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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.
17.4.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 92 E/231

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(4 December 2002)

1. The Commission is aware of the studies mentioned in the written question.

2. It is not up to the Commission to give comments on individual studies or their disapproval but in
general the Commission is not aware of studies that categorically disapprove these conclusions.

3. This matter falls within the competence of the Member States. Cannabis is illegal in all Member
States. There are however differences in enforcement practices between Member States. The Commission
has actively contributed to the awareness of this matter in recent years, especially among young people.
Under the programme Community Action Drug Dependence, the Commission has supported 180 projects
aiming at drug prevention in general at a cost of approximately EUR 38 million during the period 1996-
2002. Cannabis is included in many of these projects.

4. Some studies have indicated that babies born to women who used marijuana during their
pregnancies display symptoms which may indicate problems with neurological development. Extensive
research on the effects of cannabis is being conducted in the Member States and elsewhere. The
Commission should not direct or control this research in any detail, but based on the recent expression of
interest (http://www.cordis.lu/fp6/eoi-instruments), addiction research has been identified as a suitable area
for funding in the Sixth Framework Programme (2002-2006). Subject to the necessary ethical and
scientific expert review, studies into potential risks of drug users’ children suffering injuries could be
considered for funding in the Sixth Framework Programme.

(2003/C 92 E/290) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3202/02


by Maurizio Turco (NI) to the Commission

(4 November 2002)

Subject: Aid for exports of Community products to the Swiss Confederation, the Principality of Andorra,
the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Principality of Monte Carlo, the Republic of San Maríno and
Vatican City State

Does the Commission keep statistics on aid for exports of Community products to the Swiss
Confederation, the Principality of Andorra, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Principality of Monte
Carlo, the Republic of San Maríno and Vatican City State?

If it does, for each importing country, can it supply a list of products covering the past five years and
showing the quantities imported, the amounts of aid provided and the names of the exporting countries?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(16 December 2002)

The Commission is collecting the information it needs to answer the question. It will communicate its
findings as soon as possible.