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C 82/90 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3.

98

The Commission services will if necessary consider further steps, in the light of the reports from the Member
States in order to protect consumer safety and to ensure the free movement of safe goods, including the
possibility to launch the procedure foreseen in articles 9-11 of the general product safety directive’.

Furthermore, the Commission approved on 14 May 1997 a communication and a proposal for a decision of the
Parliament and the Council adopting a programme on injury prevention in the context of the framework for
action in the field of public health (2). Prevention of accidents to children is one of the fields of activity in this
programme.

(1) OJ L 228, 11.8.1992.


(2) COM(97) 178.

(98/C 82/151) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2481/97


by Ludivina Garcı́a Arias (PSE) to the Commission
(16 July 1997)

Subject: Safety of stations and railway-crossings in built-up areas

A large number of accidents caused by trains in built-up areas are escaping public attention. Many of the victims
are children and adolescents who ignore warning notices and take short cuts rather than using pedestrian
footbridges and underpasses to cross sections of the track which have no protective barriers or fences, even
though railway companies are under an obligation to ensure safety in the majority of Member States.

Bearing in mind Article 75(c) of the Treaty on European Union (measures to improve transport safety), can the
Commission say what type of action has been taken to prevent accidents caused by the lack of safety measures
along railways in built-up areas?

In view of the vast stretches of track which are generally unprotected, what Community provisions in relation to
the rail sector might make it possible to improve the safety of passengers and the public as a whole (Article
75(c))?

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission


(16 September 1997)

Measures to restrict unauthorised access to railway tracks are entirely within the legal responsibility of different
bodies in the different Member States.

Furthermore, as the Honourable Member herself notes, many tragic accidents occur when people wilfully ignore
warning signs and notices.

Given this, the Commission would encourage Member States to publicise the dangers of crossing railway tracks
by unauthorised means and there is clearly a special need to reinforce the education of children about the dangers
of playing near railways. The Commission does not, however, currently have the legal authority to propose any
legislation on the matter.

(98/C 82/152) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2484/97


by Doeke Eisma (ELDR) to the Commission
(16 July 1997)

Subject: Tobacco tax on medicinal herbal cigarettes

In reply to my question E-0480/97 (1) the Commission stated on 4 April 1997 that it would inquire into the
situation concerning a medicinal herbal cigarette of the Planterette Monte Verdo brand in the light of different
rates of excise duty in the Member States.
17. 3. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/91

Has the Commission conducted this inquiry?

If not, why not?

If it has, when can the results be expected?

(1) OJ C 319, 18.10.1997, p. 88.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission


(18 September 1997)

The Commission has asked the Member States for information concerning the tax treatment of medicinal
herbal cigarettes.

The question whether such products should be regarded as cigarettes and hence subject to excise duty is currently
being considered by the courts in one Member State.

Pending a ruling on that matter, the Commission is pursuing its inquiries in the various Member States.

(98/C 82/153) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2485/97


by José Barros Moura (PSE) to the Commission
(16 July 1997)

Subject: Designation of origin of Port Wine

Given the proliferation in various countries of imitation wines bearing names that refer misleadingly to the name
of the genuine product (Porto, Port Wine, Vinho do Porto), can the Commission say what measures it intends to
take as part of the EU’s trade and external relations policy to ensure that the rules governing the designation of
origin are respected? More specifically, what arrangements have been reached in the current negotiations with
South Africa?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(10 September 1997)

The Commission would point out that one of the main goals it has been pursuing for a long time in the wine
sector is the defence of designations of origin and geographical indications for wines at both Community and
international level. Inside the Community, this protection is ensured by very comprehensive and effective
specific rules. In this connection, wines originating in the region of Oporto and fulfilling the requirements laid
down for the designation ‘Porto’ enjoy exclusive rights to use this name, whether in the original language or in
translation (for example ‘Port Wine’).

World-wide, the entry into force, on 1 January 1996, of the new multilateral Agreement on Trade-related Aspects
of Intellectual Property Rights (the TRIPS Agreement) marks a considerable advance on the previous situation.
Section 3 of Part II of the Agreement contains specific provisions on the protection of geographical indications,
including designations of origin. Although Article 23 of the Agreement provides additional protection for
geographical indications for wines and spirits as compared with other products, Article 24(4) permits the use of
geographical indications for wines which do not originate in the place in question, provided that those indications
were used continuously for similar products before 15 April 1994, either for at least 10 years, or in good faith,
and always provided that such use does not mislead the public as to the genuine origin of the wine. In some
countries, these conditions of earlier use are met for certain geographical indications or designations of origin of
which the name ‘Port’ forms part.