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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
modified,
− 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
C 102/36 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4. 98

− provide those companies which are known to import the genetically modified product into the Community
for processing with information relating to the genetically modified product produced by or under licence
from Plant Genetic Systems.

(1) OJ L 169, 27.6.1997.

(98/C 102/51) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2375/97


by Gianni Tamino (V) to the Commission
(10 July 1997)

Subject: Community contribution to misleading information on cattle farming

A lavishly produced illustrated brochure has been distributed − under the aegis and presumably also with the
financial assistance of the agriculture and education departments of the Milan provincial government and the
office of the European Commission in Milan − entitled ‘Everything you need to know about cattle − a journey
into Milanese agriculture’. It contains idyllic descriptions of a non-intensive form of farming, expressed in brief
phrases and statements such as ‘calves grow happily and without stress’, ‘the slaughterhouse is not a sinister
place (...) but resembles rather a Dutch factory’, ‘the future roasts arrive there after quite a comfortable journey in
double decker lorries like London buses’, ‘stops are made which allow the animals to drink water and think’ − all
this accompanied by pictures of free, smiling animals.

How is it possible to assist initiatives based on such misleading information which does not correspond to the
reality of industrial farming, in which false assertions are made, such as those concerning the conditions for the
transport of live animals or how calves are raised, − situations which the Union has decided to remedy by means
of new Directives?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(18 September 1997)

The publication in question may have in fact overshot a little bit in its − admittedly slightly romantic − wording.
Nevertheless, the information about cattle farming provided in this publication should not be called misleading.
Information publications in general aim at disseminating a certain message by using certain images and content.
Whether in business, or in public communication, it is not uncommon to go positive by underlining existing
assets.

As far as the common agricultural policy is concerned, the message reads: We care about human health, and the
environment, but also about animal protection. The latest proposals within Agenda 2000 show this quite clearly.
The Honourable Member will be aware that the Community has indeed improved environmental protection and
animal protection in agriculture. It has recently adopted higher standards on the protection of calves, on the
protection of animals during transport and at the time of slaughter. These regulations correspond to reality,
because they are already existing. Therefore the Commission should be entitled to give information about these
achievements in a proper way, in order to counter-balance the sometimes biased information on this issue.

(98/C 102/52) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2383/97


by Nikitas Kaklamanis (UPE) to the Commission
(10 July 1997)

Subject: Via Ignatia railway line

It is well known that Greece is one of the EU Member States with a very difficult geographical situation, a fact
compounded by its remoteness and the absence of common frontiers with other Member States of the Union. As
a result, considerable attention needs to be given to transport infrastructures in the country in order to overcome
its isolation as far as possible.