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9. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/17

(98/C 310/18) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4223/97


by Cristiana Muscardini (NI) to the Commission
(21 January 1998)

Subject: Vancimuglio

The right to strike, when not abused, is a valuable instrument for workers and is recognized in the basic
legislation of the Member States and labour law. Farmers in Italy are currently holding demonstrations to
safeguard their legitimate interests, but the government’s reaction to the protests has been disproportionate,
ordering the forces of law and order to take decisive action to put a stop to them.

Since the police forces are also workers and their duty is to enforce the law, it should be stressed that the freedom
to protest cannot be restricted by the threat of arrest and summary trial. Can the Commission therefore intervene
in the case of the striking Italian farmers by introducing measures to safeguard and protect human and civic
rights?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(11 March 1998)

At present, there is no Community legislation on the right to strike. In fact, Article 2 (6) of the Agreement on
social policy which is to be incorporated into the EC Treaty by the Treaty of Amsterdam clearly states that the
provisions of the Article shall not apply to the right to strike or the right to impose lock-outs. Thus the
Commission has no competence to intervene in a situation such as that described by the Honourable Member.

The Community Charter on Fundamental Social rights clearly contains the right to resort to collective action,
including the right to strike, subject to the obligations arising under national regulations and collective
agreements. However, in one previous case of demonstrations where acts of violence and vandalism were used,
the Court of justice (in case C-265/95) held that a Member State had failed to adopt all necessary and
proportionate measures in order to prevent the free movement of goods from being obstructed by private
individuals.

(98/C 310/19) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0009/98


by Patricia McKenna (V) to the Commission
(29 January 1998)

Subject: Nuclear reprocessing and radioactive waste

Britain’s Radioactive Waste Management Advisory Committee (RWMAC) recently published its 17th annual
report.

Among other things, the report recommends that spent nuclear fuel due to be reprocessed should be classified as
radioactive waste if the plutonium and uranium recovered from reprocessing will not be reused.

Britain’s plutonium inventory is continuously getting bigger as all British spent fuel is reprocessed at Sellafield.
None of the plutonium is reused in Britain.

Numerous studies have been done on the threat of plutonium being siphoned off to subversive groups, who could
manufacture crude nuclear weapons with rudimentary technology.

Would the Commission agree that the best way to avoid further rises in Britain’s plutonium inventory is to
encourage Britain to end is reprocessing activities? Can the Commission give a guarantee that it will do
everything possible to ensure that no EU grants or loans are given to help nuclear reprocessing either in the EU or
in third countries?