with Art 203 of the Financial Regulation. The Federal Government of Somalia has made available a plot of land for 10 years for the EU delegation in the Mogadishu International Airport secure zone. Security situation permitting the EU delegation would be established for an indefinite duration with the aim of eventually moving into Mogadishu city.

The EEAS is making all efforts to keep costs as low as possible, while working towards the highest standards of security.  The current arrangements for EU’s presence in Somalia nevertheless do not provide political visibility proportionate to the level of its engagement in and with the country, nor the ability to deliver all the EU objectives supporting the country’s transition to a stable, plural and developing democracy.  An EU permanent presence in Mogadishu would ensure direct engagement both with Somali Federal Institutions and with the growing number of other international actors present there – the United Nations and the African Union have a long established presence; UK, China, UAE, Turkey have already established their embassies recently and the US announced re-opening an embassy earlier this year.

Commission Question – Youth unemployment in the Member States

Question for written answer E-008851/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD) and Julia Reid (EFDD)

Subject: Youth unemployment in the Member States

It was mentioned in the budget draft meeting by Rapporteur Arthuis that it is crucial to tackle youth unemployment in Europe by increasing mobility and by using Erasmus as a tool to do so. What other options have the EU explored to reduce youth unemployment, in terms of apprenticeships and growth, and to keep people in their own home nations in order to contribute towards growth and not add to the problem of brain drain?

EN

E-008851/2015

Answer given by Ms Thyssen

on behalf of the Commission

(11.9.2015)

 

The Council Recommendation on establishing a Youth Guarantee1 calls on Member States to ensure that all young people under 25 receive a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed2. The Commission considers that setting up Youth Guarantee schemes is a fundamental structural reform. It can make a systemic difference in improving school-to-work transitions, thus creating the right conditions for growth thanks to better functioning labour markets. Substantial EU financial support to youth employment measures is provided by the European Structural Investment Funds (ESI Funds)3, in particular the ESF and the Youth Employment Initiative. The ERDF also supports employment and long-term growth by financing productive investments to boost employment and counter brain drain (e.g. business support to safeguard jobs, investment in education and public employment infrastructure).

Regarding apprenticeships, new priorities for modernisation Vocational Education and Training (VET) were endorsed by Member States ministers in Riga on 22 June 2015. They include a focus on work-based learning with particular attention to apprenticeships. The Commission will support efforts of Member States to implement the 5 priorities. One example of such a support is the European Alliance for Apprenticeships which aims at increasing supply, quality and image of apprenticeships.  The Ministerial meeting in Riga gave a new boost to the Alliance involving 38 new pledges including from business organisations, chambers, social partners, VET providers, and 7 new countries joining.

1  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:32013H0426(01)

2  For a state of play of the Youth Guarantee per country please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1161&langId=en

3  http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/funding/

Commission Question – EUCAP Nestor

Question for written answer E-008847/2015

to the Commission

Rule 130

Jonathan Arnott (EFDD)

Subject: EUCAP Nestor

Can the Commission please provide an estimate of the total cost of EUCAP Nestor in the Horn of Africa? Please provide a tabled breakdown of the annual costs and the duration of the project.

EN

E-008847/2015

Answer given by Vice-President Mogherini

on behalf of the Commission

(11.9.2015)

The European Union Mission on Regional Maritime Capacity Building in the Horn of Africa (EUCAP NESTOR) is a civilian Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission which was established by the Council Decision 2012/389/CFSP of 16 July 2012. This Decision provided for an initial duration of the mission until 15 July 2014.

On 22 July 2014 the Council adopted Decision 2014/485/CFSP amending Decision 2012/389/CFSP and extending the mandate of EUCAP NESTOR until 12 December 2016.

The budgets (or financial reference amounts) approved by the Council until now to cover the costs of EUCAP Nestor are as follows:

– EUR 22 880 000 for the period from 16 July 2012 to 15 November 2013.

– EUR 11 950 000 for the period from 16 November 2013 to 15 October 2014.

– EUR 17 900 000 for the period from 16 October 2014 to 15 October 2015.

EUCAP Nestor is responsible for the implementation of these budgets. For that purpose, the mission has signed three agreements with the Commission concerning the implementation of each financial reference amount.

The first two agreements concluded between the Commission and EUCAP Nestor for the first two financial reference amounts (covering the periods until 15 November 2013 and 15 October 2014, respectively) are being audited. Therefore the Commission cannot at this stage yet provide for a tabled breakdown of the final annual actual costs under these two budgets As regards the on-going agreement for the budget ending by 15 October 2015, it is currently being implemented by the mission and the related audit can only take place after the end of the implementation period. As a consequence thereof, at this stage no definitive figures concerning the annual actual costs incurred by the mission can be provided.