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C 82/48 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3.

98

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(4 September 1997)

The Commission has no detailed data on the quantities of organic products imported from third countries into the
Community. In the framework of Article 11 of Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production of
agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs (1), only qualitative
information relating in particular to the nature of the imported products and the inspection arrangements in the
third countries, are exchanged between the Member States and the Commission.

The common agricultural policy (CAP) support mechanisms do not differentiate in principle between
agricultural products from conventional production and those from organic production, and in fact they support
both methods of production. However, since it is a method which is favourable for the environment, the organic
production method is well placed to benefit from the financial support mechanisms in Regulation (EEC)
No 2078/92, on agricultural production methods compatible with the requirements of the protection of the
environment and the maintenance of the countryside (2).

Moreover, organic production is supported by the regime of Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91, which creates a
framework of fair competition to the benefit of the organic producers, and a credibility for the organic products
among consumers.

Beyond the measures accepted by the Commission in the framework of Regulation (EEC) No 2078/92, the
Commission has no detailed and systematic information on further support mechanisms in the individual
Member States.

(1) OJ L 198, 22.7.1991.


(2) OJ L 215, 30.7.1992.

(98/C 82/89) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2241/97


by Gerardo Fernández-Albor (PPE) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: New prospects as regards retirement pensions for housewives

In its recent reply to my question (E-0119/97) (1) on the above-mentioned subject, the Council of Ministers held
out hopes that a satisfactory solution might be found to the issue of retirement pensions for housewives, which is
the subject of a far-reaching debate in the Community.

The Council referred to new Commission initiatives which might encompass an issue of great importance for all
housewives, a section of the population that is always at the mercy of interminable discussions which fail to
provide a solution to a question of considerable importance to society.

Can the Commission provide information on the specific proposals on this subject, in the light of the prospects
raised by the Council of Ministers in its recent reply to my question, and how can it respond the legitimate
demands made by housewives throughout the European union?

(1) OJ C 217, 17.7.1997, p. 101.

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(12 September 1997)

The Commission intends to rekindle the debate on the subjects broached in its proposal for a Directive dated
23 October 1987 (1) by putting forward a new proposal for a Directive. This proposal, intended to redress the
shortcomings of the existing directives in the field of equal treatment for men and women, should take into
account developments in case law, particularly in the field of occupational schemes (the Barber case and related
cases), and changes in family and social structures.

It should be pointed out that the problem of social protection for women at home is tackled in the context of the
debate launched at Community level by the Commission communication of 12 March 1997 on ‘Modernising and
17. 3. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/49

improving social protection in the European Union’ (2). In this communication, emphasis is given to adapting
social protection to the new balance of the sexes in terms of participation in working life, and to changes in
family structures.

In addition, in its 1997 report on social protection, the Commission will include the efforts of Member States to
make progress towards the individualisation of rights without jeopardising the economic situation of women.

(1) COM(87) 494 final.


(2) COM(97) 102 final.

(98/C 82/90) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2245/97


by Kirsi Piha (PPE) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: Situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo

According to press reports large refugee camps have been discovered in Congo which have been revealed to be
mass extermination camps. It is estimated that there are some 40 000 refugees in Congo, and no-one can say
exactly how many of them have already died or will die in these inhuman camps.

What measures does the Commission propose to take to help ensure that the events which led to this disastrous
situation are investigated and that those responsible are found and brought before an international court?

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission


(4 September 1997)

The rebellion staged at the end of 1996 by the Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo-Zaire
(AFDL) caused Rwandan refugees who had been in Kivu since 1994 to scatter.

An estimated 600 000 to 800 000 refugees returned to Rwanda; the remainder, whose numbers are difficult to
estimate (almost 200 000 according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), fled
the advancing AFDL forces. Some sought refuge in remote areas of the country or in states bordering the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, but a great many others were very probably persecuted and died of that or of
exhaustion.

In the light of revelations by a number of non-governmental organisations in particular, detailing grave human
rights violations and massacres, the United Nations decided to send a fact-finding mission to the area.

The Union has called on the government of President Kabila, by means of public declarations and overtures by
the European troika, actively supported by the Commission, to comply fully with humanitarian law and to grant
humanitarian organisations unrestricted access to all regions to assist the refugees. The Union has also asked the
government to grant immediate authorisation to the UN mission to conduct a full investigation into the alleged
massacres in Congolese territory.

(98/C 82/91) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2262/97


by Amedeo Amadeo (NI) to the Commission
(2 July 1997)

Subject: Annual report on the Cohesion Funds for 1995

Will the Commission say why there have been delays in the submission of the 1995 annual report on the
Cohesion Funds (COM(96) 388 final) and why in some cases sufficient comparative data are not available on the
projects?