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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/151

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(26 November 2002)

In October 2000, the Commission proposed a prolongation of the sugar quota system for two additional
marketing years together with some modifications in the common organisation of the markets in the sugar
sector. The proposal was an interim solution and the Commission intended to reconsider the situation in
context of the Mid Term Review foreseen under Agenda 2000. In May 2001, the Council decided, in
accordance with the opinion of the Parliament, that the quota system would be maintained up to the
2005/2006 marketing year. While rolling-over the sugar Common Market Organisation (CMO) for another
five years, the Council requested the Commission to submit a report in 2003 together with any
appropriate proposal. Taking into account these decisions, the Commission did not propose any change
for sugar in its July 2002 Communication on the Mid Term Review (1). The Communication announced
next steps. In this context, sugar was explicitly mentioned among sectors scheduled for review in 2003.
This revision will take account, among others, of the consequence of the future opening of the sugar
market to the imports from Least Developed Countries.

While being maintained up to 2005/2006 quotas were cut by 115,000 tonnes to allow for respecting
World Trade Organisation commitments on subsidised exports. An additional reduction of 862,000 tonnes
is required for the 2002/2003 marketing year. When they launched the Doha Development Round in
November 2001, Ministers committed themselves, without prejudging the outcome of the negotiations, to
comprehensive negotiations aimed at, among others, ‘reductions, with the view of phasing out, all forms of
export subsidies’. Modalities for commitments have to be agreed by the end of March 2003. In this
context, it is too early to specify the timing and the modalities for reducing export subsidies.

The relevant Community legislation requires the Commission to keep the accounting information it
receives from the Member States confidential and secure. The attention of the Honourable Member is
drawn to the Framework Agreement on relations between the Parliament and the Commission of 5 July
2000 which contains specific provisions in respect of the transmission of confidential information.

In addition, the Commission recalls the specific financing mechanism applying for sugar exports. Only
expenditures for exports corresponding to a quantity equivalent to preferential imports are financed by the
Community budget. Export refunds for quota quantities have to be covered by producers’ levies, that are
part of the Union own resources.

(1) COM(2002) 394 final.

(2003/C 110 E/171) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3016/02

by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(23 October 2002)

Subject: Study of drug dependency and HIV infection

A number of alarming  and in some cases quite appalling  events involving young people (many of
whom were still minors) that have occurred recently have highlighted exactly how difficult an increasing
number of young people in our countries are finding it to lead a stable life. The disenchantment felt by
many young people has a number of causes in a society in which even politicians are becoming
increasingly egotistical and distant and, precisely for this reason, are less able properly to address those
causes. An ever-increasing number of young people are using ‘soft drugs’  the first step towards the
habitual use of harder drugs  and the number of young people who are HIV-positive is on the increase.
C 110 E/152 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.2003

With a view to obtaining a clearer picture of this specific manifestation of the disenchantment felt by our
young people and to clarifying the scale of the problem, can the Commission state whether a study have
been conducted recently in the Member States and the applicant countries with a view to ascertaining the
real number of young people who are drug addicts, who have died from drug abuse and who are HIV-
positive? If such a study exists, does it point to any improvement in the situation since the last studies
were conducted?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(10 January 2003)

1. Data on prevalence of use of drugs on general and young population of the Union are regularly
collected by the EMCDDA (European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, Lisbon). The
Annual Report on the State of the Drugs problem in the European Union and Norway 2002, as well as the
Report on the drug situation in the candidate CEECs 2002 have been presented by the EMCDDA on
2 October 2002. Data are available on the web site

2. The Commission (through Eurostat  the Statistical Office of the European Communities) has data
on incidence (on the basis of the data collected by EuroHIV, Paris) and on mortality due to acquired
immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the Union as well as for European Economic Area (EEA) and
Candidate Countries. These data, for which a Statistics in Focus has been disseminated by Eurostat on
September 2002, presents the trends 1981-2001, and can be desegregated following the different
categories of transmission of this disease. The cumulative total of cases 1981-2001 of AIDS in the Union
is 232 407. The percentage of cases of AIDS in the Injecting Drug User (IDU) transmission category has
fallen in the last few years, from the 43,7 % of the total cases in 1996 to 33,2 % in 2001, although this
remains the most important transmission category with 39,4 % of total cumulative cases 1981-2001 in the
Union. A total of 32 517 cases of AIDS due to IDU transmission has been declared for young persons
between 15 and 29 years of age for the period 1981-2001. The incidence per million of IDU cases of
AIDS was 8,2 for the Union whole population and 3,4 for the 20-24 age group but it was 14,5 for the
25-29 age group which appears as the most problematic group of age in terms of AIDS related to IDU

3. Studies on prevalence of HIV antibodies among IDU are not available at national level in the Union.
Results from some large local studies carried out between 1996 and 2001 found a prevalence of less than
5 % in two-thirds of Member States. The highest prevalence was found in Lisbon, Portugal in 1998/99
(48 %), followed by 33,1 % in 1999 in Spain (Barcelona, Madrid and Seville) and 25,9 % in the Netherlands
(Amsterdam) between 1997 and 1999. Italy (Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Sardinia) tested the most
injectors and had a prevalence of 15,1 % in 1999, compared with 16,2 % in 1998.

4. The forthcoming public health programme, adopted recently by the Parliament and Council includes
activities relating to improve collection of health data as well as action on health determinants. Prevention
of HIV/AIDS will figure amongst the activities to be undertaken.

(2003/C 110 E/172) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3022/02

by Joke Swiebel (PSE) to the Commission

(23 October 2002)

Subject: Termination of employment on grounds of age before an employee has reached the age of
eligibility for a State pension (65 in the Netherlands) permitted under Directive 2000/78/EC?

1. Is the Commission aware of Dutch legislative bill 28170 for an ‘Equal Treatment on Grounds of Age
in Employment Act’ to implement Directive 2000/78/EC (1) establishing a general framework for equal
treatment in employment and occupation and in connection with Article 1 of the Constitution? The
purpose of the bill is to prohibit discrimination on grounds of age in employment, occupation and