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C 374 E/146 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 28.12.


2. and 3. The WTO dispute concerns an American law which, in view of the Community and its
Member States, violates the WTO TRIPs agreement. This law can potentially affect all European companies
dealing with Cuba. It should be in the interest of the Community and its Member States to ensure that the
provisions of the WTO TRIPs agreement are respected by all WTO members. It is normal practice to
examine the incompatibilities of the legislation of a WTO member with WTO rules not only from a legal
point of view, but also from the angle of its economic importance.

On the basis of the information available, Section 211 was, so far, applied once. A European company
challenged its American competitor before American courts about the use of a trademark and trade-name.
Following the recent judgement of the American courts, the European company is now prevented from
defending its rights in the United States. The judgement is mainly based on Section 211. On the other
hand, the American courts did not examine the compatibility of Section 211 with the American
international obligations.

4. and 5. As explained before, the Commission raised this matter on numerous occasions with the
United States in order to find an amicable solution to the dispute. Each dispute settlement case should be
examined and dealt with on its own merits. It should not affect the overall Community-United States
relationship. This case relates to a trade dispute about a particular American law. It appears from the
foregoing that the only means available to the Community and its Member States to ensure the proper
application of the WTO TRIPs agreement by the United States is the request for a WTO panel.

(2000/C 374 E/172) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0742/00
by Marialiese Flemming (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(13 March 2000)

Subject: Waste water disposal in Athens, Brussels and Milan

With regard to the poisoning of the river Danube and its branches in the region of Serbia and Romania at
the present time, it should be pointed out that this situation could only have arisen because of the lack of
waste water purification plants.

In this context, how does the Commission plan to deal with the problem of the lack of waste water
purification plants in Europe?

What action does the Commission intend to take, in addition to this, with regard to the lack of waste
water purification plants within the Union, and what is the situation with regard to waste water disposal in
the cities of Athens, Brussels and Milan?

By what date does the Commission expect the work on the planned or improved waste water purification
plants to be completed?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(27 April 2000)

The issue of waste water treatment is a key factor in relation to public health and the environment. Urgent
action is therefore needed in some major European cities in order to assure a high level of protection.

Waste water treatment plants for urban waste water and waste water from the agro-food industry are
addressed by the 1991 urban waste water treatment directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May
1991, concerning urban waste water treatment (1)). This requires waste water collection and treatment for
all concentrated areas of settlement or economic activity (‘agglomeration’) of more than 2000 inhabitants
or the equivalent in waste water pollution, and sets deadlines for achieving the environmental objective in
stages, depending on the size of the agglomeration and the characteristics of the affected water.
28.12.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 374 E/147

Waste water from large industrial installations is addressed by the 1996 integrated pollution prevention
and control directive (Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 (2)). For existing installations
there is a transition period until 2007 for compliance with the directive.

Discharge of certain dangerous substances is covered by the 1976 dangerous substances directive (Council
Directive 76/769/EEC of 27 July 1976 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative
provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous
substances and preparations (3)) and its daughter directives on substances such as mercury, cadmium and

Waste water sources of relevance not yet covered by the above legislation will be addressed by the
forthcoming water framework directive (Parliament second reading February 2000; conciliation and final
adoption foreseen spring or summer 2000). Its main objectives will be expanding water protection to all
waters, achieving or maintaining ‘good status’ within a set deadline, water management based on river
basins, a combined approach of emission criteria and water quality criteria and involving the citizens more
closely in planning and decision taking procedures.

The Commission in 1999 started an assessment of the measures taken by Member States to comply with
the first stage of implementation of the urban waste water treatment directive (deadline 31 December
1998), as well as an assessment of the designation of sensitive areas. The results will be known later this
year, and the Commission will take all necessary steps to enforce the legislation in cases of non-
compliance. As regards known cases of non-compliance (Brussels, Milan), the Commission has already in
1999 started infringement proceedings.

The deadlines for the urban waste water treatment plants to be operational are 31 December 1998,
31 December 2000 and 31 December 2005, depending on the size of the agglomeration and the
characteristics of the affected water. The deadline for the large industrial installations is 2007. The
deadlines for those sources of pollution only addressed by the water framework directive (‘priority
substances’) will be decided by the Parliament and the Council (‘priority substances’) when this directive
is finally adopted.

The Community is also providing significant financial support for the construction of wastewater
treatment plants in the less well off parts of the Community through, for example, the Cohesion fund
(over € 3 800 million between 1993-1999). Furthermore, in the context of pre-accession financial
assistance, wastewater treatment infrastructure will be a priority of the instrument for structural policies
for pre-accession (Council Regulation (EC) No 1267/1999 of 21 June 1999 (4)).

(1) OJ L 135, 30.5.1991.
(2) OJ L 257, 10.10.1996.
(3) OJ L 262, 27.9.1976.
(4) OJ L 161, 26.6.1999.

(2000/C 374 E/173) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0748/00
by John McCartin (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(13 March 2000)

Subject: Fire safety code for television sets

Evidence suggests that there are television sets on the EU market which are more likely to ignite in the
event of a fire, thus severely shortening people’s escape time. This has serious implications for every
household with a television in Europe, and particularly in hospitals where fire codes do not allow for
immediate evacuation of patients.

Does the Commission have any statistics concerning the incidence of fires in the EU, either from or
involving television sets?