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C 102/34 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4.


(17 November 1997)

1. The Council expects Syria to respect all UN Security Council resolutions pertaining to Iraq.

2. and 3. The distinguished Member of the European Parliament should refer her question to the Commission
which is responsible for implementing the financial assistance to Syria. Projects on telecommunications and the
development of tourism were presented to the MED Committee in September and May 1996. However the
Commission is still carrying out negotiations with the Syrian authorities on the framework Agreement defining
the overall arrangements for the implementations of the MEDA programme in Syria. Pending the conclusion of
these negotiations, the implementation of projects has not taken place.

4. Within the framework of the EC-Syria Cooperation Agreement, the Council raises questions related to
reinforcement of democracy and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. At the latest meeting of
the Cooperation Council in 1996 the EU noted with satisfaction the improvements recorded in Syria concerning
respect for human rights, expressing however the belief that further progress was necessary.

It is the Commission, not the Council, which has been asked to report to the Parliament on the human rights
situation in Syria.

(98/C 102/49) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2359/97

by Undine-Uta Bloch von Blottnitz (V) to the Commission
(10 July 1997)

Subject: Gold mining in Western Turkey and EU participation

Highly toxic sodium cyanide is reported to be being used in Western Turkey (near the shores of the Aegean in the
Bergama and Edremit area) to extract gold. In a resolution of 17 November 1994 (B4-0410/94 (1)) the European
Parliament spoke out against participation by European companies in this project. The following points were
crucial: the collecting ponds for sodium cyanide mud would give off prussic acid in concentrations potentially
fatal to humans. The region is also one of the most earthquake-prone in the world. There is a great danger of
cyanide pollution of the ground water. A breach of the dam would have devastating consequences if the cyanide
slurry spread over the adjacent fields.

The abovementioned resolution calls on the Commission, in paragraph 4, to investigate the ecological impact of
the gold mining project; it also calls on the Member States and the Commission to take action to avert the
threatened environmental disaster.

1. Has the Commission investigated the environmental impact of the project and what were the results?

2. What action has the Commission taken to avert an environmental disaster there, and what further action
does it intend to take?

3. Is the Commission aware of the action taken by individual Member States to avert an environmental
disaster? If so, what are they exactly?

4. How does the Commission view the fact that European companies are taking part in the project and using
environmentally devastating processes in Turkey which are not permitted in the EU?

(1) OJ C 341, 5.12.1994, p. 169.

3. 4. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/35

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

(15 September 1997)

The Honourable Member is referred to the Commission's answer to Written Question No 2232/92 submitted by
Mr Alavanos (1).

The Commission will make every effort to obtain information on the installations to which the Honourable
Member refers, which are situated in the Aegean Sea area. Since they are outside Community territory,
Community Directives do not apply to them.

As part of the financial cooperation between the Community and Turkey, the Turkish authorities have submitted
to the Commission a project on the assessment and monitoring of sea, ground and air pollution throughout
Turkey's Mediterranean coastal area. However, because of the situation regarding financial cooperation with
Turkey, the Commission cannot say whether such a project can be financed in 1997.

(1) OJ C 95, 5.4.1993.

(98/C 102/50) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2370/97

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

Subject: Genetically modified swede-rape

On 6 June 1997 the Commission authorized the placing on the market of a genetically modified swede-rape.

Commission Decision (97/392/EC) (1) stated that ‘there is no reason to believe that there will be any adverse
effects on human health and the environment from the introduction into swede-rape of the genes coding for
phosphinotricin acetyl transferase and for neomycin phosphotransferase II’. It also stated ‘that there are no safety
reasons for labelling which states that the product has been obtained by genetic modification techniques’.

Can the Commission give details of the scientific studies undertaken to help it reach those conclusions? Who
undertook those studies? Are they available to the public for scrutiny and/or will they be made available?

(1) OJ L 164, 21.6.1997, p. 38.

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(1 October 1997)

As already outlined in the Commission reply to written question E-2286/97 by the Honourable Member,
Commission Decision 97/392/EC concerning the placing on the market of genetically modified swede rape was
based on a number of studies and data which were submitted by the notifier as evidence of the safety of the
GMOs concerned for human health and the environment.

A table contaning the titles of the studies and the respective authors is under preparation by the
Directorate-General for the Environment, Biotechnology Sector. It will soon be made available to the
Honourable Member and, upon request, to any other interested party. Full references will be given so that the
public may trace the studies already published in scientific journals. In any case, the notifier (contact person:
Dr Rüdelsheim, Plant Genetic Systems N.V., J. Plateaustraat 22, B-9000 Gent) has offered public access to the
information included in their dossier.

At the time of the submission of the notifications in question Directive 90/220/EEC did not foresee, in the
absence of safety reasons, the imposition of labelling which would state that the product had been obtained by
genetic modification (1). However, it should be noted that in anticipation of the amendment of the labelling
provisions of the Directive, the notifier wrote to the Commission indicating its commitment to
− mention on the seed packages which will be sold to the farmers that the product has been genetically
− indicate to the farmers either on the label of such seed packages or in the accompanying documentation that
because of the original genetic modification specific labelling requirements may be applicable for the
harvested material and