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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?
C 304/64 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

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

1. The Commission is not aware of any studies linking sudden infant death to dust particles found in the
indoor environment of homes. As part of its activities in the field of biomedical and health research the
Commission financed a project entitled ‘ECAS, European concerted action on sudden infant death’, the aim of
which was to identify methods of prevention. The final report for the project is being completed at present. In
addition, in the Environment and Climate research programme, there is a major research effort underway on air
quality ranging from sources and behaviour of pollutants to their impact on human health, including both
morbidity and mortality endpoints.

2. and 3. The Commission has no data on the incidence of sudden infant death in Member States.

(98/C 304/90) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0263/98
by Yiannis Roubatis (PSE) to the Council
(17 February 1998)

Subject: The systematic and provocative policy of increasing tension pursued by the Turkish Government

The policy of systematically increasing tension pursued by the Turkish Government in relation to Greece is
jeopardizing the peace in a vital part of the European Union. For the second time over the last few months
Turkish planes have attempted to buzz a plane carrying the Greek Foreign Minister. Within Turkey this policy by
Ankara is encouraging extremist criminal elements which two days ago burned down an Orthodox church in
Istanbul and murdered the sacristan.

Does the Council intend:
1. to make it clear to the relevant Turkish authorities that this behaviour sets an even greater distance between
Turkey and the European Union and makes it impossible to include it among the countries which will be
attending the European Conference?
2. to take measures to protect Orthodox churches in Turkey and the rights of citizens to freedom of expression
in religious matters?

(18 May 1998)

As regards relations between the EU and Turkey, the Luxembourg European Council on 12 and 13 Decem-
ber 1997, while confirming Turkey’s eligibility for accession to the European Union, gave a reminder, in line
with the Council’s position stated at the meeting of the Association Council with Turkey held on 29 April 1997,
that strengthening Turkey’s links with the European Union also depended on that country’s pursuit of the
political and economic reforms on which it had embarked, including the alignment of human rights standards and
practices on those in force in the European Union; respect for and protection of minorities; the establishment of
satisfactory and stable relations between Greece and Turkey; the settlement of disputes, in particular by legal
process, including the International Court of Justice; and support for negotiations under the aegis of the UN on a
political settlement in Cyprus on the basis of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

The Luxembourg European Council also invited Turkey to participate in the European Conference whose
opening session was held in London on 12 March 1998. Turkey is well aware that the members of the Conference
must share a common commitment to peace, security and good neighbourliness, respect for other countries’
sovereignty, the principles upon which the European Union is founded, the integrity and inviolability of external
borders and the principles of international law as well as a commitment to the settlement of territorial disputes by
peaceful means, in particular through the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.

As regards the incidents referred to by the Honourable Member, the Council observed that, under the Treaty of
Peace signed at Lausanne in July 1923, the Turkish Government has undertaken to grant full protection to the
churches, synagogues, cemeteries and other religious establishments of non-Moslem minorities. The situation of
democracy and human rights in Turkey, which include freedom of expression in religious matters, remains high
on the Council’s agenda. These issues are raised at virtually every meeting with the Turkish authorities.