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C 137 E/196 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

system; it has also been tested and presented for DG TREN (High-Level Group on Road Safety) (on
23 November 1999). The aim is, at all times, to alert other drivers to a dangerous situation more quickly.

1. Does the Commission have figures on the number of casualties (fatalities and injuries) resulting from
accidents in fog, vehicle pile-ups and rear-end collisions in the EU Member States and candidate countries?

2. Is the Commission planning to harmonise legislation on the use of fog lights in the EU Member
States?

3. What measures are planned by the Commission to adapt rear-light configurations for motor vehicles
in order to increase road safety?

4. Is the Commission considering making systems such as ARFF, which can increase safety for
motorised road users, mandatory?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(21 January 2003)

The Commission has a road accident database (CARE) which contains data supplied by the Member States,
and includes fields relating to weather conditions, and accident type. However, in order to determine the
number of casualties relating to fog, pile-ups and rear-end collision, as requested, a specific analysis of the
database will be required. Such an analysis will be conducted, and the results will be sent directly to the
Honourable Member once it is available.

However, the detailed information relating to weather conditions and accident type is not available for all
Member States. Moreover, until now, no data from candidate countries is available in the CARE data base.

As regards the harmonisation of the legislation concerning the use of fog lamps in the Community,
the Commission has no plans to bring forward any proposals, as this is an area that is currently subject to
subsidiarity, and hence remains within the competence of the Member States.

An expert working group of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, in which the
Commission is represented, is currently discussing proposals to amend the requirements for stop lamps to
indicate ‘emergency’ braking. The Automatic Rear Fog Flashlight (ARFF) is one of a number of ideas that
were put forward to this group a number of years ago. However, at that time there was very little support
for such systems. Recently, though, attitudes have changed and such systems are now being considered in
some detail. In their discussions, the group is considering issues such as the appearance of the signal
(e.g. increased intensity or area of illumination, flashing, colour, etc.), the circumstances under which the
device should operate (e.g. level of deceleration), and the effect that they may have within a mixed vehicle
fleet, especially on non-equipped vehicles. The Commission is following these discussions with interest and
will re-consider its position on this matter once the expert group has concluded their discussions.

(2003/C 137 E/221) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3374/02


by Jonas Sjöstedt (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(27 November 2002)

Subject: Marta Andreasen’s criticism of the accounting systems

Can the Commission state the reasons why Marta Andreasen has not been allowed to make public
statements concerning the Commission’s allegedly faulty accounting systems if the Commission now
considers, as it repeatedly states, that none of the points raised by Marta Andreasen reveals anything more
than what is already known?
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/197

Answer given by Mr Kinnock on behalf of the Commission

(17 December 2002)

The Staff Regulations of the European civil service clearly require officials to exercise the greatest discretion
with regard to facts and information coming to their knowledge in the course of, or in connection with,
the performance of their duties. Such a requirement is common to public services in democracies.

According to established case law, this obligation is intended primarily to preserve the relationship of trust
which must exist between the European institutions and their officials or other employees.

Mrs Andreasen was properly reminded of her statutory obligations as an official and requested to seek the
prior agreement of her hierarchy before making public statements.

Mrs Adreasen has only once ever requested prior agreement before making public statements and that very
recently on 2 December 2002.

(2003/C 137 E/222) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3382/02


by Samuli Pohjamo (ELDR)
and Mikko Pesälä (ELDR) to the Commission

(28 November 2002)

Subject: Promotion of timber building in the European Union

Together with other forested EU Member States, Finland has taken initiatives in various contexts seeking to
create a common programme to promote building with wood. The role of timber building and the
opportunities it represents will be enhanced still further on the EU’s eastward enlargement.

However, there is a risk that the prices of sawmill products will be forced down if even more producers of
timber goods appear on the single market. Particular attention should be paid to price stability on the
market, so that producers of machine-processed timber products in the new Member States do not find
themselves in difficulties.

At the same time, there is a need to boost demand by means of special timber building programmes.
Timber building is an environmentally friendly alternative in many respects, provided the timber
production chain operates in a sustainable manner.

What measures does the Commission propose to take to promote timber building in the European Union
and how will it guarantee market price stability when the EU is enlarged?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(30 January 2003)

The Commission agrees with the Honourable Members that eastward expansion of the Union offers
significant challenges for the forestry, wood and furniture sectors. The presence of substantial forest
resources offers a quality raw material in relative abundance to the forest-based and furniture industries.
However, in order to mobilise these timber resources economically in keeping with the environmental,
social and cultural functions which the forests have to fulfil, will require significant investment in plant,
governance and infrastructures. On the consumption side, the extent to which the domestic markets of the
new Member States will absorb increased output will depend on the growth of their economies and on the
choices of consumers.

The Commission would agree also that the use of timber in buildings can represent a sustainable use of
resources. Timber is, moreover, one of those materials which is likely to be used more and more in the
building trade, both as a basic material and in components for assembly.