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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/159

The Commission is also continuing to work closely with the Member States and right holders on customs
checks at the Community’s external borders by means of operational measures.

2. The European Commission’s European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is responsible for managing the
Customs Information System (CIS) established by Regulation 515/97 on customs cooperation. This system
will become operational from 15 January 2003 and will also be used to combat counterfeiting at the
external borders through mutual assistance between the customs authorities and OLAF. The Commission
also intends to propose a regulation on administrative cooperation between all the competent national
authorities and the Commission (OLAF), as provided for in particular by the Commission’s overall anti-
fraud strategy of 28 June 2000.

3. After the development over the years of a broad set of legal provisions on substantive intellectual
property law (including patents, trade marks, designs and copyright), the Commission is currently
preparing a proposal for a directive harmonising the means of enforcing all types of intellectual property
rights in the Union which should be adopted early in 2003. This initiative was announced in the
Commission Communication entitled ‘Follow-up to the Green Paper on combating counterfeiting and
piracy in the single market’ of 30 November 2000 (1).

Efforts must also be made to raise awareness among all those involved and to mobilise them in combating
these phenomena, in particular through preventive measures upstream. For this reason the Commission
intends to address this issue in the near future at a meeting of the forum on the prevention of organised

(1) COM(2000) 789 final.

(2003/C 110 E/179) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3074/02

by Friedrich-Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: Towards sustainable agriculture for developing countries  conference to be held by the
Commission’s Research D-G, 30-31 January 2003

As announced on its Research D-G’s Internet pages, the Commission intends to hold a conference with the
title: ‘Towards sustainable agriculture for developing countries: options from life sciences and biotech-
nologies’, on 30 and 31 January 2003.

On what legal basis (programme, budget line) is this conference being held, and at what overall cost?

What preparations have been made in terms, in particular, of European Parliament participation, content
selection and substantive inclusion of risk analyses?

How, and by what criteria, were contributors, contributions and participants selected?

Answer given by Mr Busquin on behalf of the Commission

(19 November 2002)

The conference ‘Towards Sustainable Agriculture for Developing Countries: Options from life Sciences and
Biotechnologies’ is organised as a ‘Life Sciences Discussion Platform’, to allow an open and inclusive debate
on the potential for life sciences to provide new insights into persistent problems that affect our modern

The budgetary line to support this conference is the one of the ‘Quality of Life’ Programme, under the Fifth
Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (RTD). The cost to be borne by the
Commission is estimated to amount to EUR 600 000, within the same range as the cost incurred by earlier
similar events. The Commission, through Directorate General (DG) Research and several associated DGs, is
therefore taking responsibility for the overall organisation. The programme has been designed by the
European group of Life Sciences (EGLS).
C 110 E/160 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.2003

The EGLS, a group of eminent scientists established by the Member of the Commission responsible for
Research in 2000 (1), has been asked to meet the need for high level advice on prospects from life sciences
and technologies and their policy relevance. One of the objectives of the group is to contribute to the
organisation and animation of a Life Sciences Discussion Platform, enabling researchers to engage in
debate with the various ‘stakeholders’. This effort is to ensure that sensitive issues attached to the
responsible use of new knowledge are not the prerogative of the sole experts, but also addressed openly in
the context of a public debate ensuring pluralist representation.

The EGLS established the programme of this future event, based on selected case histories to illustrate from
local experience how certain scientific and technological applications may have responded to specific
challenges facing Developing Countries. The benefit/risk analysis is part of each case history. Speakers have
been sought from developing countries as far as possible, and from competent international organisations.
Finally, a small panel (non-governmental organisations, international organisations, members of the
Parliament, etc.) has been created to nourish the core debate, itself conducted by a journalist.

Participants will cover a broad public audience, including representatives from civil society, the farming
community, industry, policy makers, the youth, both from Europe and developing countries. Registrations
are received from all over the world.


(2003/C 110 E/180) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3090/02

by Jan Mulder (ELDR) to the Commission

(28 October 2002)

Subject: Increase in available maximum guaranteed quantities of hemp and flax in the Netherlands

Hemp and flax cultivation is a strong growth sector in a number of European Union countries, including
the Netherlands. The fibre is an extremely useful, environmentally-friendly industrial raw material, which,
in addition to traditional sales to the paper industry, is increasingly being used in the manufacture of
automobile components such as dashboards, parcel shelves, etc. It is an area which offers good prospects
for crop farmers. However, under the common organisation of the market for flax and hemp (Regulation
(EC) No 1673/2000 (1)), there is currently a restriction on quantities eligible for assistance. That means
that, based on the current area of 4 000 ha of flax and more than 2 000 ha of hemp, the guaranteed
quantities of long flax fibre and of short flax fibre and hemp fibre respectively allocated to the Netherlands
are being fully utilised. It is anticipated that a problem will arise next year, when a further increase in
cultivation of flax and hemp is expected. This is already acting as a check on production, when the area
under cultivation needs to be expanded in order to develop new markets and to offer customers security in
terms of adequate supplies of hemp and flax fibre. The Commission is not due to evaluate the
arrangements until the end of 2003.

1. Is the Commission aware of the important and environmentally-friendly uses of hemp and flax fibre
in the motor industry and the high demand from the sector for such agricultural products (including as a
result of the commitment on the part of the German authorities to promoting the use of such raw
materials by means of legislation)? Is the Commission prepared to introduce similar measures to promote
the use of such products throughout the European Union?

2. Does the Commission agree that the current maximum guaranteed quantity for the cultivation of
hemp and flax grown for fibre in the Netherlands is too low and that an increase is needed in order to
allow crop farmers to fully exploit potential to meet demand from the motor industry? If so, is the
Commission willing to bring forward the evaluation of the measures laid down in Commission Regulation
(EC) No 245/2001 (2)?