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C 304/62 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

(98/C 304/86) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0252/98
by Peter Skinner (PSE) to the Commission
(5 February 1998)

Subject: Agriculture

Can the Commission confirm if it has conducted its review on the quarantine situation in the Member States, as
required under Article 10 of Directive 92/65/EEC (1), and if it will publish its results?

(1) OJ L 268, 14.9.1992, p.54.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission
(4 March 1998)

The rabies quarantine situation was reviewed and updated by the scientific veterinary committee and a report was
issued in September 1997. A copy is sent direct to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s Secretariat.

It was concluded in this report that an alternative system to quarantine for rabies, for dogs and cats, was a viable
option which offered an equivalent guarantee of safety. In brief, the alternative suggested system involves
vaccination, microchips and blood testing. The Commission will make suitable proposals at an appropriate time.

(98/C 304/87) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0253/98
by Karla Peijs (PPE) to the Commission
(5 February 1998)

Subject: Obligation to accept two currencies for the same transaction

1. Is there a statutory obligation for businesses to accept two different currencies (the old national currency
and the euro) for the same transaction in the period between 1 January and 1 July 2002? If so, in what legislative
act is this obligation laid down?

2. Would it not be more acceptable to drop this obligation to accept two different currencies if there were a
large number of exchange points for the old national currency in commercial banks, for example?

3. Will the Commission make any recommendations on this matter?

Answer given by Mr de Silguy on behalf of the Commission
(2 March 1998)

The obligation for businesses to accept a payment is a question about legal tender, which is a privilege of
banknotes and, with some restrictions, of coins. Today in all Member States no one can be forced to accept a
payment by cheque or electronic means, even in the national currency. This will remain the case with the euro.

Euro notes and coins will be introduced in all participating Member States on 1 January 2002. According to
article 10 and 11 of the draft regulation on the introduction of the euro (1), these euro notes and coins will be legal
tender in all participating Member States and therefore must in principle be accepted by retailers for payment.
2. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/63

According to article 15 of the draft Council regulation, banknotes and coins denominated in national currency
units retain their legal tender status for up to six months after the end of the transitional period, i.e. until 30 June
2002 at the latest. This period may be shortened by national law. In fact Member States are free to reduce the
period of dual legal tender to nil. Moreover, a Member State may between 1 January and 1 July 2002, lay down
rules for the use of the banknotes and coins denominated in its national currency unit and take any measures
necessary to facilitate their withdrawal. During this six month period, it will therefore in the first instance depend
on national provisions which notes and coins retailers will be obliged to accept for payments.

Since December 1995, when the European Council decided on the reference scenario for the introduction of the
euro, most Member States have indeed indicated that they will have a period of dual circulation substantially
shorter than six months, helping to reduce the burden on retailers, and avoiding confusion for consumers. First
rounds of discussions on the optimal length and general organisation of phase C, with the aim of minimising cost
and inconvenience, have taken place in all Member States except Denmark.

The Commission has not changed its view that the dual circulation period should be as short as technically
possible. It does not at this stage intend to issue a formal recommendation, but will invite Member States to speed
up their decision process, in order to give currency users sufficient time to prepare the transition.

(1) OJ C 369, 7.12.1996.

(98/C 304/88) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0258/98
by Hiltrud Breyer (V) to the Commission
(13 February 1998)

Subject: Occupational and general disability

All the EU Member States are naturally interested in maintaining their gross national product. This can only be
achieved if adequate precautions are taken in the field of health, consumer and labour protection.

Will the Commission say:

1. Are occupational and general disability increasing in the individual Member States?

2. If so, what steps does it intend to take to check this trend?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission
(17 April 1998)

The Commission is conducting a detailed investigation of the problem raised by the Honourable Member and
will inform her of the outcome as soon as possible.

(98/C 304/89) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0259/98
by Hiltrud Breyer (V) to the Commission
(13 February 1998)

Subject: Cot death

1. EPA-USA claims that cot death is linked to contaminated dust particles in the domestic environment. Does
the Commission have any information about this or does it plan to support research projects in this area?

2. Has there been an increase in the incidence of cot death in the EU Member States?

3. If so, in which states and regions? Are these primarily industrial sites or rural areas?