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C 304/132 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10.

98

To this end, the Commission has initiated preparatory work with all parties concerned (the payment systems
industry, but also small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and consumers) to assess the scale of the issue and
the nature of any solutions. Although not yet at a stage of formulating a definitive set of measures, the
Commission already has some preliminary views.

First, the response should avoid exclusively addressing specific payment instruments or products. Any partial
response could lead to policy arbitrage, so that fraud and counterfeiting would migrate towards alternative
instruments and systems. Therefore, the Commission is of the opinion that the issue of fraud should be tackled in
respect of all means of payment including electronic means.

Second, understanding the phenomenon requires assessment of the potential forms of illicit behaviour. While
offences may be directed at payment instruments, fraud and counterfeiting may also occur on the level of the
underlying payment transaction itself or on the level of the preparations of the criminal activity. Therefore, the
Commission is of the preliminary view that, given rapid technological and service innovation, too precise a
codification of offences should be avoided.

Third, consistency is needed at international level to ensure effectiveness. Attention will need to be paid to
coherency and compatibility of approach within the Community. To this end, it is particularly important that all
parties (authorities, industry and users groups) seek to co-ordinate their initiatives in the relevant international
fora and groups, establishing wherever possible global agreement. Therefore, in elaborating an integrated
approach, the Commission will endeavour to maximise the scope for collaboration and co-operation at all levels
and in all suitable forms.

Finally, no single initiative, whether legislative or not, will offer the optimal solution to the problem. It is rather
the implementation of a comprehensive and consistent set of actions, aimed at preventing fraud from occurring
and at sanctioning fraudulent behaviour where it has occurred, that will allow the problem to be tackled at its
roots. In this context, the Commission will assess whether the absence of convergent laws to combat fraud
constitutes a significant weakness and what the most suitable course of action should be.

(1) Action plan to combat organised crime, adopted by the Council on 28 April 1997, OJ C 251, 15.8.1997.

(98/C 304/199) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0567/98


by Hiltrud Breyer (V) to the Council
(3 March 1998)

Subject: EU ban on the import of meat from hormone-treated animals (ruling of the WTO Appeals Panel)

Pursuant to the ruling handed down by the WTO Appeals Panel, the EU is entitled to introduce, on a scientific
basis, what it feels is an appropriate level of consumer protection which may be more stringent than that derived
from international public health standards.

1. For which specific areas must the required scientific evidence for possible risks be produced?

2. Which experts have been commissioned by the EU to provide this evidence?

3. How much money is available for these scientific studies?

4. Are the Member States involved as well?

5. What scientific studies are to be carried out, and when will they begin?

6. With what level of funding and with what measures is the federal government supporting the scientific case
against meat treated with hormones?
2. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/133

Answer
(8 June 1998)

Under the Treaty, the Commission is competent to represent the Community in the WTO and therefore before the
Panel and the Appeals Panel.

The Honourable Member’s questions should consequently be put to the Commission.

(98/C 304/200) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0575/98


by Gérard Caudron (PSE) to the Council
(3 March 1998)

Subject: Motorway driving in thick fog

Another tragedy has occurred on a motorway in foggy weather.

In less than two years the Lille-Ghent motorway has been the scene of two major pile-ups, which killed around
fifty people and injured even more. The accidents happened in extreme weather conditions.

These are clearly not isolated incidents in the European Union − the statistics speak for themselves.

It is quite clear that appeals to drive carefully in order to avoid the worst are ignored.

Can the Council give its views on the possibility of closing motorways temporarily when there is thick fog?

Can the Council say whether it intends to take steps which may put an end to these lethal accidents on motorways
in particularly thick fog?

Answer
(28 May 1998)

Improving transport safety is a priority in common transport policy, as laid down in Article 75(c) of the Treaty,
and is central to the Council’s concerns.

With regard to road safety in particular, the Council adopted conclusions at its meeting on 17 and 18 June 1997
on the Commission communication ‘Road safety in the European Union – the programme for the years
1997-2001.’

In its conclusions, the Council lays down a number of guidelines aimed at facilitating the promotion of road
safety at both national and Community levels.

However, it should be noted that the power to make proposals is conferred by the Treaty on the Commission and
that the specific measures to which the Honourable Member refers fall within the sphere of competence of the
Member States.

(98/C 304/201) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0576/98


by Gérard Caudron (PSE) to the Council
(3 March 1998)

Subject: Double taxation for border workers

The Commission and the European Parliament have expressed their views on several occasions concerning the
double taxation affecting certain border workers.

The legislative work being carried out by our colleague Mrs Van Lancker is taking shape and should allow
significant progress to be made in remedying this anomaly in this age of the single market and the introduction of
the Euro.