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3. 4.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 102/67

4. recyclability: the proportion of scrap steel used in the manufacture of stainless steel is about 80%, and the
product is 100% recyclable;
5. ecological: stainless steel products do not present any risk to the environment;
6. supply: there would be no problems with regard to the production of the euro coins (c. 300 000 tonnes).

What are the initiatives and reasons which have narrowed down the choice so far to coins containing copper or
copper alloys and completely ruled out the use of stainless steel, which is a typically European product (with
Europe accounting for 44% of world output)?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-2596/97 and E-2650/97
(10 November 1997)

On 5 June 1997 the Commission submitted to the Council a formal proposal for a Council Regulation on
denominations and technical specifications of euro coins. That proposal essentially incorporates the technical
elements suggested by the Mint Directors of the Member States whom the Council had previously briefed to
research and draw up a complete proposal for a single European coin system. As for the materials to be used to
produce euro coins, the Mint Directors’ study was based on the most recent technical expertise, from both the
economic and public-health points of view.

During its meeting on 7 July 1997 the Council gave its political agreement on the Commission proposal, subject
to possible subsequent amendment to be adopted by the Council after examining any amendments suggested by
the European Parliament at first and/or second reading. It should in fact be emphasized first that this proposal,
which is based on Article 105a of the EC Treaty, is subject to the cooperation procedure with the European
Parliament and secondly that the Regulation in question cannot be formally adopted by the Council until the
Member States adopting the euro as their single currency are known (Articles 105a and 109k of the Treaty).

The Council has meanwhile consulted the European Parliament on the proposal at first reading and is currently
awaiting its Opinion.

(98/C 102/99) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2597/97

by David Hallam (PSE) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Nickel content of euro coinage

Referring to Paragraph 4 − Choice of metal − of the introduction to the proposal for a Council Regulation
COM(97) 0247

1. What evidence is there to link nickel in coinage

(a) to the onset of hand eczema or
(b) to the persistence of hand eczema?

2. If there is any evidence, how many Europeans

(a) have developed hand eczema as a result of nickel in coinage or
(b) have a persistent hand eczema condition because of nickel in coinage?

If there is a numerical answer to 2, what is the basis of that number: is it predicted from a model? If so, is there
any documentation available?

Answer given by Mr de Silguy on behalf of the Commission

(6 October 1997)

It is scientifically proven that nickel in objects coming into direct and prolonged contact with the skin may cause
primary sensitisation of humans to nickel or elicit dermatitis in individuals already nickel-sensitised.