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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/71

This decision is nothing short of a disaster for the working lives of the fishermen, whatever the
appropriateness of the measure in health terms.

What provisions does the common fisheries policy make for social and economic cover for workers like
the Malaga fishermen, whose working lives have been catastrophically affected by factors entirely outwith
their control?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(25 April 2000)

The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s concern about the Malaga fishermen affected by closure
of the shellfish fishery for health reasons. It points out that under the terms of Article 16 of Council
Regulation (EC) No 2792/1999 of 17 December 1999 laying down the detailed rules and arrangements
regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector (1) Member States may grant compensa-
tion to fishermen for temporary cessation of activities under unforeseeable circumstances, in particular
cessation for biological reasons.

Such support is additional to that of the general structural measures for fleet adjustment, modernisation
and renewal. Each case of restructuring a fleet affected by reduced fishing potential requires approval by
the Commission following examination of the proposal in the light of the rules applicable.

(1) OJ L 337, 30.12.1999.

(2001/C 26 E/089) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0612/00
by Dirk Sterckx (ELDR) to the Commission

(3 March 2000)

Subject: Need for European regulations on the use of pesticides in horticulture

According to reports, Belgium permits the use in horticulture of certain plant protection products
(tolyfluanil and myclobutanil) that are prohibited in France. On the other hand, there are certain plant
protection products that are permitted in France but prohibited in Belgium. On the basis of its national
legislation France in some cases holds Belgian exports of horticultural products. The Belgian products are
thus placed in an unfavourable light in France, which can have far-reaching consequences for Belgian
exports. The Belgian authorities, however, do not carry out any comparable checks on French horticultural

1. Is there European legislation on the use of plant protection products in horticulture?

2. If so, what provisions does this legislation contain?

3. If not, does the Commission not consider that there is a need to draw up European provisions so as
to prevent distortions of competition between the Member States?

4. Apart from whether or not there is European legislation, under what circumstances is France
permitted to prevent or hinder the import of Belgian horticultural products?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(10 April 2000)

1 - 3. The use of plant protection products is regulated by Council Directive 91/414/EEC of 15 July
1991 (1) concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market. The main objectives of this
Directive are to (a) ensure a high level of protection of human health, for the consumer and for the
C 26 E/72 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.2001

producers of agricultural commodities, (b) ensure a high level of protection of the environment and
resources and (c) ensure free circulation of plant protection products and agricultural produce in the

The Directive provides for a positive list of accepted active substances that are considered as safe for
human and animal health and the environment after a thorough evaluation. However, the authorization of
individual products remains within the responsibility of individual Member States (subsidiarity) and this
constitutes a second check of the safety of a plant protection product under the specific conditions of use
in that Member State.

The Directive provides that Member States can only authorize a plant protection product if the active
substances it contains are listed in the positive list and provided certain criteria concerning efficacy and
safety for humans and the environment are satisfied. These criteria are harmonised (the so-called uniform
principles) as are the data that industry has to submit when applying for an authorization.

For all the active substances already on the market when the Directive entered into force in July 1993, a
derogation allows Member States to continue to grant authorizations for plant protection products not yet
included in the positive list, pending the current gradual re-evaluation of all such active substances. The
Commission adopted Regulation (EC) No 451/2000 of 28 February 2000 laying down the detailed rules
for the implementation of the second and third stages of the work programme in Council Directive 91/
414/EEC (2) to facilitate and speed up this review.

The Directive provides for a system of obligatory acceptance of an authorization given in one Member
State, to the extent that the agricultural, plant health and environmental (including climatic) conditions are
comparable in another Member State.

4. Related to the issue of the authorisation of plant protection products, is the issue of their residues in
horticultural products. Community maximum levels of pesticides residues (MRLs) in horticultural products
are fixed in the annexes to Council Directives 76/895/EEC of 23 November 1976 (3) and 90/642/EEC of
27 November 1990 (4) for a wide variety of pesticides. These MRLs are binding throughout the Commun-
ity. The work of setting these MRLs is a continuous task that is not yet complete. For those combinations
of pesticide and commodity where a Community MRL has not yet been fixed, then the situation in the
Member States is unharmonised and individual Member States may set national MRLs.

It is entirely possible that a situation could arise whereby an authorisation for use exists in one Member
State and a corresponding national MRL also exists in that Member State whereas in another Member State
no authorisation exists and a national MRL of zero exists. This would create a situation whereby the
second Member State could legitimately block imports of produce containing residues from the first
Member State.

Council Directive 97/41/EC of 25 June 1997 (5) provided for a conciliation procedure at Community level
for such cases where bilateral discussions between the Member States were unsuccessful in resolving such
trade disputes.

(1) OJ L 230, 19.8.1991.
(2) OJ L 55, 29.2.2000.
(3) OJ L 340, 9.12.1976.
(4) OJ L 350, 14.12.1990.
(5) OJ L 184, 12.7.1997.

(2001/C 26 E/090) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0628/00
by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Council
(2 March 2000)

Subject: Kosovo: establishing the truth about the mass murders in Racak in January 1999, with reference to
the report by Dr Helena Ranta, EU observer in Pristina

1. Does the Council recall the report that on 15 January 1999 the Serbian army marched into the
Kosovar village of Racak and abducted 45 ethnic Albanian men, whose bodies were subsequently
discovered, and that this atrocity was one of the causes of the war that was fought later in 1999 over