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25. 5. 98

Official Journal of the European Communities

C 158/179

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(18 December 1997)

The Commission is aware that there is a large trade in horses for slaughter between Eastern Europe and Italy. A small percentage of these animals come from Bulgaria and are transported via Greece by ferry routes to Southern Italy.

Council Directive 91/628/EEC of 19 November 1991 on the protection of animals during transport and amending Directives 90/425/EEC and 91/496/EEC ( 1 ) contains a requirement that transporters of animals to the Community must undertake to comply with the requirements of the Directive and make the necessary arrangements for such compliance.

It has, however, proved to be difficult to enforce this aspect of the Directive because Community legislation does not apply directly in third countries.

The Commission has intervened on several occasions with the Italian authorities in order to ensure that the requirements of the Directive are respected with regard to horses arriving from Eastern Europe. A recent inspection mission noted some improvement.

Under the European agreements, the associated European countries (including Bulgaria) committed themselves to approximating their legislation to that of the Community and to take over the veterinary ‘acquis’ which includes animal welfare rules.

The Commission agrees that in respect of Eastern European candidates for accession, the best way forward to securing conditions for transported livestock is to provide for early respect of Community legislation in this area.

( 1 )

OJ L 340, 11.12.1991.

(98/C 158/240)


by Mark Watts (PSE) to the Commission

(19 November 1997)

Subject: Availability of grant information on the Internet

Is the Commission aware of any proposals to provide access to grant information by way of the Internet?

Does the Commission agree that this would be an effective and easy way for interested parties to seek initial information about the existence of and availability of grants?

Would it be possible to set up a system whereby interested bodies could type in a relevant word and the search engine could retrieve all grant information containing reference to that word? The information could then be read from the screen or downloaded as necessary.

Does the Commission agree that this would save an enormous amount of wasted time and paper sending out irrelevant claim forms?

Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission

(17 December 1997)

The Commission is indeed fully aware of the possibility to disseminate information about open calls for proposals, tenders and grant information.

Information about public calls for tenders and public calls for proposals launched by the Commission is available on the Tenders electronic daily (TED) database − the electronic version of supplement S of the Official journal. This database is offered via the European Commission host organisation in all official Community languages.


C 158/180

Official Journal of the European Communities

25. 5. 98

The service also comprises a user friendly web interface for Internet users which allows its selection of documents by keywords, by Member State, by date, etc. More than 100 000 documents are consulted from this database every month. In addition to this service the Commission operates a number of linked web servers. These servers provide free access to information about Commission initiatives in all domains. They also include the announcement of public calls for tenders and public calls for proposals as well as grant information. All these servers allow users to download the information on their personal computers.

The main server of the Commission is Europa (URL: which provides information on all services of the Commission as well as links to web servers of the other institutions.

In addition the Commission operates the three web server I*M Europe (URL:, Community research and development information service (CORDIS) (URL: and information society project office (ISPO) (URL: which serve specific target groups.

(98/C 158/241)


by Marjo Matikainen-Kallstro¨m (PPE) to the Commission

(19 November 1997)

Subject: Banning the use of asbestos

International studies show that asbestos is a really dangerous substance. In the 2000s as many as 10 000 a year people will die of diseases caused by asbestos, mainly lung cancer. Asbestos can be completely replaced by other materials, which have the same properties and are considerably safer.

The new use of asbestos is already prohibited in the Nordic countries, Germany, the Netherlands and France. The Commission has, however, for some reason or other delayed taking the decision to ban the use of asbestos. If the Commission allows the new use of asbestos to continue, it will no longer be possible to use national legislation to prevent the import of equipment and machinery containing asbestos.

What stage of preparation has the directive banning the new use of asbestos reached? These decisions are starting to become urgent, particularly in view of the dangers presented by asbestos. Moreover, some manufacturers use asbestos as a cheap competition tool in place of less dangerous but more expensive replacement substances. Do not the Commission’s own bad experiences of the dangers of asbestos argue for a speedy decision?

Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission

(19 December 1997)

The Commission is collecting the information it needs to answer the question. It will communicate its findings as soon as possible.

(98/C 158/242)


by Ulf Holm (V) to the Council

(19 November 1997)

Subject: UN climate meeting in Kyoto

Ahead of the main UN climate meeting in Kyoto in December, the EU is now acting as a single body in the work on the convention. Many, not only within the EU but also in countries outside such as Australia, consider this to be problematic as it implies that the Member States are now negotiating as a legal person.