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C 222 E/36 Official Journal of the European Union EN 18.9.


As the Honourable Member might know, on 20 April 2000, the Netherlands informed the Commission of
their intention to apply a derogation under the Annex III, paragraph 2(b) of the Nitrates Directive (1),
regarding the mandatory application limit of 170 kilograms/hectare/year (kg/ha/yr) of nitrogen from
livestock manure. The Dutch request for derogation involves the possibility to apply up to 250 kg/ha/yr of
nitrogen from livestock manure to all types of grassland (both permanent and temporary). In order to
justify the derogation, the Netherlands provided a series of technical studies, including by the above-
mentioned RIVM. These studies were examined by an ad hoc expert group established by the Commission,
which presented its conclusions and recommendations in August 2001. The Commission has been
discussing with the Dutch authorities these conclusions and recommendations for over one year.

These discussions, unfortunately, have not led to a situation where the Dutch approach could be approved.
Whereas the Commission has not yet taken a formalised position concerning the above-mentioned
notification of derogation, it is continuing to affirm the need for the full implementation of the Nitrates
Directive both through the infringement proceedings mentioned by the Honourable Member and in
discussions on the derogation.

(1) Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused
by nitrates from agricultural sources.

(2003/C 222 E/041) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3021/02

by Margrietus van den Berg (PSE) to the Commission

(23 October 2002)

Subject: EU aid to Afghanistan

In its Policy Brief on Afghanistan of 1 October 2002, CARE International mentions five key findings:

1. In four recent post-conflict situations, donors spent an average of USD 250 (EUR 257) per capita per
annum on aid. In Afghanistan they pledged that they would spend USD 75 (EUR 77) in 2002, and
over the next five years USD 42 (EUR 43) per capita.

2. Donors are slow to release funds for reconstruction. Most of the funds received have been spent on
emergency aid, not reconstruction.

3. In post-conflict situations, aid grants can bring about growth and economic recovery if the volume of
aid is gradually increased over time.

4. The Afghan authorities have minimal strategic control over the expenditure of aid funds for

5. The National Army will not be trained during the next two years. In the meantime the funds for the
peace-keeping force, expenditure on which is estimated at 4 % of international funding since
7 October 2001, are insufficient.

What is the Commission’s view of these five points?

What specific action can the Commission take?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(11 December 2002)

1. It is very difficult to compare post-conflict situations since a whole range of factors and specific local
circumstances influence them. Consequently, the need for reconstruction aid may differ from case to case.
Therefore, the amount of aid available per capita, on its own, is of limited value when judging if funds are
appropriate or not. For this, Afghanistan has to be seen in the context of its high level of population, and
its relatively low level of actual absorption capacity, which is decisive for meaningful and sustainable
reconstruction investment. The Commission considers that Afghanistan has received very significant
support from the international community.
18.9.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 222 E/37

2. More than 20 years of war and a prolonged drought, the latter still hitting parts of the country,
caused a major humanitarian crisis, which still persists. Consequently, the Afghan population still requires
emergency assistance. In response to this the Humanitarian Aid office (ECHO) provided EUR 73 million for
humanitarian aid and another EUR 15 million has been provided in support of the World Food
Programme of the United Nations. However, the Commission has a clear focus on reconstruction. Out of
the EUR 277 million the Commission will provide in total in 2002, almost two-thirds will be spent on
physical and institutional reconstruction. The majority of projects have been started already. A table
mentioning EC assistance to Afghanistan in 2002 is sent direct to the Honourable Member and to
Parliament’s Secretariat.

3. Financial support is an important element to stimulate economic recovery but other forms of
assistance are equally important, such as institutional capacity building as well as political and legal
stability. Consequently, the reconstruction programme of the Commission is composed of different
instruments aiming to address the above issues in a complementary manner so as to encourage a self
sustaining recovery/development process.

4. It is evident that the Afghan authorities have so far only limited control over aid funds for
reconstruction. This is very much influenced by the fact that the relevant institutions have been created
only a few months ago and basic capacities are still lacking. However, the Commission supports the new
governmental authorities’ efforts to gain more control of aid funds. For this reason the Commission shares
all information about Community funded projects with the competent Afghan authorities and implicates
them more and more in the decision making process. Further to this the Commission provides assistance
to create the necessary capacity to manage aid contributions.

5. The Commission has no mandate to support the national army. The international peace keeping
forces (ISAF), which have a limited mandate only (Kabul and surroundings) are considered as a temporary
solution to improve the security situation of the country. In the most recent security update of the United
Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, Mr L. Brahimi, it was confirmed that
France and the United States have started to provide military training. However, the progress made so far
towards the constitution of a national army is slow, which is very much linked to internal politics.

(2003/C 222 E/042) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3027/02

by Patricia McKenna (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(23 October 2002)

Subject: EU-Sudan relations

Would the Commission give details of the current status of its dialogue with Sudan, and the purpose of it?
This should include details of the personnel involved, the structure of the dialogue, progress made and the
role of the Commission.

Would it also give details of the current position and immediate and long-term objectives of the dialogue
with Sudan?

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(21 November 2002)

As development cooperation could not be implemented in the Sudan since March 1990, due to human
rights violations and the resumption of hostilities in the South of the country, the Commission suspended
direct dialogue with the Government. In November 1999, the Union and the Sudan began a formal
political dialogue in order to support a strengthened peace process and to encourage progress in
governance in which the Commission was fully associated. In December 2001, during a visit by an EU
Troika mission of senior officials, including Commission representatives, the two parties agreed on the
need to pursue and intensify the dialogue in the perspective of a gradual normalisation of relations.