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28.12.

2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 374 E/129

Does the Commission not consider that the United Kingdom has broken the solidarity pact which binds all
the EU Member States?

Does the Commission not think that, in such circumstances, it should suggest to the Council of Ministers
that the latter impose exemplary sanctions on the United Kingdom for infringement of the Amsterdam
Treaty?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission
(18 April 2000)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its statement on Echelon at Parliament’s March III
part session (1).

(1) Debates of the European Parliament (March 2000).

(2000/C 374 E/153) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0668/00
by Isidoro Sánchez García (ELDR) to the Commission
(29 February 2000)

Subject: Legislation to implement Article 299(2) in the framework of the common agricultural policy

With reference to the undertaking given by the Commission to include in its work programme for 2000
measures to accord special status to the outermost regions, what measures will the Commission adopt in
the framework of the common agricultural policy to introduce legislation to implement Article 299(2) of
the Treaty on European Union?

Given answer by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission
(22 March 2000)

On 23 November 1999, on the initiative of the President of the Commission, a partnership meeting was
held bringing together Members of the European Parliament and representatives of the seven regions and
three Member States concerned to discuss implementation of the new Article 299(2) (formerly Article 227)
of the EC Treaty. In the light of this meeting and the memoranda presented by the regions and Member
States, the Commission is now preparing the report called for by the European Council of Cologne.

In the spirit of Article 299(2), the Commission intends to continue its policy of taking account of the
specific characteristics and constraints of the outermost regions, particularly as regards farming. Thus, as
indicated in its work programme for 2000, once it has adopted its report the Commission will submit a
draft to Parliament and the Council of any amendments of the Council Regulations on the agricultural
sections of the POSEI programmes which might prove necessary.

(2000/C 374 E/154) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0671/00
by Antonio Tajani (PPE-DE), Stefano Zappalà (PPE-DE),
Giorgio Lisi (PPE-DE), Francesco Fiori (PPE-DE), Raffaele Fitto (PPE-DE),
Raffaele Costa (PPE-DE), Raffaele Lombardo (PPE-DE)
and Francesco Musotto (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(9 March 2000)

Subject: Violation of EU legislation on the cloning of human beings

What action does the Commission intend to take following the decision made by the European Patent
Office in Munich to approve the grant of a patent for embryo duplication.
C 374 E/130 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.2000

How does it intend to uphold fundamental human rights and ensure that, unlike in countries such as the
United States and Japan, it is impossible in the European Union to patent procedures involving the
manipulation of the genetic structure of cells for the purpose of creating living organisms?

How does it intend to ensure that the document approved by the Patent Office categorically rules out the
cloning of human beings?

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(25 April 2000)

The actions of the European Patent Office (EPO), which is not a Community institution, are governed by
the European Patent Convention (EPC). This Convention is an international agreement to which 19 coun-
tries including all the Member States are a party. The implementing regulations to the EPC were amended
last year to take account of Directive 98/44/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 6 July 1998 on the
legal protection of biotechnological inventions (1). The regulations, in following the wording of the
directive, specifically exclude from patentability processes for cloning human beings, processes for
modifying the germ line genetic identity of human beings and uses of human embryos for industrial or
commercial purposes.

In response to the controversy surrounding European patent EP0695351, the Commission wrote to the
EPO expressing concern about the granting of this patent and seeking a swift amendment of this patent. In
response, the EPO has agreed to constitute an opposition division earlier than normal to consider the
oppositions that have already been filed in respect of this patent. This opposition division was duly
constituted on 29 March 2000 and is expected to issue a preliminary ruling shortly. The Commission will
continue to monitor developments and, should the action of the EPO prove inadequate, will consider
further action including the possibility of the Commission or the Community formally opposing this
patent before the EPO.

(1) OJ L 213, 30.7.1998.

(2000/C 374 E/155) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0673/00
by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) and Roberta Angelilli (UEN) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Transfer of personal data and respect for privacy

Pursuant to Articles 29 and 31 of Directive 95/46 (1) on the protection of individuals with regard to the
processing of personal data, the Working Party on Protection of Individuals and the data protection
committee have been recognised as essential bodies in the debate on fixing the rules governing the
application of the directive in question outside EU territory and notably in the United States. Negotiations
with that country have now been in progress for two years, with no date set for their conclusion.

Can the Commission say:

1. What points does the EU consider as essential as regards guarantees and which cannot be agreed
under the approach currently being adopted in the negotiations?

2. Are the differences between the legal systems concerned so great as to prevent a compromise solution
being reached that would provide firm guarantees for citizens and consumers?

3. Would not acceptance by Europe of the self-regulation principle proposed by the United States (‘safe
harbour’) be liable to weaken the protection of privacy and undermine the rules laid down in the
directive?