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C 364 E/234

Official Journal of the European Communities

EN
EN

20.12.2001

In recent years, the Community has adopted a number of amendments to these type approval directives concerning LPG fuelled vehicles. Following the accession to United Nations economic commission for Europe (UN-ECE) regulation 67 regarding specific provisions for LPG fuel tanks and the adoption of an amendment to Council Directive 70/220/EEC of 20 March 1970 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to measures to be taken against air pollution by gases from positive-ignition engines of motor vehicles ( 1 ) to provide specific dates of application of on-board diagnostic systems for LPG fuelled vehicles, it will now be possible to receive a European type approval for an LPG fuelled vehicle. In this way, these vehicles can now benefit fully from the internal market.

The conversion of vehicles already placed on the Community market falls within the competence of the Member States. Several Member States have taken regulatory or fiscal measures in order to encourage such conversions depending on the specific situation prevailing within their territory.

Additionally, a draft regulation has been prepared at UN-ECE level in order to harmonise specific requirements for LPG retrofit systems. The adoption of this regulation is currently being considered by the Union institutions.

( 1 )

OJ L 76, 6.4.1970.

(2001/C 364 E/258)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2006/01

by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Commission

(6 July 2001)

Subject: Chemicals in fast food

Eric Schlosser’s diatribe of a book entitled Fast Food Nation reveals the alarming fact that the taste of the fare served up at fast-food outlets all over the world is produced by chemical flavourings which are damaging to health because they apparently lead to obesity, the risk of heart attacks, colon and stomach cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and sterility.

In the light of these worrying allegations:

1. Is the Commission aware of the problem?

2. Will it make provision for research with a view to establishing the truth of the claims?

3. If the information in its possession were to corroborate the accusations, what steps would it call for to protect the health of European citizens?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(5 September 2001)

The Commission is not aware of the publication referred to and is not in a position to comment on its content. However, the Commission would like to recall the legislation and actions taken to ensure safety of flavourings.

Community legislation on flavourings covers the use of flavourings in all foodstuffs, not only the use in a particular category of foods, and aims at a high level of consumer health protection.

Council Directive 88/388/EEC of 22 June 1988 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to flavourings for use in foodstuffs and to source materials for their production ( 1 ) prohibits the addition of certain substances as such to foodstuffs and sets maximum levels for these substances in foodstuffs to which flavourings and other food ingredients with flavouring properties have been added. These substances of toxicological concern are naturally present in source materials for flavourings, like herbs and spices, and cannot normally be avoided. The intake of such substances via flavourings is

20.12.2001

EN
EN

Official Journal of the European Communities

C 364 E/235

normally low in comparison to the intake via herbs and spices. The Commission is currently working on an amendment of Directive 88/388/EEC, including an update of the list of these substances of toxicological concern and their maximum levels in foodstuffs. For this reason, the Commission has requested the advice of the Scientific Committee on Food (SCF). The respective SCF opinions are expected by the end of 2001, after which the Commission intends to submit a proposal to the Parliament and the Council.

Regulation (EC) No 2232/96 of the Parliament and the Council of 28 October 1996 ( 2 ) lays down

a procedure for establishing a positive list of flavouring substances intended for use in or on foodstuffs2. The procedure includes a full scientific evaluation by the SCF of flavouring substances which are used in the Member States (Regulation (EC) No 1565/2000 ( 3 )). This evaluation began in July 2000. After the evaluation has been completed, the Commission will propose a list of flavouring substances the use of which will be authorized to the exclusion of all others in the Community. If, during this evaluation, it becomes apparent that a flavouring substance does not comply with the general use and safety criteria, it shall be deleted from the list of flavouring substances used in the Member States.

( 1 ) ( 2 ) ( 3 )

OJ L 184, 15.7.1988. OJ L 299, 23.11.1996. OJ L 180, 19.7.2000.

(2001/C 364 E/259)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2009/01

by Nelly Maes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(6 July 2001)

Subject: Checks on Belgian visas

Under the third pillar if the European Union (justice and home affairs) the improper issuing of Belgian visas merits particular attention, not least because a temporary residence permit for the Belgian Federation also gives access to all the Schengen countries. Such residence permits are worth their weight in gold to criminals and make the migration sector enormously vulnerable to corruption.

In answer to two Questions to the Council on this matter (E-0621/01 and E-0622/01 ( 1 )) I was informed by the Council on 30 May that ‘with the entry into force of the Treaty of Amsterdam, matters relating to immigration, visas and asylum fall within the Community’s sphere of competence under Title IV of the TEC. It is therefore for the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, to verify whether Member States fulfil their obligations in respect of those matters’.

In the past year, Belgium issued approximately 9 500 visa to Moroccan applicants; some 88 % of those visas (short- and long-term alike) were issued by the Department for Alien Affairs in Belgium despite an unfavourable opinion from the consular services in Morocco. That unfavourable opinion, on the grounds of failure to comply with the criteria, was thus systematically ignored.

Some of the applicants say openly that it forms no part of their intention to travel to Belgium but to some other Schengen country, where the issue of visas is more strictly controlled. That results in an unfavourable opinion that is forwarded to the Department for Alien Affairs. The latter invariably sends back a report to the effect that the visas should be issued in any event. It is to be feared that more and more people-traffickers will try to use Morocco as a point of entry to the EU.

That will nullify the effect of any action by the EU to bar lucrative routes to human-trafficking.

Is the Commission aware of the irregular issuing of Belgian visas?