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C 76/88 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 11. 3.

98

An agreement of this kind would create a range of serious problems, including fragmentation of the market,
barriers to free trade, restrictions on competition and innovation, lack of flexibility, legislative uncertainty,
invalidation of the provisions of Directive 94/62/EC, increased environmental impact, and higher transport and
distribution costs for food processing companies in particular, with attendant increases in consumer prices, not to
mention the unsustainable level of reinvestment needed to upgrade manufacturing plants.

(1) OJ L 365, 31.12.1994, p. 10.

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard au nom de la Commission

(4 September 1997)

As the Honourable Member states the Commission is assessing the conformity of the German packaging
legislation with European law. In parallel with the infringement proceedings, the Commission, also got in touch
directly with the German authorities in order to investigate ways to overcome problems related to
non-conformity. The Honourable Member can be assured that the Commission is assessing very carefully any
problems related to the internal market rules.

Irrespective of the result of these contacts it is worth noting that although Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and
packaging waste aims, as a first priority, at preventing the production of packaging, it does not oblige Member
States to give preference to the reuse of packaging. On the other hand, it certainly does not prevent Member
States to do this on their own, as long as national legislation is in conformity with the Treaty. In this context it is
worth noting that reuse schemes are not harmonized by the Directive at European level. Therefore it is not correct
to assume that any preference given to reuse infringes Community law. It is necessary to assess on a case by case
basis whether specific elements of such a scheme run counter to the provisions of the Treaty.

It is true that Directive 94/62/EC does not set up, due to a lack of life-cycle assessments at European level, a clear
hierarchy between reuse and recycling. However, this does not prevent Member States setting up, at their level
and based on their own life-cycle assessments, national systems on reuse and recycling. It is then up to the
Commission to assess whether these systems are compatible with the legal framework established at European
level.

It is finally worth noting that Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste aims both to prevent or
reduce any impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment, thus providing a high level of
environmental protection, and to ensure the functioning of the internal market and the avoidance of obstacles to
trade and distortion and restriction of competition within the Community. Any compliance test has to focus on
both aspects, that is on trade and, equally importantly, on the impact of the reuse scheme on the environment.

(98/C 76/180) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2266/97

by Amedeo Amadeo (NI) to the Commission

(2 July 1997)

Subject: Piracy of television decoders

The illegal use of decoders and smart cards slowed down the growth of pay television services in 1996 and is
holding up the launch of digital broadcasting in Europe. This kind of audiovisual piracy currently accounts for
more than ECU 200 million in lost income for terrestrial, cable and satellite broadcasters and for programme
makers. Will the Commission adopt a binding directive this year designed to protect scrambled services and will
it hold training seminars and other activities to help police and magistrates to combat crimes of piracy?
11. 3. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 76/89

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission


(4 September 1997)

The Commission is aware of the problem raised by the Honourable Member. Following the resolution adopted
by Parliament on 13 May, the Commission has adopted a proposal for a Parliament and Council Directive on the
legal protection of conditional access services. (1)

(1) COM(97) 356 final.

(98/C 76/181) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2272/97


by Patricia McKenna (V) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: Proposal for a Commission White Paper on arms trade

In May 1997 Parliament adopted a report by British Socialist MEP Gary Titley on the Commission
communication on the challenges facing the European defence-related industry (A4-0076/97).

The report suggested that the Commission draft a White Paper on the arms trade and encourage the EU Council
of Ministers to draft a legally binding code of conduct on EU arms exports to third countries.

What progress has the Commission made in implementing Parliament’s suggestion? When is the White Paper
likely to be published?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(4 September 1997)

During discussion of the Titley report the Commission gave its wholehearted support to the suggestion that it
prepare a white paper on arms exports incorporating a legally binding code of conduct.

The report highlights the complexity and importance of arms exports in what is an area of national sovereignty
controlled by national governments where Member States have very different interests and sensitivities.

Criteria governing arms exports have been adopted at European Union level but responsibility for their
implementation lies solely with the Member States. The Commission will need more information about national
controls of arms exports for progress to be made in simplifying controls on transfers of arms within the
Community.

In its conclusions the Amsterdam European Council called for swift action to be taken within the European
Union to develop a ‘responsible and coherent arms export control policy’. The Commission will draw on the
work undertaken within this framework to draft the white paper on arms exports which it has agreed to present to
Parliament.

(98/C 76/182) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2273/97


by Susan Waddington (PSE) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: Transportation and storage of nuclear waste

Following recent public demonstrations against the transportation and storage of nuclear waste in Germany, the
Commission must be aware of the growing public concern surrounding such activity in all Member States.