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8.5.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/157

(2003/C 110 E/176) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3051/02


by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(24 October 2002)

Subject: Increased cancer risk from above-ground electricity supply cables

An extensive long-term study by the California Public Utilities Commission in the San Francisco area has
shown that people who have frequently been exposed to electromagnetic fields (because they live directly
beneath high-voltage electricity supply cables, or owing to the proximity of electrical apparatus) run a
significantly higher risk of contracting cancer. Pregnant women are at higher risk of miscarriage.

Is the Commission aware of the above findings, are they equivalent to those of the European Union, and
what policy conclusions for the Union does it draw from them?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(9 December 2002)

The Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) is aware of the long-term
study carried out by the California Public Utilities Commission. To date, this study has not been completely
published and accordingly, the Committee has considered only the part of the study that has been
published after referee’s revision. These findings do not change the CSTEE conclusion’s regarding the
suspected relationship between exposure to Extremely Low Frequency Fields (ELF) and cancer. The
Commission will refer the finalised study report to the Committee for assessment as soon as it becomes
available.

In conclusion, in both opinions published on 30 October 2001 and 24 September 2002 the Committee
has confirmed the validity of the Council Recommendation (1) limits which covers all frequencies from O
Herz to 300 GigaHerz and therefore includes the emissions from high voltage power lines.

Nevertheless the Commission follows actively the health risk assessment conducted by the WHO on
electromagnetic fields. Field results should be available by 2004 and the Commission would react to any
scientific evidence not taken into consideration.

(1) 1999/519/EC: Council Recommendation of 12 July 1999 on the limitation of exposure of the general public to
electromagnetic fiels (0 Hz to 300 GHz), OJ L 199, 30.7.1999.

(2003/C 110 E/177) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3069/02


by Roberta Angelilli (UEN) to the Commission

(25 October 2002)

Subject: Counterfeiting of Italian trademarked goods

In recent years the counterfeiting of Italian products has attained frightening proportions. Today it is the
counterfeiting of capital goods that is doing the most damage to the ‘Made in Italy’ market, not least as a
result of globalisation. This phenomenon, which at first afflicted consumer goods, is liable to drive out of
business many Italian companies, which have been forced to invest ever larger sums in technological
innovation in order to withstand this competition by producing increasingly complex and sophisticated
equipment. This is extremely costly for those companies, who have seen their profits shrink and have lost
market share.

It is becoming increasingly common to find counterfeit products on the market that cost drastically less
than the originals because they have been produced using substandard raw materials and cheap labour,
often without social protection.
C 110 E/158 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.2003

A survey conducted by the European Commission has revealed that the volume of counterfeit products
placed on the EU market increased by 39 % in the period 2000-2001.

Could the Commission therefore indicate:

1. What instruments it will adopt to intercept counterfeit products at the EU’s external borders?

2. Whether all the requisite preventive measures to combat fraud have been adopted, as is laid down in
Article 280 of the EC Treaty?

3. Whether any initiatives to harmonise European legislation in the field of the protection of industrial
and commercial property rights are envisaged?

(2003/C 110 E/178) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3070/02


by Roberta Angelilli (UEN) to the Commission

(25 October 2002)

Subject: Counterfeiting of Italian fashion wear

In recent years the counterfeiting of Italian fashion wear has attained frightening proportions. In their two
latest actions alone, which were conducted last summer as part of the ‘Vie Libere’ operation, the Italian
state police seized 48 000 counterfeit articles of clothing. This phenomenon threatens to drive many Italian
companies out of business, as they have seen their profits shrink and have lost market share. A figure of
between two and five million euros has been estimated, with a loss to the Italian treasury of 8,2 % in
income tax and 21,3 % in VAT.

It is becoming increasingly common to find the counterfeited versions of the products sold in bona fide
shops for sale nearby at drastically lower prices.

A survey conducted by the European Commission has revealed that the volume of counterfeit products
placed on the EU market increased by 39 % in the period 2000-2001, and that these had an overall value
of two billion euros.

Could the Commission therefore indicate:

1. What instruments it will adopt to intercept counterfeit products at the EU’s external borders?

2. Whether all the requisite preventive measures to combat fraud have been adopted, as is laid down in
Article 280 of the EC Treaty?

3. Whether any initiatives to harmonise European legislation in the field of the protection of industrial
and commercial property rights are envisaged?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-3069/02 and E-3070/02
given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(19 December 2002)

It is true that the counterfeiting and piracy of goods protected by intellectual property rights currently pose
a major problem for both producers and consumers throughout the EU.

1. The Commission attaches very great importance to protecting intellectual property rights both within
the Union and at its external borders. In view of the 39 % increase in the volume of counterfeit and pirated
goods intercepted by customs administrations at the external borders, and which are listed in the 2001
report, coupled with very strong pressure from economic operators, the Commission has prepared a
proposal for a draft Community regulation aiming to improve customs controls in order to combat
counterfeiting and piracy at the EU’s external borders.