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Official Journal of the European Communities

C 261 E/111

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(21 May 2001)

1. The Netherlands have notified the Commission under Directive 98/34/EC of the Parliament and the

Council, of 22 June 1998, on technical standards and regulations ( 1 ) of a draft law under which the rearing of fur animals would be banned after a transitional period of 10 years (notification 2001/64/NL). The Commission is currently examining the draft law in accordance with the procedure laid down in Directive


2. and 3. The United Kingdom notified a draft law prohibiting the breeding or keeping of animals solely or primarily for the value of their fur to the Commission in 1999. As to its position in this respect, the Commission would like to draw the Honourable Members’ attention to its answer to written question E-1512/00 by Mrs Kauppi ( 2 ).

4. In the case where a national measure does not infringe Community law, the question of compensa-

tion for damages caused by the said measure must be assessed within the framework of national law,

taking account also of the need to respect Community provisions on state aids.

5. A prohibition of trade in fur products in one Member State would of course have to be regarded as

an obstacle to intra-Community trade. The legality of such a measure with regard to the rules of the EC

Treaty concerning free movement of goods would however depend on several factors such as the justifications for the measure invoked by national authorities. As far as the Commission is aware, no Member State plans to enact any such measure. The question as to the Commission’s position in this respect is therefore entirely hypothetical.

( 1 ) ( 2 )

OJ L 204, 21.7.1998. OJ C 81 E, 13.3.2001.

(2001/C 261 E/117)


by Niels Busk (ELDR) to the Commission

(8 February 2001)

Subject: Food safety and the WTO

Is it the Commission’s view that consumer safety standards are the same for meat and meat products imported from third countries as for products produced in the EU?

How will the Commission ensure that the same standards are applied to imported products as to products produced in the EU and are such standards consistent in that case with WTO rules?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(2 April 2001)

The basic Community health requirements for the production of meat and meat products also apply to imports from third countries. The Community rules include provisions on the enforcement of the requirements, such as certification, inspection and border post control. The general principle that is always upheld for importation from third countries is that the standards of hygiene and of residue monitoring in the third countries must be at least equivalent to those laid down for producers in the single market. The principle for the approval of imports of meat and meat products into the Community is the assurance from the third country’s authorities that the products meet our import standards. Imports are allowed on the basis of a list of third countries approved for exports to the Community, agreed provisions on certification, and lists of establishments approved for exports to the Community. As an integral part of this system, the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office carries out inspection missions to exporting countries to verify that the Community level of protection is met.

C 261 E/112

Official Journal of the European Communities



The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) permits members to take measures to protect human and animal life and health. These should be based on international standards or, if not, the member must be prepared to provide appropriate justification for the measures, based on a scientific risk assessment. In making its provisions for import measures, the Commission endeavours to use international standards as the basis, but also consults its scientific committees for their advice. All measures covered by the SPS Agreement are notified to the SPS Committee, and the comments received are taken into account. The Commission, having followed the procedures laid down in the SPS Agreement, considers therefore that its measures are consistent with WTO rules.

(2001/C 261 E/118)

Subject: Electric shock weapons


by Roy Perry (PPE-DE) to the Council

(8 February 2001)

Given the risk that the use of what are known as ‘electro-shock’ weapons may breach the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, which require that ‘the development and deployment of non-lethal incapacitating weapons should be carefully evaluated in order to minimise the risk of endangering uninvolved persons, and the use of such weapons should be carefully controlled’, (Principle 3), what action is the Council taking to ensure compliance with that principle in relation to this type of weapon?


(31 May 2001)

The Member States consider that exports of certain non-military equipment which may be used for internal repression should be monitored by national authorities on the basis as regards civil goods of Community rules, in order to prevent equipment originating in the European Union from being used for acts which violate human rights.

For this purpose the Council has undertaken to draw up a common list of non-military security and police equipment, the export of which should be monitored in accordance with the second criterion of the Code ‘respect for Human Rights in the country of final destination’. Among the items included in this list are portable devices designed or modified for the purpose of riot control or self-protection by the administra- tion of an electric shock, including electric-shock batons, electric shock shields, stun guns and electric shock dart guns and component therefor specially designed or modified for such purpose.

This list will be forwarded to the Commission which is responsible for taking the initiative of proposing a draft Community mechanism for controlling exports of non-military equipment which may be used for internal repression.

The Council has taken note of the Commission’s intention of submitting as soon as possible a proposal based on the list, which should include the afore-mentioned items, enabling Community control arrange- ments to be set up.