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C 26 E/110 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.

2001

Joint answer to
Written Questions P-0768/00 and P-788/00
given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 2000)

The Commission has been informed about the disease occurring in dairy cattle farms in the Netherlands by
the Dutch authorities in the framework of Article 10 of Council Directive 90/425/EEC of 26 June 1990
concerning veterinary and zootechnical checks applicable in intra-Community trade in certain live animals
and products with a view to the completion of the internal market (1), which establishes provisions on the
information to be provided in the event of an animal disease that is likely to constitute a serious hazard to
public or animal health. The matter has been reviewed during two recent meetings of the standing
veterinary committee.

The Dutch authorities indicate that in a number of dairy cattle farms emaciation of milking cows has been
reported, that these farms are specially checked by the Animal health service, and that investigations are
being carried out to identify the precise causes of this disease. The results of these investigations suggest
that in some farms the disease appeared after the use of a vaccine, which was contaminated with bovine
viral diarrhea virus. This is a well-known virus of ruminants widespread in most countries in the world.
There is no evidence or suspicion that it can affect human beings. In these farms all animals have been
slaughtered and destroyed. However, in other farms the presence of infectious agents has not been
confirmed and other causes (deficiency in cobalt and vitamin B12) are probably involved. Special
instructions have been given to ensure that any cattle disease is immediately and properly reported to
the authorities. The information so far available suggests that there is no particular risk for public health.
However, the meat and other products (including milk) from unhealthy cattle are not used for human
consumption, in accordance with Community legislation.

The rapid alert system has not been used in these circumstances as it only concerns products that have
already been placed on the market.

An on-the spot inspection by the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office was carried out in the
Netherlands in November 1999, as part of the ongoing assessment of implementation of Directive 92/46/
EC in Member States. This Directive requires Member States to ensure that milk producing farms are
subject to regular inspections and that milk for human consumption must come from cattle which are
healthy. This mission was carried out before this problem was identified. However, the report of this
mission indicated that a procedure of the controlling authority for milk and milk-products (COKZ) is in
force to prohibit the delivery of milk for human consumption in case of unsatisfactory results of the
controls carried out.

The Commission is following the situation very carefully to ensure the protection of public and animal
health. A further inspection visit by the Food and Verterinary Office is planned in the very near future in
the matter. A report on this visit will be prepared in the normal manner and will be circulated to the
Parliament.

(1) OJ L 224, 18.8.1990.

(2001/C 26 E/136) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0771/00
by Jens-Peter Bonde (EDD) to the Council

(13 March 2000)

Subject: Opting out of cooperation

Would the Council make sure that a country is able to opt out of EU cooperation or parts thereof, such as
EMU cooperation, for instance, if this is what the country in question itself wishes, without the need for
the other Member States to agree to this?
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/111

Reply

(8 June 2000)

The Treaty contains no specific provisions concerning a Member State’s withdrawal, whether it be from
the EU in general or the third phase of EMU.

(2001/C 26 E/137) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0779/00
by Nicholas Clegg (ELDR) to the Commission

(16 March 2000)

Subject: Common commercial policy and the IGC

In the Commission’s opinion on the Intergovernmental Conference it proposed that the provisions of the
common commercial policy, including qualified-majority voting in the Council, should be extended to
agreements on services and intellectual property.

Can the Commission confirm that the extension of the CCP will cover all services without exception,
including those in the cultural field and audiovisual services in particular?

Answer given by Mr Lamy on behalf of the Commission

(7 April 2000)

The Commission’s opinion on the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) does not make any distinction
between types of services for the purposes of extending the provisions on commercial policy in Article
133 (ex Article 113) EC Treaty.

(2001/C 26 E/138) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0789/00
by Lord Inglewood (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: The Common Agricultural Policy

In response to a Written Question from Lord Inglewood in the House of Lords (PQ 788 written
28 February 2000) Lady Hayman, the Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food said
that ‘the Common Agricultural Policy as currently structured does not serve farmers, consumers and
taxpayers well’. Does the Commission agree?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(29 March 2000)

The common agricultural policy (CAP) is an evolving policy. It has developed ever since its introduction to
improve its contribution to the objectives laid down in Article 33 (ex Article 39) of the EC Treaty. With
the 1992 reforms and the recent Agenda 2000 reforms, fundamental re-orientations of the CAP have been
introduced in order to increase internal and external competitiveness, and the quality orientation of
agricultural production, to ensure a fair standard of living for the farming community, to better integrate
environmental goals into the CAP and to enhance rural development and the creation of complementary
or alternative income and employment opportunities.