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Official Journal of the European Communities

C 320/119

Answer given by Mr Bangemann on behalf of the Commission

(24 February 1999)

The hygiene and foodstuffs Directive 93/43/EEC of 14 June 1993 applies to food business operators engaged in a wide range of activities including preparation, processing, manufacturing, packaging, storing, transport, distribution, handling and offering for sale or supply of food.

It is incumbent on the authorities dealing with food control in each Member State under the provisions of Articles 2, 4 and 11 of the control of foodstuffs Directive 89/397/EEC of 14 June 1989 ( 1 ), to ensure that businesses comply with all national and European measures that apply to foodstuffs through inspection, sampling, examinations of written records and other control activities.

The Member States must also ensure that inspectors have the necessary rights to carry out their activities to assess compliance. Reference is not made specifically in these legal texts to powers of entry, although one can assume that indeed it would be impossible to undertake enforcement activities in food businesses if access were not permitted.

( 1 )

OJ L 186, 30.6.1989.

(1999/C 320/157)


by Armelle Guinebertière (UPE) to the Commission

(19 January 1999)

Subject: Export refund system and amendment of the Community Regulation

The flow of agri-foodstuff exports, a vital concern for the EU’s regions and Member States, is today under threat fromthe changes in the rules governing the export refund system. For instance, 60 % of the business generated by France’s leading industrial sector is affected by the refunds, a systemwhich has been endorsed by the World Trade Organisation.

Export-oriented management of the internal market is now being called into question because the EU’s financial interests are taking precedence over its main industrial sector.

That being the case, will the Commission reconsider its proposed amendments to Regulation (EEC) 3665/

87 ( 1 ) and, when negotiating and administering preferential agreements, pay heed to the consequences for the

export trade?

( 1 )

OJ L 351, 14.12.1987, p. 1.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(24 February 1999)

The risk of economic operations being undertaken for speculative purposes exists whenever the cost of reimporting products benefiting from export refunds (cost of transport and any processing in the non-member country plus the customs duties to be paid on import) is lower than the amount of the refund granted.

To prevent Community funds from being allocated for transactions whose aim is not contemplated by the

system of export refunds, the Commission took steps, by means of Commission Regulation (EC) 313/97 of

20 February 1997 amending Regulation (EEC) 3665/87 laying down common detailed rules for the system of

export refunds on agricultural products ( 1 ), to avoid deflections of trade. These measures, which have applied

since 1 March 1997, have not affected the flow of agricultural exports. The loss of some export markets in 1998 was due mainly to the international economic and financial crisis (Russia and South-East Asia).

C 320/120

Official Journal of the European Communities



The draft reformulation of Regulation (EEC) 3665/87, as regards the preferential agreements, has taken over the wording used in Regulation (EC) 313/97.

( 1 )

OJ L 51, 21.2.1997.

(1999/C 320/158)

Subject: Food safety


by Graham Watson (ELDR) to the Commission

(19 January 1999)

In the light of the findings of the Eurobarometer survey commissioned by DG XXIV on consumers’ food safety

perceptions, what measures is the Commission considering to overcome the growing confidence gap between

consumer and producer?

Answer given by Mrs Bonino on behalf of the Commission

(4 March 1999)

Confidence between producers and consumers primarily depends on the safety and quality of the products offered by the former to the latter.

The Commission, under several different aspects of its work, is pursuing a policy aimed at re-establishing the necessary confidence between producers and consumers.

Concerning food safety, it has reinforced its monitoring activities. The rigorous assessments carried out by the eight independent scientific committees which the Commission has established, together with the openness of the committees’ work, are also helping to boost consumer confidence.

The Commission is striving to promote a policy of quality at the production stage, placing a premium on products with specific characteristics associated with the production method (organic farming, traditional specialities) or their geographic origin (designated origin, geographical indication).

As regards consumer information, at the end of 1998 the Commission, in conjunction with the Member States, launched a food safety campaign including a series of educational measures referring to the role that consumers themselves can play in order to ensure their safety, i.e. by using and storing food correctly.

A further objective of this campaign is to encourage discussion among the parties involved (agricultural

producers, industries, distribution, consumers) on the question of food safety.

(1999/C 320/159)


by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission

(19 January 1999)

Subject: Small states and the re-negotiation of the Convention of Lomé

Would the Commission consider it appropriate to include a separate chapter on small states in a new convention drawn up to replace the Convention of Lomé?