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C 110 E/218 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.


Although a Court judgment in a case referred for a preliminary ruling in principle only directly applies to
disputes referred to national courts, the interpretation given of a provision in Community law clarifies the
meaning and scope of this rule as it should be or should have been understood and applied from the
moment of its entry into force. The result is that judgments in preliminary rulings therefore have, de facto,
an erga omnes effect which should be applied to similar, comparable or analogous situations or legal
relationships. Therefore, the concept of working time should henceforth be interpreted in compliance with
this judgment of the Court.

In this context, the Member States should be reminded of their responsibility to bring into force the laws,
regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the directives. It is also their
responsibility to monitor adequately the application of national provisions transposing the directives.

The Commission has decided to publish an invitation to tender for a study of the scope and consequences
of the SIMAP case for the Member States. Once the results and conclusion of this study are available, the
Commission will decide on measures for proposal. The Commission also intends to consider this matter in
a communication scheduled for the end of 2003 concerning Directive 93/104/EC. This communication
will be adopted pursuant to Articles 18(1) and 17(4) of the directive.

(1) Council Directive 93/104/EC of 23 November 1993 concerning certain aspects of the organization of working
time, OJ L 307, 13.12.1993.

(2003/C 110 E/243) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3523/02

by Konstantinos Hatzidakis (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(3 December 2002)

Subject: ‘Hidden’ deficit in Greece in 2001

According to the annual report of the State Audit Department of the Hellenic Republic for the financial
year 2001, Greece appears to have an additional deficit in the order of Drs 1,5 trillion, which was never
entered in the budget and represents almost 3,9 % of GDP for 2001. If added to the 1,2 % acknowledged
by the government, this deficit exceeds 5,2 %.

What impact do these revelations have on Greece’s financial indicators? How do they affect Greece’s
obligations under the Stability Pact? What are the precise figures for the deficits and government debt in
Greece following the latest interventions by Eurostat in collaboration with the Greek Government?

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(19 December 2002)

The Commission (Eurostat) is aware of the existence of the annual report of the Court of Auditors of the
Greek Republic for the financial year 2001, but has not examined its content.

However, it is likely that the Court of Auditors has focused its attention on the main aggregates of the
public sector from the point of view of the public accounts. This should not be relevant in the content of
the Stability Pact, which is based on the calculation of the main aggregates following the concepts and
criteria of national accounts (ESA 95).

Courts of Auditors of Member States usually scrutinise state accounts and check whether the accounting of
state operations adheres to the public accounting rules which are specific for each country. The aggregates
that are relevant at Community level in the context of the Excessive Deficit Procedure and the Stability and
Growth Pact in contrast follow the operation system of national and regional accounts in all countries.
8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/219

Following the results of an audit mission of Eurostat in Greece which took place in 16 and 17 October
2002, and a new notification submitted by the Greek authorities, the Commission has published revised
figures for the deficit and debt in Greece in 2000 and 2001 in a press release issued on 13 November
2002. According to this, Greek government deficit stood at 1,2 % of gross domestic product (GDP) in
2001, while debt reached in 2001 107,0 % of GDP.

(2003/C 110 E/244) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3535/02

by Patricia McKenna (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(4 December 2002)

Subject: Disposal of BSE-infected carcasses

Can the Commission provide an answer as to whether waste reduction of animal tissue and safe treatment
of special risk material using the combined technology of alkaline hydrolysis and anaerobic digestion is
endorsed as a proven technology, as is the case in the United States of America and elsewhere, given that
the destruction of the BSE prion cannot be guaranteed by incineration but is possible to guarantee by
alkaline hydrolysis?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(9 January 2003)

Specified risk material must be disposed of in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1774/2002 of the
Parliament and of the Council of 3 October 2002 on health rules concerning animal by-products not
intended for human consumption (1). The approved disposal methods include direct incineration as well as
incineration or co-incineration following one of the processing methods described in Annex V of that
Regulation. The combined technology of alkaline hydrolysis and anaerobic digestion is not included in this
list of approved processing methods.

The current approved methods of safe disposal of specified risk material are in line with the current
Community’s Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) recommendations. According to these recommendations,
incineration is ranked high among the safe ways of destroying the bovine spongiform encephalopathy
(BSE) agent.

Regulation 1774/2002 allows for approving of alternative disposal methods after consultation of the
appropriate scientific committee and under a legislative procedure involving the Standing Committee on
the Food Chain and Animal Health.

With regard to the treatment of animal waste by alkaline hydrolysis as a safe step in the disposal of
materials carrying a TSE risk, the SSC adopted an opinion at its meeting in May 2002, which was revised
at its meeting of 7 and 8 November 2002, taking into account other data submitted by the industry.

In this opinion the SSC in particular states that:

 further studies are needed before any final assurance could be given regarding the safety of the process
with respect to the TSE risks;

 by-products of the process could carry a risk of BSE/TSE infectivity and this risk may decrease with
the duration of the processing; further data would be needed in order to make a definitive statement.

The SSC considers that for the time being the direct discharge of the liquid residues of the alkaline
hydrolysis process to the sewer without further treatment is not appropriate. The combination with
anaerobic digestion is not considered as safe if the presence of residual TSE infectivity cannot be excluded,
because the TSE clearance level by anaerobic digestion process is unknown (opinion of the SSC of
24-25 June 1999).