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12.6.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/175

Since the questions refer to ongoing criminal court cases, the issue should be considered carefully with due
regard for the right of defence of the companies and persons involved and the presumption of innocence.

The Honourable Member refers to a promise which the Commission should have made to finance the
costs of the Lesotho court case. For this, the Honourable Member bases himself on an article published in
a South African newspaper.

The Commission can not confirm that any such promise was ever made.

In addition, the present case is pending before a criminal court handled by the Public prosecutor. It would
seem to be falling outside the EDF’s mandate to finance a particular criminal law suit against particular
individual companies.

With regard to the specific company to which the Honourable Member refers, the Commission should
further point out that the contracts awarded to this company were not financed by the EDF, but by other
donors.

In the first part of 2000, the Commission engaged independent auditors to examine whether EDF funds
had been misused. They were asked to analyse whether the awarding of the contracts, riders, variation,
orders, etc had been executed properly, or might have been biased to favour certain contractors.

The general conclusion from this audit was that it was not possible to demonstrate that there had been a
direct misuse of EDF funds. The audit revealed that even if there had been any misuse, for the EDF such a
misuse was not likely to be large; since the EDF funding was topped at a fixed amount, the principal victim
of any misuse seemed to be the Government of Lesotho, who had to finance any expenditure not covered
by the donors.

The European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF), is fully informed about this case.

The general conditions for contracts financed by the European Development Fund entitle the contracting
authority to terminate the ongoing contract in which corruption is detected and to recover any contractual
loss it has suffered. Since within the framework of the European Development Fund, the Commission is
only acting as donor, such a decision formally belongs to the contracting authority of the Beneficiary State.

Moreover, the procurement rules foreseen in the different external aid instruments of the Union, impose
that natural or legal persons which have been convicted for corruption by a final judgement, are excluded
from future invitations to tender or from future contracts.

For the contracts concluded for the Commission’s own benefit, similar rules are laid down in the
Procurement directives.

The Union procurement rules for external aid provide that before a contract can be concluded, a tenderer
must submit satisfactory evidence that he is not in a situation of ineligibility. Therefore, if a natural or legal
person is convicted for corruptive practices by a final judgement, the tenderer will not be able to produce
such a certificate and will automatically be excluded from participation in Community financed contracts.

(2003/C 137 E/199) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3215/02


by Patricia McKenna (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(6 November 2002)

Subject: Indiscriminate use of poisonous spray (malathion) in the citrus-growing areas of the Valencia
Region

Since July 2002 the citrus-growing districts of the Valencia Region, which in practice cover all the land at
an altitude of less than 300 metres (La Ribera Alta, La Ribera Baja, La Foia de Buñol, La Costera, La Safor,
La Canal, L’Horta, El Camp de Morvedre, La Marína, La Plana, etc.) and are precisely where most of the
population live, are being sprayed from the air with malathion. The fields are sprayed quite
indiscriminately, without regard for other crops growing between them, such as vegetables and rice,
C 137 E/176 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

which do not harbour fruit flies, or for citrus trees that are too young to be attacked by flies, to say
nothing of people who might be around when the crop-spraying planes pass. Malathion is an
organophosphate poison, which can cause dermatitis and reproductive disorders in humans.

The crop-spraying is even carried out in inhabited areas  since a large number of dwellings are scattered
over the fields  especially in summer, when more people live there. This means that they are exposed
directly to the spray when they are in the open air, as well as indirectly, when they breathe in the poison
near where it falls or when they swim in pools.

Farmers working in the fields are also exposed to the poison when the crop-sprayers fly over.

Furthermore, in the agricultural areas planes fly past the surrounding habitations, spraying them too, and
when the wind blows towards the town it carries with it part of the toxic ‘rain’, and the whole population
breathes it in.

Vegetables are often grown between the citrus groves and they too are sprayed with poison. This produce
is harvested and sold on an almost daily basis and therefore reaches the consumer with poisonous residues
without any safety period having elapsed.

The poison also falls on all the creatures living in the fields, including useful and legally protected ones,
causing them further damage and making their survival increasingly difficult.

Does the Commission have evidence concerning the above?

What steps will it take to safeguard the health of the population and the environment in the Valencia
Region?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission


(3 December 2002)

The Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to the response given to written question
E-3552/00 by Mr Papayannakis (1) explaining the legal provisions concerning the placing on the market of
plant protection products.

Malathion is an active substance which was on the market before Council Directive 91/414/EEC of
15 July 1991 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market (2) entered into force. It is
currently being evaluated under Commission Regulation (EC) No 451/2000 of 28 February 2000 laying
down the detailed rules for the implementation of the second and third stages of the review programme of
existing active substances, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 91/414/EEC (3).

Finland is the Rapporteur Member State for malathion and received a dossier within the foreseen deadline
(30 April 2002). The assessment by Finland will be evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority.
The Commission has committed to finalise decision making on possible inclusion of the active substances
of the 2nd stage before the end of 2005.

Until the examination is finalised Member States can continue to authorise plant protection products
containing malathion on the basis of the general safety requirements of Article 4 of the Directive and
national data requirements. This covers also the authorisation for its aerial application.

The Commission is aware of the problems that spray-drift from aerial spraying of pesticides may cause.
The Commission is currently developing a thematic strategy on the sustainable use of plant protection
products which covers also aerial spraying. The elaboration of this strategy includes a consultation process
launched by a Communication (4) adopted on 1 July 2002. In the Communication, the Commission
expressed its intention to propose a general ban on aerial spraying, with specific derogation to be
authorised by Member States if aerial spraying presents clear advantages and also environmental benefits
compared to other spraying methods. The adoption of the Commission proposal for the thematic strategy
itself is foreseen for early 2004.

(1) OJ C 174 E, 19.6.2001.


(2) OJ L 230, 19.8.1991.
(3) OJ L 55, 29.2.2000.
(4) COM(2002) 349 final.