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C 310/104 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

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Industry’s delays in delivering the information needed on prioritised substances have contributed to the delays in
the implementation of the Regulation. The initial phase of the Regulation relies entirely on the obligatory
submission of data from manufacturers or importers.

In addition, the inability of some Member States, responsible for the evaluation of a great number of substances
in the first list, to deliver any of the planned risk assessments has hindered the operation of this Community
measure. However, it should be noted that important progress has been achieved recently.

The finalization in the coming weeks of an initial batch of four risk assessments together with risk reduction
measures for some of the substances, represents a crucial stage in the operation of the Regulation and should give
rise in the next months to a substantial improvement in terms of output of finalized risk assessment reports. Once
the first four substances are completed, the Commission intends to proceed with a general stocktaking exercise
on the efficiency and effectiveness of the Regulation. This exercise will focus on the weaknesses and difficulties
encountered so far, with a view to suggesting specific measures to improve the operation of the Regulation.

In this context it should be noted that the European chemicals bureau provides extremely valuable scientific and
technical assistance in the implementation of the Regulation. In particular its ‘Existing chemicals’ work area is
responsible for data collection, priority setting and risk assessment activities. As far as the resources are
concerned, the building up of the European chemicals bureau is still in progress.

(98/C 310/139) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0622/98


by Angela Billingham (PSE) to the Commission
(9 March 1998)

Subject: Kurdish prisoners of conscience in Turkey

Is the Commission aware of the desperate plight of Kurdish prisoners of conscience in Turkey? Not only are they
subject to inhumane treatment − such as torture using electric batons − but they are also being denied proper
medical treatment. Is this acceptable behaviour from a country seeking to join the European Union?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(20 April 1998)

The Commission is well aware of the situation as regards human rights and democratisation in Turkey. In its
annual report to Parliament on the development of relations with Turkey since the entry into force of the customs
union, (1) adopted on 4 March, the Commission noted that the country had not made substantial progress in this
area since the previous report. The same view is set out in that part of Agenda 2000 (2) devoted to Turkey.

Last December’s Luxembourg European Council noted that Turkey had not yet fulfilled the economic and
political conditions allowing it to begin accession negotiations. The Council did however think it important to
draw up a European strategy to bring Turkey closer to the Community in all areas. The communication ‘A
European Strategy for Turkey − The Commission’s initial operational proposals’ adopted by the Commission on
4 March (3) sets out to help Turkey undertake the political and economic reforms needed to draw it closer to the
Community.

(1) Doc. COM(1998) 147 final.


(2) Doc. COM(97) 2000 final.
(3) Doc. COM(1998) 124 final.