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C 72 E/48 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 6.3.

2001

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(22 June 2000)

1. Member States have a regular programme for checking levels of radioactivity in the environment, in
application of a requirement laid down in Article 35 of the Euratom Treaty. Under Article 36 of the
Euratom Treaty the monitoring results are transmitted to the Commission. This includes information on
radioactivity in milk, other foodstuffs, surface water and drinking water.

In addition Member States carry out checks on levels of radioactivity in foodstuffs imported from third
countries affected by the Chernobyl accident (in application of Council Regulation EEC/737/90 of 22 March
1990 (1), recently extended to March 2010) (2).

The Commission’s Joint research centre (JRC) Environment Institute, Ispra, has been organising since 1991
annual international intercomparison exercises with the Member States’ laboratories providing data under
Article 36 of the Euratom Treaty. Amongst others, the exercises covered spring water, mineral water, milk
and mixed diet.

The Commission has no information on an observed correlation between levels of radioactivity in


foodstuffs and the incidence of cancer.

2. The current drinking water directive, Council Directive 80/778/EEC of 15 July 1980 relating to the
quality of water intended for human consumption (3) which covers bottled water that is not natural
mineral water (e.g. table water) does not include any specific provision on radioactivity. The new drinking
water directive, Council Directive 98/83/EC of 3 November 1998 on the quality of water intended for
human consumption (4), which should be implemented by 25 December 2003, does include provisions on
radioactivity. These provisions remain to be completed (Annexes II and III of the Directive) as foreseen at
the adoption of the Directive on 3 November 1998. It is worth noting that this Directive does not apply to
mineral waters.

3. The Commission is aware that the level of radium 226 in tap water and bottled water is affected by
the water treatment method, e.g. the removal of iron and manganese will also cause partial transfer of
radium to sludges.

Specific treatment in view of removing natural radionuclides from water was the subject of research
funded by the Commission under the IVth Framework Programme.

It is worth noting that such techniques are rarely applied to mineral waters for which it is considered
important to preserve the mineral content of the water.

4. The labelling of mineral waters normally includes natural radioactive elements (uranium, radium).

(1) OJ L 82, 29.3.1990.


(2) OJ L 75, 24.3.2000.
(3) OJ L 229, 30.8.1980.
(4) OJ L 330, 5.12.1998.

(2001/C 72 E/053) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1352/00


by Salvador Garriga Polledo (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(4 May 2000)

Subject: Spanish olive oil and the EU

The current stagnation of Spanish olive oil exports means that the industry’s producers have been holding
a whole series of meetings to assess the situation and find new ways of boosting foreign sales of olive oil
from the world’s largest producer.
6.3.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 72 E/49

The producers claim that massive investment  in a single brand, so as not to confuse consumers  is
required, in tandem with a new strategy that will prevent things from going from bad to worse, with
production increasing while exports remain static.

Given the Commission’s key role in the common agricultural policy, would it be prepared to commission
as detailed and precise a study as possible of the situation with a view to seeking appropriate solutions for
the Spanish olive oil industry at this difficult crossroads in its history?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(6 June 2000)

The Commission does not agree that olive oil exports are in ‘stagnation’. Compared with the same period
of the 1998/1999 marketing year Community exports have more than doubled: on 31 March 1999 they
stood at 35 648 tonnes but 80 812 tonnes were exported between 1 November 1999 and 31 March 2000.

The type of study requested by the Honourable Member (in this case analysis of the situation and a
strategy for the Spanish olive oil industry in the face of an unfavourable export market) is outside the
Commission’s competence. The primary purpose of such marketing studies is furtherance of private sector
interests and their execution therefore falls to that sector.

(2001/C 72 E/054) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1380/00


by Michl Ebner (PPE-DE) to the Council

(5 May 2000)

Subject: Signing and ratification of the CEDAW and the Optional Protocol

By December 1999 the additional protocol to the UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimina-
tion Against Women (CEDAW) had been signed by only 23 States, eleven of which are EU Member States.
Ireland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom have, however, so far failed to sign it. Does the Council
intend to prevail upon these States also to sign this additional protocol as soon as possible so that
ratification can go ahead?

Will the Council also take measures to ensure that all the candidate countries sign and ratify this
convention together with the additional protocol prior to accession?

Reply

(26 September 2000)

The Council has no power to put pressure on the Member States of the European Union to sign
instruments of the United Nations rapidly. It does note, however, that the fact that eleven Member States
have already ratified a very recent protocol demonstrates the commitment of the Member States of the
European Union in this field.

As regards the signing of instruments of the United Nations by applicant countries, inasmuch as these texts
are not part of the acquis communautaire, the European Union cannot make the accession of those
countries dependent on signing the CEDAW Convention and its additional Protocol.

Finally, the Council would remind the Honourable Member that the Treaty establishing the European
Community provides in its Article 13 (ex Article 6a) that the Council, within the limits of its powers and
after consulting the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based,
inter alia, on sex. This provision of the Treaty belongs by definition to the common nucleus of legislation
that each applicant country will be called upon to incorporate into its national law.