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5.12.

2002 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 301 E/113

It would seem that none of the above measures has yet been completed, and there are doubts as to
whether the project is being implemented as approved. These doubts concern, in particular, the supply of
sand, which has taken place in recent weeks within a period of 15 days and whose type is different from
the type laid down in the plan. This is liable to cause serious damage to the protected ecosystems, and
especially to the posidonia oceanica meadow.

The environmental organisations ‘Friends of the Earth’ and ‘Legal Intervention Group’ have approached the
Community, national and local authorities, asking for checks to be carried out to ascertain whether the
project is being properly implemented. As a result, the Commission has opened procedure No 99/4811.

Is the Commission aware of the above?

Has it checked whether the legislation on the protection of natural and semi-natural habitats (Directive No
92/43/EEC) and the actual project stipulations, as officially approved and funded by the Community, are
being complied with?

Does it intend to take appropriate action on the matter?

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992, p. 7.

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(19 June 2002)

As mentioned by the Honourable Member, the Commission has opened an infringement file further to a
complaint on the project to protect the Poetto coastline in Cagliari (including an urban road and associated
developments) and is assessing a possible breach of Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the
conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, with reference to the possible implications on
the Special Protection Area ((SPA) under Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the
conservation of wild birds (1)) Stagno di Molentargius (ITB044002) and on the proposed Site of
Community Importance (pSCI under Directive 92/43/EEC, Stagno di Molentargius e territori limitrofi
(ITB040022). Should the Commission come to the conclusion that Community law is being breached in
the specific case, it would not hesitate, as the guardian of the EC Treaty, to take all necessary measures,
including infringement procedures under Article 226 of the EC Treaty, in order to ensure compliance with
the relevant Community law.

The shore refilling carried out in the last few weeks is not part of the investigation made in the framework
of the above mentioned complaint. In any event, the information given by the Honourable Member on this
issue is not sufficiently detailed. As there are insufficient grounds of complaint in relation to the
application of Directive 92/43/EEC to the issue, no potential breach of the directive mentioned above can
be identified at present. Should the Honourable Member provide more detailed information enabling the
Commission to assess the implications of the shore refilling on habitats and species present in the pSCI,
the Commission would be able to investigate this matter as well.

(1) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979.

(2002/C 301 E/119) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1264/02


by Luigi Vinci (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(24 April 2002)

Subject: Reopening of Mont Blanc tunnel

The Commission’s intention to reopen the Mont Blanc tunnel to international heavy goods traffic is sure to
lead to various types of nuisance and pollution. The approach which it is encouraging runs contrary to the
general interest in Europe as a whole and this decision is completely at odds with various policy decisions
taken recently by the European Union.
C 301 E/114 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 5.12.2002

How can the decision to reopen the Mont Blanc tunnel to some 6 000 lorries per day be compatible with
the EU environmental commitments, such as:

 the decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, imposing an 8 % reduction in CO2 emissions in the European
Union;

 the Treaty of Amsterdam, which established sustainable development as a priority objective;

 the sustainable development strategy adopted by the Heads of State and Government in Göteborg in
June 2001, which advocates that environmental concerns be incorporated into all EU policies.

No serious argument can serve to justify the gradual choking to death of the alpine valleys by road traffic,
as 30 % of lorries run empty, road transport is unacceptably cheap, rail alternatives are largely under-
utilised and inland waterways and sea transport are underdeveloped.

How does the Commission expect to cope with the prospect, referred to in its White Paper, of goods
traffic through the Alps doubling by 2020?

(2002/C 301 E/120) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1276/02


by Luigi Vinci (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(6 May 2002)

Subject: Reopening of the Mont Blanc tunnel

The Commission has been consulted about the conditions for reopening the Mont Blanc tunnel to heavy
goods traffic. Article 4 of the relevant regulation presupposes a maximum of 240 TIR lorries per hour
passing through, equivalent to 5 760 per day. The access roads go across the Mont Blanc massif, which is
considered to be part of the heritage of mankind and the world and is protected by international charters
such as the Alpine Convention. The traffic which the regulation allows to go through the Mont Blanc
tunnel would therefore have an impact on the areas crossed by the access roads. During the three years
when the tunnel was closed  since 24 March 1999  all investments were aimed at making the tunnel
itself safe and no resources were invested in the environmental and human ‘safety’ of the areas crossed by
the access roads, except the projects to build two enormous parking areas (each for about 3 000 lorries) to
help comply with the rules on the circulation of heavy goods traffic. However, these projects have not yet
been completed and the parking areas will be located in Aosta (Italy) and Le Fayet (France), about 30 km
from the entrance to the tunnel.

What steps will the Commission take in the immediate future to ensure that the area is protected against
damage caused by heavy traffic on such a potentially large scale, in view of the fact that before the tragedy
of 24 March 1999, when there were an average of 2 800 HGVs per day, the quality of the air was already
under serious threat, and in order to safeguard the integrity of the ‘Espace Mont Blanc’ by proposing
‘sustainable development’ models capable of reconciling the needs of the inhabitants and the free
movement of persons and goods in an environment universally recognised as being ‘fragile and sensitive’?

Joint answer
to Written Questions P-1264/02 and E-1276/02
given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(5 June 2002)

The reopening of the Mont Blanc tunnel will restore a key link between France and Italy and reduce the
environmental risks and pollution caused by the lorries currently diverted through the Maurienne and Susa
valleys, where the local population bears the full brunt. Far stricter conditions will be imposed on traffic
than those in force at the time of the tragic fire in 1999. They will provide a means of automatically
limiting the number of heavy goods vehicles on the Mont Blanc route, balancing traffic more evenly
between the Mont Blanc and Fréjus tunnels and improving safety.