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C 310/32 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

(98/C 310/37) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0168/98


by Gianni Tamino (V) to the Commission
(28 January 1998)

Subject: Extension of the concession held by Autostrade Spa

On Friday 16 January the Italian Council of Ministers decided, despite opposition from the Minister for the
Environment, to extend the validity of the relevant decree, making slight amendments to it and asking the Court
of Auditors either to approve or to register its reservations concerning the extension of the concession, laid down
in that decree, granted to the company Autostrade Spa until the year 2018 at present, by another twenty years,
i.e. until 2038. Extension of the concession is linked to a number of projects, such as the re-routing of a mountain
pass 32 kilometres long and the building of a third lane on the Bologna-Florence section of the Autostrada del
Sole, and other projects, which by virtue of the decree can be carried out directly by Autostrade Spa, without the
need to issue a Europe-wide call to tender. The Court of Auditors, as stated in the previous question on the
subject, had rejected the idea of extending the concession, but the government decided to ignore this.

It emerges from interviews and statements in various newspapers that the Italian Minister for Public Works
considers that it is unnecessary to send the relevant documents to Brussels, not least because, according to the
Minister, Brussels has not requested specific documentation and moreover is not competent to deal with the
matter.

Does the Commission consider that the decisions and general attitude of the Italian Government are compatible
with European legislation in this field?

What in particular does the Commission think of the Italian Government’s refusal to inform it about these issues
and the doubts regarding its competence in this sphere?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission


(30 March 1998)

On 1 December 1997 the Commission sent a formal request to the Italian authorities for information on the
concession granted to Autostrade SpA.

They have not yet replied to the questions contained in that letter. However, the Commission is in contact with
the Italian authorities.

At the moment, there is no reason to suppose that the Italian Government wishes to sidestep the obligation to
cooperate incumbent upon it under Article 5 of the EC Treaty or that it is unwilling to provide all the information
required for an analysis of the situation. Similarly, no reservations have been expressed as to the Commission’s
competence.

(98/C 310/38) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0171/98


by Freddy Blak (PSE) to the Commission
(2 February 1998)

Subject: Trade in Ukrainian women

1. The International Herald Tribune of 12 January 1998 reports that large numbers of women are being
exported from Ukraine and many other east European countries for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Many of
the women are illegally resident in EU Member States, where they are often kept in slave-like conditions and
forced into prostitution. Is the Commission aware of this phenomenon?

2. Has the Commission done anything or does it intend to do anything to stamp out this modern form of the
slave trade? What for instance is being done to stamp out the organized crime responsible for the slave trade, and
is it possible to use some of the money the East European countries receive from the EU so that women have
more possibility of creating a meaningful existence for themselves in their home countries?

3. Will the Commission do something to improve the situation of the women already illegally resident in
the EU?
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/33

Answer given by Mrs Gradin on behalf of the Commission

(12 March 1998)

The Commission is fully aware of the problem of trafficking in women and devotes particular attention to this
issue. The fight against trafficking in human beings in general and for the purpose of sexual exploitation needs to
be tackled by promoting a multidisciplinary approach involving migration policies, judicial and law enforcement
co-operation and, not least, preventive measures and support for the victims. The Commission took several
initiatives such as at the international conference held in Vienna (11-12 June 1996), which was followed by its
communication on trafficking in women (1) addressed to the Council and the Parliament. The follow-up of this
communication will be presented during the second semester of 1998. Trafficking in women will be discussed at
the 42nd United Nations session on the status of women and the Commission will provide its input to this
meeting. The Commission is also in charge of the STOP programme, an exchange programme for those
responsible for combating trade in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children. The Justice and home
affairs Council has adopted three joint actions on criminalisation with effective penal sanctions for offences
relating to trafficking in human beings for the purpose of sexual exploitation, extension of the mandate of the
Europol drugs unit, and establishment of the above mentioned multiannual programme STOP.

As regards co-operation in the field of the fight against trafficking in women with third countries such as the
Central and eastern european countries (CEECs) and the Newly independent states (NIS), the Comission has
given its support to a number of projects. The Ukraine, considered to be a country of origin of victims, is for
instance one of the countries covered by the IOM project cofinanced by the 1996 STOP programme (study on
available statistical data). The STOP committee also adopted in 1997 three other projects involving the Ukraine.
First of all, a Community and United States initiative has been launched in order to develop an information
campaign for women in the Ukraine and Poland. Furthermore, the Community is also supporting, via the TACIS
and PHARE democracy programme, NGOs in this field such as the on-going project ‘La Strada’ organised by the
Dutch NGO STV in three East European countries, including the Ukraine.

In the context of the pre-accession strategy, the fight against organised crime, including the fight against
trafficking in women, has been identified as a priority.

As regards more specifically illegal immigration, the Commission supports the efforts of applicant countries to
control more efficiently borders with other countries, including third countries.

(1) COM(96) 567 final.

(98/C 310/39) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0174/98


by David Bowe (PSE) to the Commission

(5 February 1998)

Subject: Controls on imported foods

At present all foods of animal origin imported from third countries into the European Union are subject to strict
controls. They can only enter the EU at a designated border inspection post; the importer is required to give
24 hours notice of arrival; the consignment must undergo the veterinary checks procedure, which includes
certified levels of inspection; and the importer must pay the costs of the veterinary inspection before the
consignment can obtain customs clearance. However, for foods of non-animal origin, there is no requirement for
prior notification of import, with no certificated system of control and the costs of inspection fall on the enforcing
authority.

Given that many foods of non-animal origin can pose a considerable risk to public health, for example many of
them can contain mycotoxins, does the Commission intend to harmonize EU levels of inspection for foodstuffs
of non-animal origin to the same level as that for foodstuffs of animal origin? If not, why not?