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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 http://www.emcdda.org/situation/themes/
drug_use_general_population.shtml.

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
transmission.

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
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/153

vocational training. It prohibits discrimination on grounds of age, except that employment may be
terminated when an employee reaches the age of 65, the age at which people become eligible for a general
State old age pension.

2. Is the Commission aware of amendment 28170 no 9, an amendment to the above bill, which has
been tabled in the Lower House of the Dutch Parliament? Its purpose is to allow employees aged under 65
to have their employment terminated on grounds of age if the parties to a collective agreement so agree. It
does not provide for any check as to whether this is objectively justified.

3. Would such a provision be permitted under Directive 2000/78/EC?

4. If the Lower House adopts the amendment, will the Commission in due course call the Netherlands
to account?

(1) OJ L 303, 2.12.2000, p. 16.

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(13 December 2002)

The Commission is aware of the draft Dutch legislative bill 28170 for an ‘Equal Treatment on Grounds of
Age in Employment Act’ to implement Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing
a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation. The Commission is also aware of
amendment 28170 no 9 tabled by the Dutch Parliament to the above bill, to allow employees aged under
65 to have their employment terminated on grounds of age if the parties to a collective agreement so
agree.

The Commission would like to recall that Member States have until 2 December 2003 to transpose the
requirements of the Directive 2000/78/EC into national law, with the option for an additional period of
three years from December 2003 for the provisions on age (and disability). The Commission will examine
the transposition of the Directive in all Member States with a view to ensuring full conformity with
Community law.

As far as the issue raised by the Honourable Member is concerned it should be noted that a reference to
retirement age appears only in the recitals of Directive 2000/78/EC and that there is no corresponding
provision in the body of the text. The Court of Justice might therefore apply the general principle of non-
discrimination on grounds of age to questions of retirement. This means that differences of treatment
based on age will have to be objectively and reasonably justified by a legitimate aim, with the means of
achieving that aim being appropriate and necessary.

(2003/C 110 E/173) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3023/02


by Mariotto Segni (UEN) to the Commission

(23 October 2002)

Subject: Regional aid to combat blue tongue

By the decision published in the Official Journal (1), the Commission announced that it was initiating a
formal investigation procedure concerning the aid which the Sardinian regional authorities were proposing
to grant following an outbreak of blue tongue disease on the island (aid N 775/2000, now C 5/2001).

However, it endorsed Article 4 of the law relating to the aid, whereby compensation was to be paid to
sheep and cattle farmers (the latter animals are healthy carriers) for the additional cost incurred in the
purchase of fodder, since animals could not be taken to pasture.