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C 160 E/138 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 4.7.


Above all, it should also be made a compulsory and permanent part of the curriculum at the different
stages of each education system with a programme that is developed and adjusted to the level of education

Could the Council begin by carrying out a survey on this issue in the Member States and candidate

Once this analysis has been done, would the next step not be to draw the consequences and invite the
governments to introduce the measures required to achieve the desired results?

Does the Council not see this as a crucial challenge for the democratic future of the Union, namely to give
real substance at last to European citizenship for the younger generations of today and tomorrow?


(25/26 March 2002)

In relation to the question raised by the Honourable Member, the Council would point out that, pursuant
to Article 149(1) of the Treaty, the European Community is required to respect fully ‘the responsibility of
the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems …’. It should also
be borne in mind that nursery school education is not officially recognised in all Member States as forming
part of the national education system.

With respect to the appropriateness of a survey in the different Member States on the teaching of
European integration, it is not for the Council to carry out a survey of this kind. It would perhaps be more
appropriate for the Honourable Member to address his question to the European Commission.

(2002/C 160 E/175) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3545/01

by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(8 January 2002)

Subject: Obstacles to a cross-border approach to breeding programmes for the European hamster, an
endangered species

1. Is the Commission aware that the European hamster, a species which can only live in areas of at least
30 ha that do not contain roads, woods or buildings, is at risk of extinction in the densely populated
Netherlands, and that the Das en Boom Association and Blijdorp (Rotterdam Zoo) have recently started a
breeding programme using the last individuals to have been caught, as a result of which 135 animals have
so far been bred with the intention of returning them to the wild as soon as suitable areas have been

2. Is the Commission aware, furthermore, that, despite previous undertakings to find eleven such areas,
of 45 ha each, consisting of windblown loamy soils (löss) in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands
Government probably will not find them because of the ongoing construction of new roads, business/
industrial estates and residential areas and bearing in mind that the animals also cannot be returned to the
wild near woodland because they would then be eaten too quickly by buzzards, hawks and foxes?

3. Can the Commission confirm that exchanges of European hamsters for use in a common breeding
programme in order to prevent inbreeding (degeneration arising from individual animals’ being descended
from a pool of ancestors who are genetically too alike) are being obstructed by internal borders within the

4. Can the Commission furthermore confirm that efforts to return these specially bred hamsters to the
wild in the Netherlands’ neighbours, Belgium and Germany, are likewise being hampered by internal
borders within the EU?
4.7.2002 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 160 E/139

5. What can the Commission do to help eliminate obstacles to the finding of habitats for European
hamsters bred with the aim of enabling the species to survive and to help facilitate cross-border breeding

Source: Rotterdams Dagblad, 29 and 30 November 2001

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(15 February 2002)

The fact that the European hamster has been included in annex IV of the Council directive 92/43/EEC of
21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (1), hereafter ‘Habitats
Directive’, shows that the Commission is aware of the necessity to maintain the conservation status of this

On the occasion of exchanges that took place with the non-governmental organisations (NGO) ‘Das en
Boom’ in relation to complaint cases, the Commission has been informed of the existence of a captive
breeding programme using hamsters caught from the wild.

The Dutch Government has sent to the Commission a ‘Hamster Protection Plan 2000-2004’, which aims
to establish 500 hectares of suitable habitats in which captive-bred individuals can be released. Under
complaint procedure A-98/2016, the Commission has requested the Netherlands to supply information
about the legal instruments to realise this plan and about its results so far. The Netherlands have replied to
this request on 21 October 2001. The Commission is currently examining this reply.

Capture, exchange, and reintroduction of species listed in annex IV of the ‘Habitats Directive’ can be
allowed by Member States under a derogation regime that complies with the provisions of Article 16 (1) of
this directive. Provided that Member States decide to jointly apply such a derogation regime there should
be no problem with the crossing of national borders.

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(2002/C 160 E/176) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3559/01

by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(8 January 2002)

Subject: Performance of the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) in Greece

The Court of Auditors’ Special Report 4/2001 (1) states that ‘IACS has not been implemented in Greece’
(point 64 of the Report) and that ‘the basic elements of the IACS have been implemented in all Member
States, with the exception of Greece’ (point 74 of the Commission’s reply), while Table 4 shows that the
Commission identified weaknesses in all the basic controls on area and livestock aid. Furthermore, the
Panhellenic Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Cooperatives which undertook the IACS has alleged
(Communication of 2.8.2001) that the Ministry of Agriculture will be unable to meet payments of aid to
producers this year owing to delays in signing the relevant agreement.

Given that most of the aid is now paid through the IACS, will the Commission say:

1. What are the consequences for Greece, producers and the protection of the Community’s financial
interests of failing to implement the IACS?

2. What steps has the Commission taken to oblige Greece to implement the IACS?