Question 2 May 2012 Sir Graham Watson (ALDE-LibDems)
Subject: Site of Community importance ES6120032: Estrecho Oriental
In December 2008 a site of Community importance (SCI) was introduced under reference ‘ES6120032: Estrecho Oriental’, covering in part an area already covered under the UK’s SCI listing of site ‘UKGIB0002: Southern Waters of Gibraltar’.
On 26 September 2011 the Committee on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (HABITAT) agreed, pursuant to Council Directive 92/43/EEC, a fifth updated list of sites of Community importance for the Mediterranean biogeographical region, which included site ES6120032. The UK Government voted against this decision.
Notwithstanding the Commission’s previous replies with regard to site ES6120032 in response to Written Questions E‑3840/2009, E‑4972/2009 and, most recently, E‑7777/2011, in which the Commission highlights the fact that it consulted all Member States in accordance with the procedure set out in Article 21 of the directive prior to the adoption of each of the lists of sites of Community importance for the Mediterranean, is the Commission satisfied that the Spanish authorities have fulfilled their duty of sincere cooperation in respect of the Estrecho Oriental listing?
Answer 15 June 2012 Commissioner Potočnik
The Commission believes that pursuant to the principle of sincere cooperation set out in Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) a Member State designating a site in an area concerned by a territorial dispute should notify the other concerned Member State before submitting this proposal to the Commission. Whilst it would appear that neither Spain nor the United Kingdom formally undertook this step for the sites they proposed in the disputed territory, the emphasis now must be on the two Member States to cooperate in finding a practical way forward in managing the sites in order to deliver the requirements of Directive 92/43/EEC(1) on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora, as such designation implies.
(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.