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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.
3. 4. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/63

However, the event referred to by the Honourable Members of Parliament has not influenced the market, since,
according to the information provided [on a weekly basis] to the Commission by the Member States, wholesale
meat prices have not been affected by the disclosures concerning the illegal exports of meat from the United
Kingdom in July.

The Commission continues to believe that it is its duty to keep Parliament and the Member States − and, if
necessary, consumers − fully abreast of affairs of this kind. This approach has also been widely approved by the
Temporary Committee to follow up the recommendations on bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

(98/C 102/92) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2582/97

by Johanna Maij-Weggen (PPE) to the Commission
(24 July 1997)

Subject: Internet

Are you aware that the Internet provider Xs4All has decided to ban from its Internet services any material
containing child pornography?

Is it technically and legally feasible to get all providers on the Internet to take such action, and is the Commission
prepared to take such a measure, should it prove possible?

Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission

(6 October 1997)

There is no legal or technical difficulty for Internet service providers in following the action of the Dutch service
provider in removing child pornography from its own servers.

The publication of child pornography is illegal in all Member States, whatever the means by which it is
distributed, including Internet. Illegal content must be dealt with at source by law-enforcement agencies. The
industry can help reduce circulation of illegal content through properly-functioning systems of self-regulation
(such as codes of conduct, establishment of hot-lines) in compliance with and supported by the legal system.

Third-party content hosting services should not be expected to exercise prior control on content which they have
no reason to believe is illegal. Where they are aware of such content, including child pornography, they should
take steps to remove it.

The fight against child pornography on the Internet requires co-operation between all concerned at national,
European and international level, since such content may be placed in circulation in any country which is
nconnected to the Internet. The Commission is actively engaged with the other institutions and Member States in
promoting effective action in this area but cannot act as a substitute for national law enforcement agencies. Links
to all relevant documents can be found at

(98/C 102/93) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2585/97

by Hilde Hawlicek (PSE) to the Council
(29 July 1997)

Subject: Credibility of the new paragraph on education in the preamble to the EC Treaty

At the Council of Heads of State and of Government in Amsterdam, it was decided to incorporate the following
new paragraph in the preamble to the EC Treaty: ‘Determined to promote the development of the highest
possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and its continuous updating.’