Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary written evidence submitted by M. Pierre Mirel, Enlargement Directorate, European Commission


1.   Performance of the Green Line Regulation and proposed amendments

  The volume of trade crossing the line is increasing (CYP 86,000 in November; CYP 110,000 in December), but the overall performance is modest. Between 23 August 2004 (when the Green Line Regulation became fully operational as regards trade) and 31 December 2004, goods worth approximately

475,000 crossed the line. Meanwhile the main products are vegetables (38% in total; 50% of the December crossings) followed by paper (16%) and furniture (10%).

  Neither side has taken concrete measures to improve the operation of the Green Line Regulation. However, the opening of new crossing points is under discussion.

  Taking into consideration the experience gained since the Green Line Regulation entered into force, the Commission proposed on 18 November 2004 a number of amendments in order to further facilitate trade across the line. The proposed amendments provide for

    (1)    a procedure which would allow certain goods (mainly citrus fruit), which are subject to export refunds or intervention measures and therefore currently excluded from preferential treatment, to receive preferential treatment following a decision by the relevant management committee under the common agricultural policy;

    (2)    a specific procedure for allowing movement of live animals and animal products (eg fish and honey) across the green line;

    (3)    an increase of the value level for travellers' allowances: cigarettes, alcohol and other goods (from

    30 to


  The Commission proposal was discussed in the Council working group. However, an agreement has not yet been reached.

2.   Aid and trade regulation: state of play

  COREPER agreed in substance on the text of the aid regulation, including entrusting the European Agency for Reconstruction with the implementation of assistance. The regulation (as well as entrusting EAR) has already received a positive vote in the European Parliament.

  However, there is a stalemate in the Council, since the Dutch Presidency had maintained the coupling of the aid and the trade regulations and as Cyprus remains fiercely opposed to the direct trade regulation as proposed by the Commission. The legal dispute has not yet been settled.

  It is now up to the Luxembourg Presidency to unblock these proposals and reach a satisfactory solution.

15 January 2005

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