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17.4.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 92 E/223

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(12 November 2002)

The rules for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) monitoring are laid down in Annex III to
Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 of the Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 laying down rules for
the prevention, control and eradication of certain transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (1), as last
amended by Commission Regulation (EC) No 1494/2002 of 21 August 2002 (2). According to these rules,
all bovine animals above 30 months of age slaughtered for human consumption must be tested for BSE.
All bovine animals above 24 months of age which have died on the farm, have been sent for emergency
slaughter or have been found sick when sent for normal slaughter must also be tested for BSE.

Regulation (EC) No 999/2001 does not include provisions on the financing of the BSE monitoring
programme. In principle the tests could be funded by the sector itself or by public means. Council
Decision 90/424/EEC of 26 June 1990 on expenditure in the veterinary field (3), as last amended by
Council Decision 2001/572/EC of 23 July 2001 (4), provides for the possibility of a Community
contribution, within the limits of the appropriate budget line. Since 2001 the Community has contributed
to the costs of the BSE monitoring programmes in the Member States, but each year the contribution is
limited to a maximum amount established when the programmes are approved.

In some Member States the projections indicate that they will not spend the total amount allocated to
them for BSE monitoring in 2002. The Commission intends to bring forward a proposal transferring
money from these Member States to Member States where the projections indicate that the original
allocation will not suffice. It is, however, unlikely that this will allow the Commission to co-finance all
eligible tests at the maximum rate, as the projections indicate that there is a total deficit of EUE 10-
20 million in the budget line.

The financial contribution from the Community can only be used to reimburse costs arising from the
compulsory monitoring programme laid down in Regulation (EC) No 999/2001. Hence, monitoring of
healthy slaughtered animals below 30 months of age or dead-on-farm animals below 24 months of age
will not be reimbursed.

In 2002, BSE tests are being co-financed at a maximum amount of EUR 15 per test. In 2003 the maximum
amount will be EUR 10,5 per test. The amount has been decreased because the average cost per test is
lower than originally estimated, around EUR 18 per test (weighted average cost in 2001), and decreasing.

(1) OJ L 147, 31.5.2001.


(2) OJ L 225, 22.8.2002.
(3) OJ L 224, 18.8.1990.
(4) OJ L 203, 28.7.2001.

(2003/C 92 E/282) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2971/02


by Christa Prets (PSE) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Directorate-General for Employment and Social Policy

At 18.00 on 12 September 2002 the Austria Press Agency (APA) published an urgent press release entitled
‘EU severely criticises Austria’s employment policy’. In it the APA refers to the annual Commission audit
report concerning the national action plans, which had been provided to the APA on an exclusive basis.
On 13 September 2002 I wanted further details and our office made enquiries with the appropriate
Commission department but obtained no information, on the grounds that ‘the report will not be
published until November’. Why is Commission information made available to MEPs after the press?
C 92 E/224 Official Journal of the European Union EN 17.4.2003

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(29 November 2002)

The Commission adopted the Draft Joint Employment Report 2002 on 13 November 2002 (1). It assesses
the progress made by Member States in the implementation of the 2001 Employment Guidelines. On
adoption, it was forwarded to the other institutions including the Parliament and made available to the
press and the general public.

In the preliminary stages of preparing the Draft Joint Employment Report and its supporting document,
the Commission holds bilateral meetings with all Member States in order to ensure that it has its facts
right. This year’s meeting with Austria took place on 13 September 2002. Shortly before the meeting the
preliminary draft of the supporting document was, as usual, sent to the Austrian Ministry of Labour and
Economic Affairs.

It is not the Commission’s policy to make draft proposals available to the press before adoption and
transmission to the other European institutions. According to the Framework Agreement, the Commission
does not make public any legislative initiative or significant initiative or decision before notifying the
Parliament. According to the provisions of the Framework Agreement, it is therefore the Commission’s
practice to inform the Parliament immediately after its weekly Commission meeting of the most
outstanding decisions taken by the College.

(1) COM(2002) 621final.

(2003/C 92 E/283) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2973/02


by Caroline Lucas (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Broiler chickens

In their 2000 report the Commission’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare
concluded that painful leg disorders and heart failure are two of the principal health and welfare problems
facing broiler chickens and that both of these are mainly caused by the rapid growth rates imposed on
broilers.

Does the Commission intend to address the question of leg disorders, heart failure and rapid growth rates
in its forthcoming proposal for a Council directive laying down minimum standards for the protection of
broiler chickens?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(28 November 2002)

The Commission is in the process of elaborating its proposal for the protection of chickens kept for the
production of meat.

The Commission proposal will take into account the main recommendations provided by the scientists in
their latest report including specific provisions to address the questions related to the rapid growth rate of
the animals.

Furthermore, in preparing its proposal the Commission aims to promote good management practices and
to integrate the monitoring of the welfare status of the animals in controls already carried out at
slaughterhouses. The monitoring of the results could replace over-detailed specifications concerning farms.