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17. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/141

If a Member State decides to authorise a project despite its negative impact on the conservation of a site it must
inform the Commission of the compensatory measures adopted. If that site includes a natural habitat or protected
species the Commission's opinion must be sought.

(1) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(98/C 82/226) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2776/97


by Marjo Matikainen-Kallström (PPE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Protection of children

The Union has not defined the position of children, and the matter has been left to the discretion of national
legislators in each Member State. The position of children is not properly recognized in the Union, barring a
Directive relating to protection of young people at work. For a Finn it practically goes without saying that a child
has the right to express its wishes in connection with divorce cases, for example. Does the same apply in all the
Member States?

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sets the universal standard, putting the good of children first and
laying down an obligation to develop legislation to foster it. All of the Union Member States have signed the
Convention. For legal reasons the Union cannot accede, because it is not a State.

Finnish child welfare organizations (Mannerheimin Lastensuojeluliitto and Lastensuojelun Keskusliitto) have
drawn attention to that fact. They are calling for children’s rights to be respected in the Union, for instance where
family matters are concerned.

The Union’s decision-making affects matters having a bearing on the future. The young generations will grow up
with our decisions. Environmental or economic effects are often questioned, but the position of children is hardly
discussed.

Children have become devotees of the Internet, a new kind of information society. Services offered on the
Internet are not subject to any form of control. These services, therefore, which in some cases are even used by
criminals, for example to make a bomb or indulge in child pornography, are likewise accessible to children.

Crimes involving children frequently extend beyond national borders. The Belgian and French paedophilia
scandals have been the biggest recent news stories. Paedophilia is just one aspect of child-related crime, along
with the problems associated with the spread of drugs.

What will the Commission do to improve the situation for children? Will it define their position within the
Union? What will it do to secure accession to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child?

Answer given by Mrs Gradin on behalf of the Commission


(10 October 1997)

The Commission is fully active in playing its role within the third pillar, particularly in ‘the fight against the
trafficking and sexual exploitation of children’. In this context, it runs the STOP programme, which is a
multiannual programme providing 6.5 MECU for the period 1996 to 2000 for an incentive and exchange
programme for those responsible for combating trade in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children (1).
This involves the training and provision of information for public officials, such as judges, police, civil servants,
immigration officers and social workers.
C 82/142 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 17. 3. 98

In addition, the Commission supports projects under the Daphne initiative, a programme for which 3 MECU
have been included in the 1997 budget for measures to combat violence against women, young people and
children. It aims to assist non-governmental and voluntary organisations active in this field. Its scope covers
sexual and non-sexual violence both within and outside the family. The Commission has proposed an amount of
3 MECU in the 1998 preliminary draft budget to continue this initiative next year.

On the civil side, work is under way for a convention on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of judgments
in matrimonial matters. In this context, due attention is being paid to the protection of the child’s right to be
heard.

As regards services offered on the Internet, the Commission has adopted a communication on the ‘illegal and
harmful contents on the Internet’ (2) as well as a green paper on the protection of minors and human dignity in
audiovisual and information services (3).

Finally, the Commission supported recently, in the context of its activities in relation to family policies,
initiatives on minors and media.

(1) OJ L 322, 12.12.1996.


(2) COM(96) 487.
(3) COM(96) 483.

(98/C 82/227) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2801/97

by Hiltrud Breyer (V) to the Commission

(1 September 1997)

Subject: Temelin nuclear power station in the Czech Republic

In Temelin, in the Czech Republic near the Austrian border, two pressurized-water nuclear reactors
(type-VVER-1000) are currently under construction. Their completion has been plagued by enormous technical,
financial, organizational and legal problems. The original commissioning deadline of 1992 has been officially
postponed several times and has now been put forward to 1999/2000. The original overall construction cost of
Kc 26 billion is now calculated as at least Kc 85 billion (about DM 5 billion). The cost overruns are primarily
attributable to the retrospective decision to commission the US firm Westinghouse to install a control and
fuel-rod system which, owing to the absence of Russian design blueprints and numerous demonstrable
compatibility and quality deficiencies, gives cause for concern that safety standards might well be reduced rather
than improved.

1. How does the Commission assess the circumstances that, despite fundamental retroactive design changes
to the Temelin nuclear power station and the resultant emergence of a globally untested VVER-1000 mixed
reactor prototype in immediate proximity to the EU’s borders, no new approval procedure, no environmental
impact assessment, no least-cost studies, no probabilistic safety analysis and no public participation process were
carried out?

2. What importance does the Commission assign to the above circumstances in relation to the Czech
Republic’s anticipated accession to the EU?

3. Is the Commission aware of the unanimous decisions adopted by the Austrian Parliament on 9 July 1997
and urging, in connection with the forthcoming EU accession negotiations with Central and Eastern Europe in
particular, the devising of new approaches to opting out of nuclear energy and the establishment of EU financing
instruments to that end, and how does it assess that initiative in general and in relation to the Temelin nuclear
power plant and the Czech Republic in particular?