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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/55

(98/C 304/76) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0214/98
by Allan Macartney (ARE) to the Commission
(11 February 1998)

Subject: Replacement of dry-cleaning machines and compensation

Is the Commission aware whether any steps have been taken to mitigate the costs for those dry-cleaners who
have had to replace their 113 fluid machines? 113 machines are being/have been phased out, and it appears that
the practice is to use distilled fluid until this runs out and them either to convert existing machines or buy new
ones.

The costs involved, both for converting or replacing, are substantial, particularly for small businesses. It would
therefore seem equitable to have some sort of compensation or grant allowance scheme in place to prevent small
dry-cleaning businesses from facing financial ruin. As this conversion is required at the behest of the EC, could
the Commission confirm, with due haste, whether compensation has been or will be made available?

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

The Commission is not aware of any compensation or allowance schemes intended to help dry cleaners with the
costs of conversion or replacement of dry cleaning machines which use chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) 113.

CFC 113 is an ozone-depleting substance. It is therefore subject to phasing out under the Montreal Protocol on
substances that deplete the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol has now been signed by over 165 parties, each of
which is thereby committed to phase out the production and consumption of all ozone-depleting substances.
Under the Montreal Protocol, developed countries had to phase out their production and consumption of CFCs by
1 January 1996, except for a few essential uses such as asthma inhalers. Under Regulation (EC) No 3093/94 on
substances that deplete the ozone layer (1), phasing out was one year earlier in the Community.

Hence it is not the Commission which is requiring the conversion of dry cleaning machines using CFC 113.
Rather the parties to the Montreal Protocol, including the Community and all its Member States, have
collectively decided, as part of their commitment to ozone layer protection, that CFCs should no longer be
produced and placed on the market for this use.

The decision to phase out the production of CFCs was first taken in 1990 at the second meeting of the parties to
the Montreal Protocol. The date was subsequently advanced at the fourth meeting in 1992, in view of accelerated
ozone depletion and the growing availability of alternatives. For dry cleaning, the Protocol’s technical committee
notes that the most widely used dry cleaning solvent, perchloroethylene, has been successfully used for over
30 years and represents a likely alternative to CFC 113.

Despite the availability of alternatives, there is nothing in the Montreal Protocol nor in Regulation (EC)
No 3093/94 which prevents dry cleaners continuing to use recycled or stockpiled CFCs produced before the
phaseout. By this means, many users throughout the Community have been able to plan their move out of CFCs
in a way which avoids technical and economic difficulties, including financial ruin.

(1) OJ L 333, 22.12.1994.

(98/C 304/77) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0221/98
by John Iversen (PSE) to the Commission
(11 February 1998)

Subject: Junk medicine

A recent investigation described in the journal of the Danish Nursing Council’s periodical ‘Sygeplejesken’ has
revealed that two-thirds of the medicines donated to former Yugoslavia were out- of-date or unusable. The
investigation carried out by the European Organization for Health and Development concludes that medicines
supplied in aid did more harm than good.
C 304/56 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

On the pretext of humanitarian aid, European companies have dumped large quantities of useless medicines. In
donating their unwanted medicines as emergency aid they obtained tax advantages, free publicity and in
particular, avoided the expense of destroying what were for the most part time-expired medicinal products.

1. Has the Commission satisfied itself that unusable and out-of-date medicinal products did not find their way
into the emergency supplies sent to former Yugoslavia by the EU’s own emergency organization, ECHO, and is
the Commission satisfied that ECHO is not engaged in such practices at present?

2. How does the Commission intend to ensure that European companies comply with WHO guidelines on
emergency aid in future? Is any European legislation being drawn up?

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission
(1 April 1998)

Various sources, including the World health organisation (WHO), have identified inappropriate drugs supplied
globally to former Yugoslavia largely because they were small and non-professional consignments of unsorted
medicines or half used drugs collected from private homes and charities or large donations of useless or unusable
medicines, mainly from army stocks, which were either out of date or irrelevant (leprosy, etc).

The Commission, for its part, has consistently required its implementing partners to follow the WHO
inter-agency guidelines for drug donations. Globally the WHO estimates that only 5% of drugs from all sources
provided according to these guidelines were inappropriate.

Additionally, the Commission in close co-operation with WHO and through its implementing partner,
‘Pharmaciens sans Frontières’, has taken the initiative for a comprehensive programme of destruction of
inappropriate drugs. The Commission has, therefore made significant efforts to solve the problem of
inappropriate donations made by others.

(98/C 304/78) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0224/98
by Christine Crawley (PSE) to the Commission
(13 February 1998)

Subject: The impact of changing work patterns

Would the Commission provide information on the extent to which it is discussing the implications of changing
work patterns?

Is it satisfied that coordination within Commission departments on the issues of changing work patterns such as
education and training, the effects on social insurance and the ageing of the population, is conducive to a
consistent Commission overview of the future of work patterns for our citizens?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission
(9 March 1998)

With the adoption of the green paper ‘Partnership for a New Organisation of Work’ (1), the Commission initiated
a debate on the implications of changing work patterns. The green paper has been widely distributed and a series
of conferences and round tables held in Member States bringing together people in labour market organisations
and from research, education and training institutes. This wide-ranging European debate will be concluded at a
European conference to be held on 28-30 April 1998 in Glasgow, jointly organised by the United Kingdom
Presidency and the Commission.