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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/9

(2003/C 137 E/009) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1475/02

by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission
(27 May 2002)

Subject: Chromium pollution in Albania

An article has appeared in an Italian weekly drawing attention to the serious environmental and health
problems existing in Albania thanks to the existence of the chromium mining industry. Along the
Albanian coast, where Italian fishermen ply their trade, 345 mg of chromium have been found in every
litre of water. The risk exists that Albanian chromium will appear on Italian beaches in quantities of up to
a hundred times the legally permitted limit. The Tirana Oncological Institute has stated that ‘there has been
a considerable and inexplicable increase in numbers of tumours throughout Albania’. It is clear that the
main cause of this is chromium, of which Albania is the third-largest world producer, with mining activity
concentrated in the Dibra and Mat areas.

The Commission:
1. Is it aware of this situation in Albania?
2. Is it in possession of the data established by the Tirana Oncological Institute?
3. Can it state whether economic cooperation relations exist with Albania under which funds may be
used to tackle the serious pollution problems existing in that country?
4. Does it not consider that, should that not be the case, contacts must be established with the Albanian
government with a view to determining the situation and finding a solution which would not involve
closing down production but would, through regional planning measures, ensure the protection of the
environment, given that pollution is the root cause of the serious health crisis which is being created
and is liable to affect the Italian coastal areas?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(27 June 2002)

The Commission is aware that Albania needs to adequately address a number of critical environmental
issues. The current situation is the result of the lack of any compulsory environmental standard in the
country before the mid-nineties. Some efforts have been recently made to tackle environmental concerns
and to avoid further deterioration, but much remains to be done to ensure proper implementation and
enforcement by Albania of its own incipient environmental legislation. In such a context, the risk of
pollution deriving from chromium mining activities certainly exists.

The Commission shares the concerns expressed by the Honourable Member and will therefore request
detailed information to the Albanian authorities in this respect, including the report produced by the
Tirana Oncological Institute.

The Commission would like to take this opportunity to stress that the field of environment is one of the
priority areas identified in the framework of the CARDS programme, the main co-operation instrument
between Albania and the Community. For the period 2002-2004, EUR 11 million have been earmarked
address environment-related issues.

(2003/C 137 E/010) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1484/02

by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission
(29 May 2002)

Subject: Trafficking of drugs

Would the Commission agree that the trafficking of drugs, principally cocaine, from South America
through the Caribbean is probably the single greatest threat to the stability, democracy and economic and
social development of all the countries and territories in the Caribbean region?