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C 364 E/66 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 20.12.

2001

(2001/C 364 E/072) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1234/01


by Carlos Carnero González (PSE) to the Council

(11 April 2001)

Subject: Arms sales by Spain to Equatorial Guinea and EU Code of Conduct

A report by the Unesco study centre at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, just published, states that
Spain sold substantial numbers of weapons to Equatorial Guinea in 2000. According to this report,
commissioned by Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Intermón Oxfam and Médecins Sans Frontières
(all of which NGOs are participating in the campaign ‘Adiós a las armas’ [‘A Farewell to Arms’]), 11 500
missiles were supplied to the value of approximately ESP 182 million.

Equatorial Guinea, as is stressed in the report submitted by Mr Gustavo Gallón Giraldo to the UN
Commission on Human Rights and as is confirmed in the complaints made by numerous independent
bodies, is under the yoke of a regime which systematically violates human rights and consciously denies
democratic principles. It has not, to date, signed either the Convention against Torture or the Statute of the
International Criminal Court.

The author of this question was able to observe in person just over a month ago, in the course of a visit to
Malabo and Bata, the failure of the regime of President Teodoro Obiang to respect human rights and
democratic principles, despite his repeated promises to the contrary to several international partners,
including the EU in the person of Commission President Romano Prodi, whom he met in September 2000.

In the face of these complaints, is the Council considering asking the Spanish government to supply
a detailed explanation on the matter? Does the Council not agree with the author of this question that
these sales of missiles are contrary to the principles of the EU’s Code of Conduct on arms exports to
countries such as Equatorial Guinea which fail to respect human rights? Does the Council intend to ask the
Madrid authorities to cease this trade, in compliance with the Code of Conduct, until such time as
Equatorial Guinea becomes a genuine democracy?

Reply

(27 September 2001)

The European Union’s position on arms exports is reflected in the Code of Conduct on Arms Exports
adopted on 8 June 1998. The particular case raised by the Honourable Member has not been raised in the
Council but decisions on whether to grant an export licence are taken by each Member State individually
taking full account of the Code of Conduct and the criteria set out in it. The Code of Conduct does not
provide for Member States to give any information to the Council about the grounds on which export
licences are granted nor does it lie in the Council’s purview to pass judgement on any particular
transaction. However, Member States are required every year to inform the Council about their arms
exports; on this basis an annual report is produced which allows for a common assessment of the
functioning of the Code.

(2001/C 364 E/073) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1247/01


by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Council

(27 April 2001)

Subject: Distortion of competition in the Belgian Federation by failure to comply with Directive 91/321/EC

In the Belgian Federation, Directive 91/321/EEC (1) of 14 May 1991 was transposed by the Royal Decree of
27 December 1993 on advertising for baby formula foods and the distribution of free samples. The
directive partially puts into practice the international code of conduct on the marketing of substitutes for
mother’s milk, drawn up by the World Health Organisation and Unicef and adopted by the General
Assembly of the WHO in 1981. In reply to a question of interpretation by Senator Sabine de Bethune,
20.12.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 364 E/67

Mrs Magda Aelvoet, Federal Minister of Consumer Affairs, Public Health and the Living Environment stated
on Thursday 22 March that the promotion campaigns by the manufacturers of baby formula foods are in
conflict with the Decree. The distribution of free samples  and thus advertising for baby formulae  still
seems to be a very common practice in Belgian maternity wards. This approach is not only unlawful, it is
also in conflict with the EU Treaty (regarding distortion of competition), as well as going directly against
the central aim of the WHO code, which is to promote breast feeding in the interest of public health.

Does the Council acknowledge that this approach by the producers of and traders in baby formulae
conflicts with the EC Treaty and leads to a distortion of competition between the various maternity
hospitals, manufacturers and traders? If so, what measures does the Council propose to take to deal with
this distortion of competition? If not, what are the Council’s arguments for regarding the free distribution
of baby formulae by manufacturers and traders in maternity hospitals as compatible with the EC Treaty in
spite of the distortion of competition which it creates between the various maternity hospitals,
manufacturers and traders?

(1) OJ L 175, 4.7.1991, p. 35.

Reply

(27 September 2001)

It is the role of the Commission, and not the Council, to monitor the implementation of Community
legislation and to take appropriate action where such legislation may have been incorrectly or
incompletely transposed into national legislation.

The Council can therefore take no position on the question raised, since it is a matter which falls under the
competence of the Commission.

(2001/C 364 E/074) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1248/01


by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission

(26 April 2001)

Subject: Adulteration of food products

A few months ago I received a publication from the Commission entitled ‘Letter from the JRC’, which
contained an extensive list of research activities carried out by the Commission in order to combat fraud,
particularly in connection with the adulteration of wine.

Could the Commission say whether or not it is promoting any research activities into the detection of
deodorised hazelnut oil used in the adulteration of olive oil?

Could it also say whether or not the Community’s research programme includes methods for detecting
adulteration and other types of fraud involving skimmed milk, casein subsidies, butter and other dairy
products?

Answer given by Mr Busquin on behalf of the Commission

(1 August 2001)

In addition to the activities of the European Office for Wine, Alcohol and Spirit drinks which addresses
questions regarding the authenticity of wine and alcoholic beverages, the Commission through its Joint
Research Centre (JRC) has been investigating various analytical methods for their suitability for
quantification of foreign oils in olive oil since a few years. Preliminary work has been carried out with
sophisticated methods, such as stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry or nuclear magnetic resonance.