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C 235 E/30

Official Journal of the European Communities

EN
EN

21.8.2001

With regard to the possibility of least-developed countries (LDCs) utilising non-LDC products under this initiative, one should distinguish between fraudulent and non fraudulent ways of doing so.

In order to address the risk of fraud, the Commission has proposed to reinforce the existing anti-fraud clause. The reinforced clause provides a tool for tackling the risk of fraud by specifying that massive increases in Community imports of LDC products, beyond the level reflecting prevailing economic conditions such as normal production and export capacities in LDCs will be regarded as evidence of fraud.

In other, non fraudulent cases, the current rules of origin, and in particular the minimum value-added conditions attached to regional cumulation of origin allow trade of LDCs with other developing countries within the region but also provide that trade benefits will correspond to significant economic activity in the LDCs.

Similarly, the possibility that LDCs export their domestic production to the Community, while covering their domestic consumption needs by imports from non LDCs (‘triangular trade’), would not be fraud. However, this ‘import/export swap’ is constrained, notably by poor LDCs infrastructures.

As far as procedural aspects are concerned, the Commission proposal for amending Council Regulation (EC) No 2820/98 is based on Article 133 (ex Article 113) of the EC Treaty which despite the Commission’s efforts in the Inter-Governmental Conference does not foresee consultation of the Parliament. However, the Commission has been sensitive to the political importance of the matter for the Parliament and has therefore briefed the Parliament as early as possible on the proposal. Wide-ranging discussions have already taken place. In the sugar sector, the proposal has also been presented to the social partners and discussed with numerous representatives of the sector. As you certainly know, efforts are intensifying within the Council to strike a legitimate balance between the different interests involved.

( 1 ) ( 2 )

COM(2000) 561 final. OJ L 357, 30.12.1998.

(2001/C 235 E/034)

Subject: Ebola fever

WRITTEN QUESTION E-3871/00

by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(8 December 2000)

The Ebola fever epidemic is continuing to spread in the north of Uganda, once again hitting three refugee camps, especially in Pabo, where at least 38 thousand people are living in a precarious situation, to put it mildly.

The same epidemic is also affecting Kenya and other countries are at risk.

If there is a massive outbreak of the disease in one of these camps it could have disastrous consequences and attacks by the ‘Lord’s Resistence Army’ make it difficult to control the epidemic. In view of this, the following are needed:

an urgent public health programme for the hospitals of Lacor and Gulu;

the organising of emergency medical teams;

measures to prevent the spread of the disease and to monitor the people infected.

21.8.2001

EN
EN

Official Journal of the European Communities

C 235 E/31

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(28 February 2001)

The Ebola outbreak in Uganda appears to have been brought under control. A total of 428 cases and 173 deaths were recorded with a case fatality rate of 40 %. Masindi and Mbara have been declared Ebola free. The worst hit district of Gulu reported its last case on 12 January 2001 and is expected to be declared Ebola free on 24 February.

At the onset of the outbreak the EU, through ECHO, rapidly approved a contribution of € 250 000 to support the work of the Ebola Task Force. This sum channelled through WHO, supported disease surveillance and control, case management and a public education campaign.

Immediately on notification of the first cases in Gulu district in October 2000, the Ministry of Health established a national Task Force to coordinate the response to the epidemic. The task force, which included technical experts from WHO Geneva, and CDC Atlanta, established multi-disciplinary teams to work with hospital and district health staff. The teams established isolation and laboratory facilities in hospitals, carried out active case detection, treatment of infected patients and contact tracing and implemented an effective national information campaign.

The last case in Gulu district, the baby of the previous case detected on 22 December 2000, was reported on 12 January 2001. The last case in Masindi district was diagnosed on 19 December 2000. As of 24 January the cumulative total numbers are 396 cases and 150 deaths in Gulu district and 27 cases and 19 deaths in Masindi district. While the epidemic appears to be contained and CDC staff have been withdrawn, the work of the task force is ongoing. Surveillance and prevention measures need to be continued for some time. WHO recommends no special restrictions on travel or trade to or from Uganda.

The donor response, technical support and funding for control measures were rapid and substantial. The Ministry of Health acted rapidly and in an open manner in co-ordinating an effective response to the epidemic.

Under its international research collaboration programme (INCO), the Commission has supported a project on Ebola fever diagnosis and surveillance, targeting the border region of Guinea-Conakry and Ivory Coast, where one of the last larger epidemics took place. New rapid diagnostic tests are under development and a district-based surveillace programme established in West-Africa is elaborated. Possibilities to involve Ugandan laboratories in these activities will be considered.

(2001/C 235 E/035)

Subject: The arms trade

WRITTEN QUESTION E-3873/00

by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Council

(20 December 2000)

Thanks to oil profits Middle Eastern countries are once again investing in the military sector. This year countries such as Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Arab Emirates will devote USD 60 billion to military expenditure, 5 % more than the current budget.

As a consequence of this the United States has allocated new funding for defence, whilst Europe, with the exception of the United Kingdom, is reducing its military budget by 6 %.

Can the Council launch a programme of measures to discourage the buying and selling of arms based on:

1.

asking the oil-producing countries to comply with the measures adopted at the Caracas summit regarding the reduction in the price of oil;