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C 137 E/90 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

Reply

(18 February 2003)

The Honourable Member of the European Parliament is pointing at one of the most tragic aspects of the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is the suffering of the civil population. Although both sides have to
respect their obligations both to refrain from targeting civilians and to avoid actions which put them in
harm’s way, Israeli and Palestinian men, women and children continue to pay a high price. The Council
has, therefore, in its statements time and again unreservedly condemned violence and terrorism in the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Council has regularly raised the issue of civilian casualties in its contacts with Israel.

(2003/C 137 E/102) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2552/02


by Astrid Thors (ELDR) to the Commission

(12 September 2002)

Subject: Inadequate storage of pesticides

It has been calculated that in Russia there are currently 24 000 tonnes of obsolete pesticides which are not
correctly stored; these include POP compounds (persistent organic pollutants). The impact of these
environmentally damaging toxic substances extends throughout the Arctic, with the result that, for
example, indigenous peoples in the region are exposed to risks because they eat large quantities of fish and
sealmeat in which toxins have accumulated. Polar bears have even been found at the North Pole which had
both male and female sex organs. At the dump at Krasbyj Bor waste disposal facility outside St Petersburg,
tonnes of obsolete pesticides are likewise inadequately stored.

Has the Commission held discussions with the Russian authorities concerning the inadequate storage of
these toxins or will the Commission raise the subject, for example, in the context of the EU’s partnership
and cooperation agreement with Russia? What will the Commission do to ensure that the Stockholm
Convention on POPs is complied with and that it is ratified and enters into force as soon as possible?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(25 October 2002)

The Russian Federation signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) on
22 May 2002. While the Commission welcomes this step it has not received information from Russia
about its plans to ratify and implement the Convention.

The Commission proposals for a Council decision on ratification of the Convention by the Community
and on the necessary implementation legislation are both under preparation and are likely to be adopted
during the 1st quarter of 2003. The aim is that the Community becomes a Party before the first
Conference of the Parties, which may be held in mid-2004.

The Commission will raise the subject of Russian ratification and implementation of the Convention both
in forthcoming multilateral meetings and in bilateral meetings under the Partnership and Cooperation
Agreement. It will also study possible funding for related projects in the light of progress.