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C 28 E/186 Official Journal of the European Union EN 6.2.

2003

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(23 September 2002)

The Commission is well aware of the trend of increasing obesity in the Member States. Although data
collected by Eurostat referring to 1989 and 1996 only show a limited increase in the prevalence of obesity
(measured by Body-Mass Index  BMI), the Commission foresees that new comparable data for 2002,
which will be available next year, will confirm the upwards trend in obesity found in several national and
international studies.

The Commission has a restricted mandate in the area of education since the content of teaching and the
organisation of the education systems are totally Member States’ responsibility. Thus, the Commission
cannot link any such requirements to financial or other assistance in this area. However, the Commission
may contribute to the development of environments conducive health by bringing decision-makers and
scientists together, and by promoting examples of good practice, as is currently being done in the project
European Network of Health Promoting Schools, a joint Commission, Council of Europe and World Health
Organisation project.

In addition, in its recent report on the concrete future objectives of education systems, the Commission
identified specific cases where associating education and sport is particularly appropriate (1). Furthermore,
the Commission is aware that sport is a valuable tool for promoting relevant aims in education, such as
education in a multicultural framework, supporting disadvantaged pupils, countering school failure and
heading off social exclusion, which the Union supports in particular through the Comenius action for
school education.

The Commission has recently submitted a proposal for a decision of the Parliament and the Council
establishing the European Year of Education through Sport 2004 (2). Its aims are i. a. to encourage sport in
the school curriculum, to fight against the sedentary nature of the school population and thus contribute
to improve pupils’ physical wellbeing. The decision provides financial support for transnational, national,
regional or local initiatives to promote the stated objectives, in particular for events designed to
disseminate the educational values of sport and to provide information and examples of good practice.

The new Public Health Programme (2003-2008) includes activities relating to collection of health data as
well as actions on health determinants. Prevention of obesity will figure amongst the activities to be
undertaken.

The Commission is currently reflecting on how to develop a coherent Community strategy on obesity
within this programme, to tackle the unfortunate trend of increasing proportions of the population being
overweight or obese and physically inactive, which in turn leads to escalated costs and public health
problems at a large scale. Such a strategy will have to be based on measures for nutrition and physical
activity, in order to prevent and manage this global, epidemic-like development.

(1) COM(2001) 59 final, the concrete future objectives of education systems.


(2) OJ C 25 E, 29.1.2002.

(2003/C 28 E/211) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2104/02


by Maurizio Turco (NI) to the Commission

(10 July 2002)

Subject: Violations of the rule of law and democracy in Italy and Articles 6 and 7 of the TEU

Knowing that:

 according to Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union the Commission may propose that the
Council ‘determine the existence of a serious and persistent breach by a Member State of principles
mentioned in Article 6(1)’, which states ‘The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy,
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are
common to the Member States’’;
6.2.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 28 E/187

 the text of the Italian Constitution explicitly lays down the number of members of:
(a) the Constitutional Court (Article 35, Title VI, Section I) and states that in the event of a vacancy
arising, for whatever reason, it must be filled within one month (Article 5(2) of Constitutional Law
No 2 of 22 November 1967),
(b) the Chamber of Deputies (Article 56, Title I, Section I), and both electoral law (Unified Text 361/
1957, as amended by Law 277/1993), and the relevant implementing regulation (Presidential
Decree No 14 of 5 January 1994) cover all eventualities to enable all seats to be allocated and
specify the mechanisms for filling any seats which become vacant during the term of office.

 In view of the fact that the Constitutional Court operated without the constitutional plenum of 15
members between 21 November 2000 and 24 April 2002 and was convened and deliberated with 13
members, and

 In view of the fact that since 30 May 2001 the Chamber of Deputies has been operating without the
constitutional plenum of 630 members and has been convened and has deliberated with 618
members;

can the Commission say:

 whether it has taken these facts into account in order to assess whether to take steps pursuant to
Article 7 of the TEU and, if so, what conclusions it has reached;

 whether it already has or is considering acquiring any instruments to monitor respect for the
principles referred to in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(8 August 2002)

The Commission notes that a solution has been found to the problems referred to by the Honourable
Member concerning the composition of two Italian institutions  the Constitutional Court and the
Chamber of Deputies. As the Honourable Member states in his question, since 24 April 2002, the
Constitutional Court consists of the number of judges required by the constitution; with regard to the
Chamber of Deputies an agreement was reached on 16 July 2002.

The Commission sees no reason for examining the matter in the light of Article 7 of the Treaty on
European Union.

(2003/C 28 E/212) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2107/02


by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(17 July 2002)

Subject: Clearance of the EAGGF accounts for 2001

Pursuant to Commission Decision 2002/461/EC (1) of 12 June 2002 on the clearance of the accounts of
Member States’ expenditure financed by the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund for the
2001 financial year, the accounts submitted by the paying agency for Greece (Gdidagep/Opekepe) were
not cleared but disjoined subject to further scrutiny and verification.

1. For what specific reasons were the Greek accounts for 2001 not cleared? Where are the
shortcomings to be found in the accounts forwarded by Greece in terms of their completeness, accuracy
and veracity?