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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 136 E/75

Commission’s efforts it has not been possible to adopt that proposal owing to a lack of unanimity within
the Council, as required by the EC Treaty in terms of harmonising tax law, because of opposition from a
limited number of Member States. Nevertheless, the Commission has incorporated scope for the Member
States to introduce tax exemptions or total or partial reductions in the level of taxation applying to
biofuels (4) into its proposal restructuring the Community taxation framework for energy products put
forward in March 1997. Those tax exemptions or abatements will take the form of a total or partial
repayment of the excess paid.

(1) OJ C 73, 24.3.1992.

(2) OJ C 209, 27.7.1994.
(3) OJ L 299, 20.11.1999.
(4) OJ C 139, 6.5.1997.

(2001/C 136 E/081) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2680/00

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(1 September 2000)

Subject: Breast-feeding

Complaints have been made to the Commission about the marketing activities of a number of European
companies promoting baby food/milk in developing countries. However, no action seems to have been
taken thus far against them.

Will the Commission indicate its policy on breast-feeding and the baby food industry with regard to
developing countries?

Will it also indicate what action it has taken to encourage breast-feeding in developing countries, especially
since Unicef has reported that reversing the decline in breast-feeding could save the lives of 1,5 million
infants around the world every year.

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(24 October 2000)

The Commission continues to stress the importance of protecting, encouraging and supporting breastfeed-
ing. This method remains clearly and without any doubts the single best method for feeding infants,
certainly for sero-negative mothers or mothers who do not know their human immunodeficiency virus
(HIV)-status. The Commission maintains its efforts towards the baby food industry to accept and respect
this policy, with regard to developing countries.

As for HIV sero-positive mothers and their infants, there is a need to study further, to monitor or to
identify the conditions in which breastfeeding influences their health and life expectancy. Alternative
solutions for breastfeeding for HIV sero-positive mothers can only be carefully addressed in this context of
improved knowledge and reconsideration of needs and feasibility.

The Commission is supporting widely actions in the field of mother and child health, where the issue of
breastfeeding may be considered. The bulk of this support is currently covered by the Community
programmes targeting comprehensive health services delivery or the health system in general. These
include several complementary instruments, ranging from non-governmental organisation (NGO) project
support to programme or budget aid, all aiming at equitable access to appropriate health services,
including health education.

The propagation of the importance of breastfeeding and the inherent caution for inappropriate use or
introduction of undesirable baby food is an integral part of the Commission support.
C 136 E/76 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 8.5.2001

An important part of the Community efforts in the area of HIV acquired immune deficiency syndrome
(AIDS) is channelled through the special HIV/AIDS and Population budget line B7-6212.

Specific collaborative research activities with developing countries geared to reproductive health are also
covered by the Community international cooperation with developing countries (INCO-DEV) programme,
which is administered under the regular Community research budget.

(2001/C 136 E/082) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2684/00

by Roberta Angelilli (UEN) to the Commission

(1 September 2000)

Subject: Fire emergency in Italy

Taking into consideration:

 that the Community and the Member States set particular store by conservation of woodland and
forest resources and have entered into commitments at international level to promote sustainable
development of forest and forest ecosystems (as evidenced by Regulation (EEC) No 3528/86 (1) and
COM(1999) 379 (2)). The Union’s southern countries are being affected by desertification, and the
woodlands of the Mediterranean maquis consequently have a vitally important role to play in
preserving the ecosystems of these arid and semi-arid areas;

 that in Italy many fires have been started with criminal intent, in particular the serious fire in the
Ostia pine forest near Rome, in which the negligence of the local authorities was a further
contributory factor (open spaces are not cleaned or properly maintained, supervision is inadequate,
and there is not enough emergency equipment such as hydrants). Under the decree of 29 March 1996,
published in the Italian Official Gazette, the parkland was made a State nature reserve of the ‘Roman
coast’. The City of Rome is responsible for management, which is financed by the necessary funds;

 that the law laying down appropriate punishments for pyromaniacs has still to be discussed in the
Italian Chamber of Deputies, and the draft outline law, approved by the Senate on 28 July 1999, has
been blocked since September in the Italian Parliament’s Environment Committee.

1. Can the Commission say what it thinks about the delays by both the Italian Parliament and the City
of Rome in implementing the complete range of legislative and operational measures required to prevent

2. Can it express a general view on the matter?

(1) OJ L 326, 21.11.1986, p. 2.

(2) OJ C 307 E, 26.10.1999, p. 32.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(25 October 2000)

1. Although the fight against both criminality and fires is a matter for the Member States, the
Commission hopes that appropriate legislative and operational measures will be implemented as soon as
possible, in particular in the region of the Lazio.

2. The Commission entirely agrees with the Honourable Member about the importance of safeguarding
Mediterranean forestry ecosystems in arid and semi-arid regions and the need to take effective prevention
and monitoring measures.