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C 102/62 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 3. 4.


(98/C 102/90) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2604/97

by Carles-Alfred Gasòliba i Böhm (ELDR) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Illegal beef imports

In view of the partial, erroneous and biased information provided by the Commission in the first week of July
concerning illegal imports of British beef reportedly sold on the Spanish market, and given that, although these
allegations were subsequently refuted, they were nevertheless highly damaging to beef production and
consumption in Spain:
1. How does the Commission intend to compensate Spanish livestock farmers and traders who have suffered
serious losses as a result of this information?
2. What specific steps does the Commission intend to take to restore consumer confidence in the meat markets
that have suffered as a result of its statements?
3. Did the Commission give any thought to all the repercussions that might ensue as a result of such partial,
erroneous and biased information? Does it agree that in future it should be more careful about disseminating
unsubstantiated information which can seriously damage key economic sectors in the European Union?

(98/C 102/91) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2605/97

by Jesús Cabezón Alonso (PSE) and Juan Colino Salamanca (PSE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Statements by a Member of the Commission on the British beef market

Speaking to the media on 2 July 1997, Commissioner Emma Bonino stated that British beef had been illegally
exported to some EU Member States.

On 3 July 1997 the Commission declared that no such illegal British beef had been distributed on the Spanish

Who will shoulder responsibility in the Commission for having caused the serious risk of a collapse in the meat
markets of several European Union Member States?

Who will shoulder responsibility in the Commission for having caused alarm among consumers as a result of
statements that were later rectified or toned down?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-2576/97, E-2577/97, E-2578/97, E-2603/97, E-2604/97 and E-2605/97
given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission
(14 October 1997)

On 2 July 1997, the Commission notified the discovery of a fraud involving British meat illegally shipped to
other Member States and to third countries.

True to its policy of transparency, and in compliance with the undertakings given to Parliament, the Commission
has kept Parliament and the Member States abreast of all developments in this affair.

Initially, a Spanish firm, with the same name as a firm established in Guinea Bissau, was wrongly accused.

Subsequently, however, another Spanish firm was identified as having received 200 tonnes of meat from one of
the offending Belgian firms. The Spanish authorities were informed by the Commission and are currently
investigating the matter.

The Commission is aware that certain information may have repercussions on the meat market, but it gives
priority to informing consumers as required by the principle of transparency.