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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/9

(98/C 304/12) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4057/97
by Ulla Sandbæk (I-EDN) to the Council
(15 January 1998)

Subject: Weapons training in Greece

Could the Council kindly comment on the measure taken by the Greek Government in respect of the new
‘people’s defence’ legislation? According to the provisions of the bill, which the government says will have to be
put to the vote by the end of the year, all citizens − men and women − may be called up for weapons training
once a year for a period from 4 to 12 days.

Is the Council aware of this situation? And is this not a violation against the human rights of the Greek people and
a measure that might increase hatred for neighbouring countries and increase fear and hostility, especially in the
areas bordering on Turkey?

Answer
(18 May 1998)

The Council has not been informed of the situation described by the Honourable Member. This question,
moreover, does not come within the Community’s sphere of competence and concerns a situation which is a
matter for the Member State concerned.

(98/C 304/13) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4139/97
by Angela Sierra González (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(21 January 1998)

Subject: Waste on islands

According to information recently made available by the authorities of the autonomous government, the Canary
Islands currently generates approximately 1 million tonnes of waste each year. This makes the islands a major
waste producer, bearing in mind also the considerable flow of visitors to the islands as a result of the heavy
tourism they attract.

Recently, the Commission’s DG XI published a manual on codes of practice for waste management on islands,
dealing with the specific waste management problems encountered in island regions.

One of the most effective ways of helping island regions reduce the quantity of waste could be the waste
generation prevention programme which the European Commission has identified as a focal point for its
Community strategy for waste management. In the case of island regions, this programme could be implemented
in line with the principle of ‘preventing the introduction of waste’, bearing in mind that the vast majority of
products which subsequently become waste have their origin outside the islands and are imports.

The introduction of measures to restrict import into the islands of excess packaging or non-returnable containers
could help improve waste management. This would prevent the creation of waste and the serious social,
environmental and economic problems it produces.

Although this measure might be in breach of the principle of the free movement of goods within the European
Union, account must be taken, as it is in other cases (incentives for transport or supplies, for example) of the
special nature of the island regions, particularly the outermost ones, which are remote from waste producing
centres.

Will the Commission adopt a waste management strategy for islands which restricts the import of products with
excess packaging and non-returnable containers, while also limiting their production in the islands?

Is it possible for the Spanish or Canary Island authorities to introduce rules restricting the import of goods with
excess packaging or non-returnable containers?

Does the Commission believe that the specific nature of the island and outermost regions justifies the adoption of
measures to restrict the import of these products into the islands, so as to prevent a serious environmental
problem from occurring?
C 304/10 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission
(13 March 1998)

The Honourable Member refers to a waste management strategy for islands which restricts the production and
the import of products with excess packaging and non-returnable containers. The Commission draws the
attention of the Honourable Member to Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste (1), which was to
be transposed into national legislation by 1 July 1996. One of the main aims of this Directive is to prevent or
reduce any impact of packaging and packaging waste on the environment. Therefore, in order to tackle the
problems caused by the waste arising, national and local authorities should focus primarily on means to avoid the
generation of waste. To this end, Member States shall ensure that preventive measures are implemented (Article
4 of the Directive). In addition, Member States may encourage re-use systems of packaging, which can be reused
in an environmentally sound manner, in conformity with the EC Treaty (Article 5 of the Directive). The choice of
the specific instruments to promote preventive measures and to encourage reuse systems lies with the Member
States, provided they are in conformity with the EC Treaty.

A first possibility to limit the generation of packaging waste to be disposed of consists of the implementation of
deposit-return systems. Such systems have been recognized by the Court of justice to be legitimate under
Community law.

As regards mandatory measures on returnable packaging, they are in principle possible, although certain
specifications of such systems might be in conflict with the principles of the free circulation of goods. Such
measures must be non-discriminatory (thus apply to both domestically produced and imported products) and
proportionate to the objective. The Commission assures the Honourable Member that, in assessing the
proportionality of these measures (which are to be notified to the Commission under Council Directive
83/189/EEC of 28 March 1983 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical
standards and regulations (2) and Directive 94/62/EC1), it will take full account of the specific problems incurred
by islands in managing their waste (including distance from the mainland, lack of space, risk of groundwater
contamination, and dependence of the economy on tourism).

The Commission fully recognizes the great problems of waste generation in islands, particularly in highly
touristic locations and for this reason has started a specific programme ‘waste management on islands’ and
published a manual on ‘codes of practice for waste management on islands’. The aim is to provide decision
makers with a practical tool containing suggestions and relevant examples which can help setting the framework
for the development of local or national initiatives.

(1) OJ L 365, 31.12.1994.
(2) OJ L 109, 26.4.1983.

(98/C 304/14) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4160/97
by Leonie van Bladel (UPE) to the Council
(22 January 1998)

Subject: Concern about deterioration of the EU’s relations with Suriname

1. Is the Council aware note of the arrest of 27 civilians and military personnel on 25 October 1997 in
Suriname in response to the planning of an alleged coup?

2. Does the Council share the fear that the allegations concerning the planning of the coup of 25 October 1997
are a reaction to the international investigation and arrest warrant put out recently by the Netherlands judicial
authorities concerning the Surinamese state councillor, Desi Boaters, and also a manoeuvre by the Suriname
government to halt domestic criticism of the failing financial policy of the current Suriname government?

3. Is the Council not seriously concerned about the comments of the former Suriname dictator and current
state councillor, Desi Boaters, that foreign powers, including the Netherlands were responsible for planning the
alleged coup in Suriname?

4. Is the Council aware that the allegations made by Boaters will cause considerable deterioration of relations
between the countries of the European Union and Suriname?