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17.4.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 92 E/229

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(29 November 2002)

As the Honourable Member points out, the Commission opened infringement proceedings against
Luxembourg in connection with rules laying down approval criteria for the provision of additional ‘post-
licence’ driving instruction.

That procedure gave rise to an exchange of several letters between the Luxembourg authorities and the
Commission. Following a detailed examination and evaluation of the numerous technical arguments put
forward by the Luxembourg authorities, the Commission is now studying evidence recently supplied by
the complainant.

It is analysing this complex information in the light of the EC Treaty, with particular reference to the
principle of freedom of establishment laid down in Article 43, in order to determine the need for, and
justification of, the rules applicable to facilities in which ‘post-licence’ training could be provided.

The Commission should be deciding very shortly on the action to be taken on this matter and will inform
the Honourable Member and the complainant of its decision without delay.

(2003/C 92 E/288) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3102/02


by Roberta Angelilli (UEN) to the Commission

(29 October 2002)

Subject: Public day nurseries in Rome

The European Council’s discussions in Seville on 21 June 2002 and the recommendation it adopted
concerning the broad economic policy guidelines for the Member States and the Community showed that
the employment market in Italy still exhibited many shortcomings from an EU perspective, above all with
regard to the promotion of women’s employment.

One of the factors working against women’s employment is the lack of public childcare facilities, and in
particular of local day nurseries.

In Rome, for example, the number of childcare facilities is not sufficient to meet demand, which means
that few places are available for children and there are therefore long waiting lists. Until now, Rome City
Council has failed to effectively address the seriousness of the situation in the city, and childcare facilities
are still unavailable for around 5 000 children.

Could the Commission therefore state:

1. whether there are examples of good practice in this area;

2. whether there are any papers or studies concerning this area;

3. its general opinion on this situation.

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(27 November 2002)

1. For examples of best practice, the Commission would refer the Honourable Member to a report
entitled ‘Care in Europe’ which includes an analysis of the strategies of all Member States on childcare. The
Commission is sending this report direct to the Honourable Member and to Parliament’s Secretariat.

Another report ‘Gender equality in the European Union: Examples of good practices (1996-2000)’ can be
found on the Commission’s website: http://europa.eu.int/comm/employment_social/equ_opp/docu-
ments_en.html.
C 92 E/230 Official Journal of the European Union EN 17.4.2003

2. There are several studies and reports on the subject.

As far as the Union is concerned, the Joints Employment Reports (JERs) represent a good source of
information as they have data directly from the National Action Plans (NAPs). The JERs include a summary
of the Member States’ commitments to provide childcare services.

One of the main problems is that national data is very difficult, if not impossible, to compare. For this
reason, the Commission is currently working on feasibility of having comparable data at Union level.
There is an interesting Eurostat study in this field: ‘Feasibility study on the availability of comparable child
care statistics in the European Union’, which you can find in: http://europa.eu.int/comm/eurostat/Public/
datashop/print-catalogue/EN?catalogue=Eurostat&collection=12-Working%20papers%20and%20studies

Member States were asked to provide in their NAPs some agreed indicators on childcare facilities, which
provided important information on the subject. The Commission is working on the improvement of these
indicators and data

3. At the Barcelona European Council, 15 and 16 March 2002, Member States agreed national targets
for childcare provision. Childcare should be provided to at least 90 % of children between three years old
and the mandatory school age and at least 33 % of children under three years by 2010.

According to the information available from the 2001 and 2002 NAPs, there has been a certain positive
evolution over the last two years in the provision of childcare facilities. According to the 2001 NAPs, in
response to the 2001 guidelines, some countries set quantitative targets both in absolute and in percentage
terms for increasing the provision of childcare facilities. The information provided in the 2002 NAPs
shows that the childcare provision has continued to improve, though it is still far from the Barcelona
targets.

As far as Italy is concerned, it is recognised that the lack of childcare and other dependents facilities
hinders female labour supply. For this reason, the Council issued a specific recommendation asking Italy to
set targets for the care supply. The Italian NAP for 2002 has quantified the employment target for women
also recognising the importance of conciliation policies, but it did not yet present quantified targets.

(2003/C 92 E/289) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3108/02


by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(29 October 2002)

Subject: Marijuana-induced brain damage

According to Susan Greenfield, Professor of Synaptic Pharmacology at Oxford University and an


independent member of the House of Lords, marijuana has its own receptor in the brain and finds its
way into the very delicate neurochemical mechanisms which are the basis of the cognitive functions,
creating a psychological dependence. This is how Professor Greenfield summarised the results of a batch of
studies on the neurological effects of cannabis, including one by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse.
These studies have shown that the active principle in cannabis, delta-9-tetra-hydrocannibol (THC), has the
same neurological effects as cocaine. In other words, it produces exactly the same changes in the brain.

Could the Commission indicate whether:

1. it is aware of these studies;

2. it knows of the existence of any studies which disprove these conclusions;

3. it does not consider that, in the light of these studies, steps should be taken to avert the liberalisation
of soft drugs in the Member States, and above all to inform the general public, and in particular young
people, of the damage that can be caused by using them;

4. it would be possible to launch a study (if no such study already exists) to ascertain whether there is
any risk of drug users’ children suffering injuries to the brain.