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C 26 E/134 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.


(2001/C 26 E/166) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0953/00
by Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(22 March 2000)

Subject: Supply of tuna loins to the European fish-canning industry

At the Fisheries Council meeting of 30 March 1999 the Commission undertook to initiate a study
reviewing the supply of tuna loins to the Community market, which was published at the beginning of this
year under the title ‘Tuna Loins Supply and Demand Study  Evaluation of the Supply of Tuna Loins to
the Community Market in the Short and Medium Term’. The study concluded that in order to help the
Italian industry carry out its restructuring without prejudicing the other European Union countries, a quota
of between 1 000 and 2 000 tonnes could be opened for third countries.

How could the Commission therefore propose, on 21 February 4000 tonnes at a customs duty of 6 % for
the year 2000, if, as stated in the study, this will jeopardise the vast majority of fish-canning industries in
the European Union?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(27 April 2000)

The Honourable Member refers to the study carried out by the Commission on supply of tuna loins to the
Community market.

As mentioned in the reply to his Written Questions E-0756/00 to E-0761/00 (1), the Commission
considers this study to show a limited deficit of a seasonal nature for this product.

Its proposal for the year 2000 was certainly for a higher quantity than advocated by the study, but at 6 %
duty whereas the study advocated nil.

That quantity and duty level are moreover in line with the political agreement signed by the Council and
the Commission on 17 December 1999.

The Council confirmed this line of action by unanimously adopting the Commission’s proposal.

(1) See page 104.

(2001/C 26 E/167) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0959/00
by Salvador Garriga Polledo (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(29 March 2000)

Subject: Municipal hotel tax

The practice is on the increase of levying a tax on hotel guests, on the grounds that such guests use
municipally-owned ‘facilities of general interest’, for whose upkeep all the inhabitants of a given urban
community have to pay.

Visitors to a city which operates such a tax are thus asked to pay a surcharge on their hotel bill
corresponding to their use of the municipally-owned facilities of which they have availed themselves while
staying in a hotel in that city.

In view of the significant consequences which will arise if this tax comes to be levied customarily by local
authorities throughout the Union, can the Commission state its position concerning this practice and
whether it believes this tourist tax could become an indirect source of resources through VAT?
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/135

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(26 May 2000)

Since there is no Community legislation on this matter, Member States have sole responsibility for the
introduction of municipal taxes levied on visitors to the municipality to help finance the additional
municipally owned public facilities needed because of the influx of tourists.

However, such legislation must not include discriminatory measures that infringe the fundamental
freedoms provided for in the EC Treaty  for instance levying taxes only on foreign tourists or applying
a higher rate to foreign tourists. Provided they do not include such discriminatory provisions, municipal
taxes on visitors to the municipality are not incompatible with Community law.

(2001/C 26 E/168) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0966/00
by Esko Seppänen (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(31 March 2000)

Subject: Health effects of mobile telephones

In several of its documents the Commission has stressed Europe’s leading position in the use of mobile
telephones and has proposed strategies designed to maintain this position. Has the Commission ascertained
by means of scientific research that the electromagnetic fields created in connection with the operation of
such telephones have no negative health effects on the human brain and that they do not cause a
predisposition to cancer?

Answer given by Mr Busquin on behalf of the Commission

(25 April 2000)

Under the 3rd and 4th Framework Programmes of Research and Development the Commission funded
several projects investigating how electromagnetic radiation (radio frequency  RF) affects health. The first
was a COST action (Cost 244 in 1992, followed by Cost 244a in 1998) on the biomedical effects of
electromagnetic radiation. This action is still under way. In addition, the Biomed 2 programme provided
funding for two studies of the links between electromagnetic radiation and cancer.

The Measurement and Testing programme funded a project on the measurement of electromagnetic
radiation emitted by mobile telephones and relay stations and on the quantification of human exposure.
The project’s findings will be useful for establishing measurement standards and evaluating the risk posed
by mobile telephones and relay stations.

The Commission granted a total of around two million euros to these studies. None of the studies
(covering potential thermal effects and cellular metabolic disturbance caused by the various types of
electromagnetic field) produced any evidence of adverse effects on health, though further results are still
needed in order to meet public concern.

Under the 5th Framework Programme, studies on the effects of electromagnetic radiation are specifically
included in the work programme of the 4th key action (Environment and Health) of Theme 1 (Quality of
life and management of living resources). Following the 1999 call for proposals, five proposals were
selected, for total funding of around nine million euros. These projects have just got under way, and will
be delivering results in three or four years.

The projects include a large-scale epidemiological study (Interphone) coordinated by the International
Agency for Research on Cancer, which will investigate whether the electromagnetic radiation emitted by
mobile telephones can be carcinogenic. The study will distinguish between the various emission levels of