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3.10.

2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 280 E/5

What is the Commission’s attitude to this practice on the part of the tobacco industry?

In the light of the Commission’s initiatives in respect of public health and consumer protection, is it time
for a Commission inquiry into these practices in the European tobacco industry?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(16 December 1999)

The Commission is indeed aware of the report mentioned by the Honourable Member. The Commission
also commented on this issue in its recent report on progress achieved in relation to public health
protection from the harmful effects of tobacco consumption (1).

In 1997, the Commission in fact asked all Member States for information concerning their policy in
relation to additives contained in cigarettes. Analysis of the responses reveals significant disparities between
the rules in force and shows the current legal situation in the Member States as regards additives in
tobacco. It has also served as a basis for drawing up an appropriate Community response to eliminate
obstacles to free trade within the single market, while at the same time ensuring a high level of public
health protection. The resulting proposal was adopted by the Commission on 16 November 1999 (2) and
forwarded to Parliament and the Council.

Article 7 of the proposal stipulates that ‘Member States shall require all manufacturers and importers of
tobacco products to submit to them a list of all non-tobacco ingredients and constituents, including
additives and quantities thereof, used in the manufacture of their tobacco products by brand. This list shall
be accompanied by a statement setting out the reasons for the inclusion of such ingredients and
constituents in their tobacco products. Member States shall also require manufacturers and importers to
provide toxicological data on these non-tobacco ingredients and constituents in burnt and unburned form,
and to demonstrate that the said ingredients are safe for the health of the consumer when used as intended
in their tobacco products.’

(1) COM(99) 407 final.


(2) COM(99) 594 final.

(2000/C 280 E/005) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2017/99

by Mihail Papayannakis (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(28 October 1999)

Subject: Report on quality control of 2nd CSF projects

On 13 October 1998, in reply to my question No E-2176/98 (1), the then Commissioner, Mrs Wulf-
Mathies, said that the first ESPEL quarterly report had found that quality problems did exist in various
projects and that ESPEL would proceed to carry out systematic and in-depth checks on 2nd CSF projects.

In the light of the large number of accidents on Greek motorways caused by substandard work and
inadequate checking systems, will the Commission say what the results of ESPEL’s checks are to date? In
which specific projects have substandard work or shortcomings been identified? Have those been rectified
by the contractors and at whose expense? What financial, disciplinary, penal or other administrative
consequences (e.g. blacklisting) will be imposed on those responsible for the failings and substandard
work?

(1) OJ C 96, 8.4.1999, p. 51 and OJ C 135, 14.5.1999, p. 16.


C 280 E/6 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 3.10.2000

Supplementary answer
given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(21 February 2000)

The Greek authorities have informed the Commission that between July 1998 and July 1999 the
independent quality control body ESPEL carried out 339 systematic checks on road projects part-financed
in Greece under the second Community support framework (1994-99 programming period). The results
were: 34 % of the projects were in order or suffered from minor shortcomings that would be corrected by
the contractors (first category); 61 % suffered from major shortcomings without safety implications but
entailing additional maintenance costs that would be deducted from the payments to the contractors
concerned (second category); 18 projects suffered from serious shortcomings that could not be corrected
and rebuilding would have to be effected at the contractors’ expense (third category). A list of these
projects, the files for which have been sent to the public prosecutor by the Ministry for Economic Affairs,
is being sent direct to the Honourable Member and Parliament’s Secretariat.

For motorways the situation was: for the Egnatia, of 21 contracts checked 16 fell into the first and 5 into
the second category; for PATHE, of 12 contracts checked 8 fell into the first, 3 into the second and 1 into
the third category.

The Commission has no detailed information at the moment on the outcome of all these cases. The Greek
authorities have told it that in a number of instances the defects have already been corrected or payment
for the work in question reduced, and that the checking carried out by the abovementioned inspectors
would serve to update the list of public works contractors not conforming with the correct procedures.

The Commission intends asking the Greek authorities for a full review of the situation and detailed
information on the penalties to be imposed and their budgetary impact.

(2000/C 280 E/006) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2034/99

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Council

(11 November 1999)

Subject: Genetically modified crops

1. What measures does the Council plan to ensure that protection is given to farmers, both organic and
conventional, who want to grow crops that are free from contamination from GE pollen from neighbour-
ing crops?

2. Will the Council ensure European consumers have the option of consuming food that is free of all
genetically modified ingredients, including genetically modified derivatives?

Reply

(13 March 2000)

As regards organic production, the Council would refer the Honourable Member to Council Regulation
(EC) No 1804/1999 of 19 July 1999 (1). In adopting this Regulation the Council recognised the principle
that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and products derived therefrom are not compatible with the
organic production method and that, in order to maintain consumer confidence in organic production,
GMOs, parts thereof and products derived therefrom should not be used in products labelled as stemming
from organic production. Furthermore, this Regulation creates the framework for the subsequent adoption
of implementation measures, in accordance with scientific evidence or technical progress, for applying the
ban on the use of GMOs and GMO derivatives, in particular with regard to a de minimis threshold for
unavoidable contamination which must not be exceeded.