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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.

(1) http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/life-sciences/egls/index_en.html.

(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)?
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/161

3. Does the Commission see any possibility of relaxing the restrictions on guaranteed quantities as from
the 2003 crop year, for example by allowing quantities that have not been utilised by a Member State to
be utilised by another Member State where the guaranteed quantities have been exceeded?

(1) OJ L 193, 29.7.2000, p. 16.


(2) OJ L 35, 6.2.2001, p. 18.

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(6 December 2002)

1. The Commission is already aware that fibre flax and hemp can be used in the motor vehicle industry
and mentioned this in the explanatory memorandum accompanying the market organisation reform it
proposed for the sector in November 1999.

To encourage profitable disposal of crops for industrial use aid is granted for processing flax and hemp
straw to yield fibre that is sufficiently cleaned for such use.

These crops are also supported under the aid scheme for growers of certain arable crops.

2. The processing aid scheme for straw was introduced only in the 2001/2002 marketing year.
A Commission report due before the end of 2003 will cover production trends and the national
guaranteed quantities. Since in order to reconcile sound administration and the particular nature of the
markets in this sector the period during which flax straw can be processed is 22 months, at present the
Commission has only provisional production figures for 2001/2002 and first estimates for 2002/2003. It
is too early therefore to draw conclusions about national guaranteed quantity levels and a report drawn up
early would be at serious risk of irrelevance.

3. Transferring national guaranteed quantities between Member States would require amendment of
Council Regulation (EC) No 1673/2000 of 27 July 2000 on the common organisation of the markets in
flax and hemp grown for fibre (1).

(1) OJ L 193, 29.7.2000.

(2003/C 110 E/181) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3092/02

by Luciana Sbarbati (ELDR) to the Commission

(22 October 2002)

Subject: New rules for the marketing of olive oil

Whilst the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee is considering the amendments to the directive
on the protection of designations of origin for agri-foodstuffs, the new EU regulation on olive oil will
come into force on 1 November 2002.