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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/59

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(20 November 2002)

1. The Commission has seen the newspaper report referred to by the Honourable Member. The
Commission has, however, not received any complaint from the animal protection societies mentioned or
any other person or body concerning this incident. The published report neglects to provide details such as
the date of the incident, the identity of the transporter or the place where the pigs were discovered to be
dead and is itself, therefore, not an adequate basis for further action by the Commission.

2. and 3. Member States are responsible for the day-to-day enforcement of Community legislation
governing the protection of transported animals. Inadequate enforcement by Member States can lead to
incidents of the type to which the Honourable Member has referred.

4. The Commission always investigates well founded complaints in relation to Community animal
welfare legislation and normally intervenes with the Member State(s) concerned, notably seeking assurances
that adequate action will be taken against those transporters who are in default of their obligations and to
prevent reoccurrence of similar incidents.

The Commission is prepared to initiate infringement proceedings under Article 226 of the EC Treaty in
appropriate cases of non-compliance by Member States with their Community law obligations in this
domain. It has indeed already done so on several occasions.

However, systematic resort to infringement proceeding is not necessarily the best way forward owing to
the lengthy delays involved and because evidence of individual failures is not always conclusive of the
general situation in a Member State. Consequently an infringement procedure based on an isolated incident
or incidents may be difficult to prove as a generalised failure of a Member State, particularly where a
Member State claims to have taken action to remedy the situation.

It should be mentioned that the Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office organises periodic inspection
missions with regard to Community animal welfare legislation and notably the implementation of the
transport rules in Member States. Where these missions find deficiencies these are made the subject of
recommendations to the Member States concerned and compliance is subsequently monitored.

In conclusion it must also be recognised that in practice Council Directive 91/628/EEC of 19 November
1991 relating to the protection of animals during transport (1) as amended by Directive 95/29/EC of
29 June 1995 (2) has given rise to serious problems of interpretation, which have resulted in enforcement
difficulties. In consequence, the Commission intends to submit a proposal for revised legislation on this
subject as soon as possible and with a view to avoid the enforcement difficulties which have been
experienced with the present Directive.

(1) OJ L 340, 11.12.1991.

(2) OJ L 148, 30.6.1995.

(2003/C 155 E/066) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2887/02

by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(14 October 2002)

Subject: Fuel and pollution

Atmospheric pollution is causing increasing damage to major cities and putting the health of the public at
serious risk. The problem is caused to large extent by toxic emissions from motor vehicles which, in the
vast majority of cases, run on petrol; and yet there are fuels on the market such as methane, which causes
no pollution whatsoever, or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) which pollutes very little and the use of which
would reduce the risks of atmospheric pollution.
C 155 E/60 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.2003

In 26 European countries there are 7 154 LPG filling stations, with 1 813 Italy, 1 699 in the Netherlands,
1033 in France, 634 in Belgium, 465 in Denmark and 260 in Ireland.

I do not have corresponding figures for methane but I believe that at the moment its distribution is
significantly less.

The Commission:

1. Does it not consider that greater use of these fuels would halt the environmental degradation in large
cities caused by constantly increasing traffic?

2. Can it explain the low use of these products when they have the advantage of costing much less than

2. Will it bring forward measures to encourage car manufacturers and consumers to use alternative fuels?

4. Does it believe that every effort must be made to achieve environmental standards that are compatible
with sustainable development?

5. Would an increase in the use of these fuels reduce the vast spending on oil imports, thereby boosting
our energy independence?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(10 December 2002)

As the Honourable Member has pointed out there are two main issues linked to the use of alternative fuels
 environmental concerns and security of energy supply.

Emissions of noxious air pollutants are regulated in the Community by legislation that in principle is
technical neutral and performance based. The so called Euro III limits came into force in the year 2000
and a further tightening will take place in the year 2005 (Euro IV). In addition, for heavy duty vehicles, a
further tightening of the limit values for nitrogen oxides (Euro V) will enter into force in 2008. Those limit
values are so stringent that also vehicles using alternative fuels will have to take specific measures to meet
them. It is therefore doubtful if vehicles using liquid petrol gas or natural gas offer any advantages from an
air pollution point of view compared with vehicles using conventional fuels. A slight advantage can be
seen on emissions of particulates if compared with diesel vehicles but on a very low level of emissions.

In the long term an increased share of fuels based on renewable energy also in the transport sector will be
necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this respect neither natural gas (NG) nor liquid petroleum
gas (LPG) represent a solution. In the intermediate term, the use of NG and LPG might offer some
advantages with respect to greenhouse gases compared with petrol fuelled vehicles but not compared with
diesel fuelled vehicles and only providing that there is no significant emission of methane in the
distribution chain of natural gas.

From the energy supply point of view, one of the main lessons of the debate on the Commission’s Green
Paper on the security of energy supply is the need to increase the diversity in energy sources and sources
of supply (1). Currently, the transport sector is almost 100 % dependent on oil. Increasing fuel diversity in
the transport sector is essential in the interests of enhancing security of energy supply.

The Commission therefore shares the opinion that the use of alternative fuels should increase in the
transport sector. Consequently, it presented a year ago a Communication on this issue together with two
3.7.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/61

proposals for Directives on the introduction of bio-fuels and on tax reduction to support the introduction
of such fuels. Furthermore, it is working with the stakeholders concerned to find appropriate
implementation strategies, long term as well as intermediate term, to increase the use of alternative fuels
with the aim to reach a share of 20 % by the year 2020.

(1) Final report on the Green Paper ‘Towards a European strategy for the security of energy supply’ COM(2002) 321

(2003/C 155 E/067) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2893/02

by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(14 October 2002)

Subject: Contract awarded to an external company which is having the EU website rebuilt by a
Commission official

1. Is the Commission aware of the report in the Dutch newspaper ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ (AD) of
1 October 2002 that a Commission spokesman who has taken a year’s leave of absence from his post has
been working for the Belgian media agency G-Plus, where other present or former Commission staff are
also employed?

2. Can the Commission confirm that in June 2002 G-Plus was awarded part of the contract to rebuild
the EU website for EUR 23 million?

3. Does the Commission agree with the head of information, Mr Jonathan Faull, who is quoted as
saying that in his opinion there was nothing wrong with the award of this contract because everything had
been done in accordance with the rules and that it would even have been unlawful to award the contract
to a different company on the grounds that members of his staff were employed at G-Plus? What would
the relevant rules be?

4. Can the Commission confirm the statement in the AD that the President of the Commission
personally intervened at the end of September to suspend the contract? On what grounds was it decided at
this point to depart from the approach originally adopted in June?

5. Does the Commission agree that the facts quoted in the newspaper article give the impression of an
unacceptable conflict of interests? How was it possible for this situation to arise?

6. What measures will the Commission take to terminate this contract definitively? What will it do to
prevent any recurrence?

7. Will the Commission propose a compulsory registration system to make such an unacceptable
conflict of interests impossible, along the lines of that provided for by the General Civil Service Regulations
(ARAR) in the Netherlands?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(25 November 2002)

The Commission is aware of the report in ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ referred to by the Honourable Member.

On 17 June 2002 the Commission signed a framework contract, for a maximum of five years, for the
provision of various services relating to the maintenance, management and promotion of Europa, the
website of the European Institutions. The contract was awarded to the company ASCII that, as part of the
framework contract, signed nine separate agreements totalling EUR 4 450 000 per annum. One of the
agreements concerned the drafting and updating of documents and some of the tasks to be undertaken
were subcontracted by ASCII to G-Plus for an annual fee of EUR 165 000. This represented slightly less
than 3,6 % of the total annual amount that will be received by ASCII.