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C 60/42 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 25. 2.

98

Given that there are two Member States carrying out experiments with non-standard dimensions and/or weights
in combined transport, is it the Commission’s belief that experiments may also be carried out using alternative
dimensions and/or weights for freight vehicles in other Member States within the European Union?

Could this lead, in the Commission’s opinion, to common rules for such experiments to develop combined
transport?

Does the Commission not think it is worth considering, with a view to protection of the environment, permitting
greater dimensions for non-combined transport, in accordance with Parliament’s opinion on the dimensions and
weight of freight vehicles above 3.5 tonnes, provided the maximum axle pressure does not exceed a fixed amount
and there is still a sufficiently large statutory turning circle?

If so, hows does Commission intend to draw up such rules?

If not, why not?

(1) OJ L 235, 17.9.1996, p. 59.

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission


(10 July 1997)

Member States have until September 1997 to implement Directive 96/53/EC on motor vehicle weights and
dimensions. This Directive sets a maximum load length of 15.65 metres and so will prevent the transport of two
8.15 metres swap bodies on a single vehicle combination. It is only until this date that Member States remain
entitled to allow greater vehicle dimensions on their territory.

Article 4(4) of the Directive does allow scope for Member States to have vehicle dimensions exceeding the
maxima laid down in the Directive. However, these are subject to strict criteria and the Commission must be
informed in advance. To date only two Member States (Finland and Sweden) have formally indicated an interest
in longer vehicle combinations in accordance with Article 4(4).

Non-standard experimental vehicles will continue to be permitted under Article 4(5) of the Directive for trial
periods.

The Honourable Member will be aware that the Commission did seek to harmonise total vehicle weights
throughout the Community but this aspect of the Commission’s proposal was rejected by both the Parliament and
the Council. Each Member State is, therefore, entitled to set maximum vehicle weights for domestic transport
and may have higher limits for vehicles undertaking combined transport operations if they so wish.

The Commission currently has no plans to propose changes to the maximum dimensions permitted by the
Directive.

(98/C 60/69) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1785/97


by Sirkka-Liisa Anttila (ELDR) to the Commission
(16 May 1997)

Subject: Overturning of the ban on the import of hormone-treated meat and its effects on EU consumers’ health
and on their right to refuse to eat such meat

According to information published in Finland, the EU is losing its fight in the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body
to maintain the ban on hormone-treated meat which it imposed on health grounds. If it loses, it will mean
dismantling the legislation banning, on health grounds, the import of such meat.

The use of hormones to promote meat production is customary in the USA, whereas in the EU it is prohibited by
legislation precisely on the grounds of these hormones’ effect on health.

There is not enough scientifically obtained evidence that hormones, particularly those used in meat production,
are harmless to consumers. If the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body now decides otherwise, it will be disregarding
the protection of consumers’ health and showing that commercial interests have a greater influence on their
decision.
25. 2. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 60/43

EU consumers cannot be forced to eat meat produced with hormones as a result of a DSB decision! It is thus
vitally important that EU consumers should always have the right to all essential information about the ethics of
food production and the composition of in foodstuffs in terms of raw ingredients, including the use of hormones
and genetically altered material.

The protection of consumers’ rights and the guarantee of adequate information must also be included on the
agenda for the Amsterdam summit.

The Member States, including Finland, have placed consumer policy, and in particular the improvement of
consumers’ rights, on the agenda for the IGC. EU consumers’ confidence in meat has already taken a battering as
a result of the BSE crisis. The EU cannot therefore afford any kind of new hysteria or uncertainty about meat.

What measures are the Commissioner responsible for consumer affairs and the relevant Commision officials
prepared to take to protect consumers’ rights if the DSB should overturn the EU’s hormone ban imposed on
health grounds?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(18 June 1997)

The World trade organisation (WTO) panel on the complaints brought by the United States and Canada, against
Community legislation concerning the import of meat and meat products derived from animals to which
hormones have been administered for growth promotion, has issued its interim findings.

The Commission considers that these interim findings contain significant errors and has asked for them to be
reviewed. As the dispute settlement procedure, including the appeals procedure, has yet to be completed, the
Commission is not in a position to predict the outcome.

The Honourable Member is correct in stating that Community consumers cannot be forced to eat meat produced
with hormones as a result of a WTO decision. Whatever the outcome of the dispute settlement procedure in these
cases, the Commission will not make any proposal which would result in a lowering of the high level of
consumer protection which obtains in the Community.

(98/C 60/70) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1795/97


by Luciano Vecchi (PSE) to the Commission
(20 May 1997)

Subject: Implementation of Decision 96/449/EC on the processing of waste from mammals into meal for use as
feed

Regarding Decision 96/449/EEC (1), on which I have already tabled two questions to the Commission and which
is proving enormously difficult to implement at the practical level in all the Member States, will the Commission
clarify the following points:
1. Does the protein residue obtained from processed mammal bones (fit for consumption or otherwise) always
have to be pressure-treated (3 bar at 133 °C for 20 minutes) in accordance with Decision 96/449/EC in order
to be used as animal feed?
2. Does the protein residue obtained from rendered mammal fatty tissue (fit for consumption or otherwise)
always have to be pressure-treated in the manner laid down in the Decision in order to be used as animal
feed?
3. What fluid has to be pressurized to generate the 3 bar specified in the Decision, air, nitrogen, carbon dioxide,
or water vapour?

(1) OJ L 184, 24.7.1996, p. 43.