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C 26 E/72 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.


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
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/73

2. Is the Council aware of the press report of March 1999 by Dr Helena Ranta, a member of the team
of European Union forensic experts in Pristina assigned at the request of the OSCE who examined
40 bodies on 22 January 1999, in which she expresses serious doubts about the credibility of the then
accepted view on the mass murder referred to in Question 1?

3. Is the Council in possession of a more detailed report on this event by Dr Ranta and her team or
from another official source? Is this report, or are these reports, available to the public?

4. Can the Council say whether the implicit recommendation in Dr Ranta’s report, that there should
first be a thorough police investigation to give an overall picture of what happened in Racak, has been
followed up?

5. If so, are the results available? If not, why have these recommendations not (yet) been followed up?

6. Does the Council have copies of the reports on the post mortems carried out on the civilian victims
in Racak to which Dr Ranta’s report refers?

7. Is the Council prepared, if only to ease the tension in the area concerned, to press for the
continuation of the investigation into the real circumstances surrounding the mass murder in Racak as
far as possible and for the publication of the findings, even if they depart significantly from the
interpretations made public at the time when the victims were discovered?

(8 June 2000)

The Council expressed at the time its outrage at the massacre in Racak. It is aware of press reports
published in March 1999, stressing that there were no signs that the victims were anything other than
unarmed civilians.

Ms Carla Del Ponte, Prosecutor of the ICTY, stated on 29 September 1999, following her appointment,
that the ICTY will continue investigating crimes committed during the armed conflict in Kosovo and that
she is determined to prosecute those responsible before the Trial Chambers at The Hague.

It is the understanding of the Presidency that the indictment, confirmed by the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on 24 May 1999, of Mr Slobodan Milosevic, President of the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), Mr Milan Milutinovic, President of Serbia, Mr Nikola Sainovic,
Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY, Mr Dragoljub Ojdanic, Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav Army, and
Mr Vlajko Stojiljkovic, Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia for murder, persecution and deportation in
Kosovo also covers the massacre of Racak.

The Council emphasises the resolve of the Member States of the EU to cooperate fully with the ICTY and
to meet their obligations under relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. As recalled by the President of
the ICTY on 31 May 1999, these obligations also include that all States and organisations in possession of
information pertaining to alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of the Tribunal should make it available to
the Prosecutor. The Council, to which the forensic experts mission reported, respected this obligation by
transmitting the autopsy reports on the Racak massacre to ICTY under the German Presidency in the first
half of 1999. The Council does not see fit to comment further on a pending legal procedure.

(2001/C 26 E/091) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0632/00
by María Ayuso González (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(3 March 2000)

Subject: Social and economic effects which the reduction in export refunds will have on the production
and processing sectors

What effects will the reduction in, or the withdrawal of, export refunds have on the production or
processing sector responsible for each of the various agricultural products affected? Have any plans been
made for alternative arrangements or for aid of any kind to soften the resulting impact?