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C 137 E/180 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.


Finally, what information does the Commission have regarding the potential dangers of mobile telephone
masts located in residential areas?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(19 December 2002)

Regarding the potential existence of any European regulation governing the erection of mobile telephone
masts, the positioning of mobile telephone masts is a matter falling under the responsibility for local,
regional and State authorities.

Union legislation governing radio products, including mobile telephone masts (1), obliges manufacturers to
ensure that the products are safe when used for their intended purpose but national or local authorities
may impose additional restrictions on the use of radio products, for instance, by prescribing minimum
distances from the public, so as to ensure that telephone masts are appropriately installed.

Regarding the potential dangers of mobile telephone masts, the Community has further provided guidance
on the safety levels to be respected by establishing a set of maximum exposure limits (2). The Scientific
Committee on Toxicology-Ecotoxicology and the Environment confirmed on 30 November 2001 that:
‘the additional information which has become available on carcinogenic and other non-thermal effects of
radio frequency and microwave radiation frequencies in the last years does not justify a revision of
exposure limits set by the Commission’.

The European Commission will continue to monitor the scientific evidence on this issue.

(1) Directive 1999/5/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 1999 on radio equipment and
telecommunications terminal equipment and the mutual recognition of their conformity, OJ L 91, 7.4.1999.
(2) Council Recommendation 1999/519/EEC.

(2003/C 137 E/204) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3248/02

by Antonio Di Pietro (ELDR) to the Commission

(19 November 2002)

Subject: Emergency triggered by volcanic activity on Etna

For some weeks now, Mount Etna, the highest volcano in Europe, has been erupting with a violence not
seen for years.

The inhabitants of the towns and villages close to the volcano have therefore had to reconcile themselves
to living in a state of continuous alarm. The magma flows that well up, often unexpectedly, out of the
slopes of the mountain, have even licked population centres such as the town of Linguaglossa, and have
already razed 400 hectares of Sicily’s most important pine forest and the ski resort of Piano Provenanza,
which is internationally renowned as a site for alpine and cross-country skiing.

This emergency is having significant repercussions on the economy of the area, in that it is impacting on
key industries such as agriculture and tourism and exacerbating an already precarious situation.

In the light of the above, and considering that 2002 is the International Year of the Mountain, can and will
the Commission adopt emergency measures to help alleviate the damage to the economy and also to the
environment thus inflicted on the populations of Catania and neighbouring villages?
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/181

Answer given by Mr Barnier on behalf of the Commission

(11 December 2002)

The Commission can inform the Honourable Member that on 11 November the Council approved
Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund (1), the purpose of which
is to enable essential emergency operations to be carried out when a major disaster occurs. If the Italian
authorities submit an application on the terms of the Regulation the Commission will examine it with a
view to channelling aid as quickly as possible to the region in question.

The Commission also reminds the Honourable Member that in the case of zones and regions eligible for
Structural Fund assistance appropriations for the 2000-2006 programming period that have not yet been
committed to particular projects can at a Member State’s request be reassigned among the various
priorities of the regional programme in question.

(1) Council Regulation (EC) No 2012/2002 of 11 November 2002 establishing the European Union Solidarity Fund,
OJ L 311, 14.11.2002.

(2003/C 137 E/205) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3249/02

by Margrietus van den Berg (PSE) to the Commission
(19 November 2002)

Subject: Evaluation of the ‘ECHO Global Plan 2000  Angola’

The summary report on the evaluation of the ‘ECHO Global Plan 2000  Angola’ contains ten

1. How has the Commission responded to each of the points?

2. Has the Commission made any improvements?

3. If so, what?

4. If not, why have no improvements been made?

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(9 January 2003)

The independent evaluation confirmed the appropriateness of Humanitarian Aid office (ECHO)’s decision
to refocus its programme in Angola on its core emergency response mandate, withdrawing from providing
support to secondary health facilities: ‘The exit strategy has been highly relevant to clean ECHO’s portfolio
and concentrate itself on its core mandate’.

ECHO’s 2002 Global Plan drew on the evaluation, and ECHO’s continued focus on its core mandate
became particularly relevant as the true extent of the humanitarian crisis in Angola was revealed, after the
April 2002 cease fire. ECHO’s strategy for 2003 will continue along the same lines, focusing on life-saving
health, nutrition, emergency relief and logistics operations in the newly-accessible areas whilst aiming to
link interventions, as soon as the emergency stabilises, to the appropriate instruments to take over from
humanitarian assistance.

ECHO is in constant contact with its partners both at headquarters and field level, bilaterally and in the
framework of strategic programming dialogues. ECHO publishes on the internet its annual strategy,
the humanitarian strategy for individual countries, and executive summaries of Global Plans, decisions and

The table of the operational follow-up is sent direct to the Honourable Member and to the Parliament’s