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C 340 E/76 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 4.12.

2001

Answer given by Mr Bolkestein on behalf of the Commission

(30 April 2001)

By letter of 25 July 2000, Spain sent the Commission some items of descriptive socio-economic data on
the situation in the Canary Islands and certain details concerning a new tax entitled ‘Arbitrio sobre los
Importaciones y Entregas de Mercancias en las islas Canarias (AIEM)’  tax on the import and transfer of
goods in the Canaries. The tax represents the implementation for tax purposes of Article 299(2) (former
Article 227) of the EC Treaty.

Since the notification was incomplete, on 25 October 2000 Spain sent further particulars to the
Commission, indicating the rates planned for this future tax. This enabled the Commission to start
examining and evaluating this information. The provisions concerning the tax on production and imports
(APIM) expired on 31 December 2000 and in order to ensure the necessary transition to the new tax
arrangements, the Spanish authorities, in a letter of 31 October 2000 requested an extension to the
transitional period laid down in Article 5 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1911/91 of 26 June 1991 on the
application of the provisions of Community law to the Canary Islands (1). The Commission adopted
a proposal to that effect (2), and it is at present before the Council and Parliament.

Simultaneously, the Commission continued its deliberations concerning the AIEM in conjunction with the
Spanish authorities, to which it sent remarks and objections concerning the prop osal. The Commission is
awaiting the answer to these comments in order to complete its evaluation and prepare a proposal
pursuant to Article 299(2) of the EC Treaty.

(1) OJ L 171, 29.6.1991.


(2) COM(2001) 76 final.

(2001/C 340 E/090) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0719/01


by Frédérique Ries (ELDR) to the Council

(14 March 2001)

Subject: Transnationally abducted children and the case of the Limet/de Brouwer children in Kenya

In 1994, Marie de Brouwer, a Belgian citizen, left Belgium to start a new life in Kenya and separated from
her husband and her three children.

The custody of the three children was awarded to the father, Olivier Limet and confirmed by the Brussels
Court of Appeal in 1997.

Since 9 August 1998, Mrs de Brouwer, who in the meantime acquired Kenyan citizenship, has refused to
return the children to their father and has prevented any contact between the children on the one hand
and their father and close relations in Belgium on the other.

The Belgian Courts have issued an international warrant for the arrest of Mrs de Brouwer and an
extradition order against her on the grounds of hostage taking. They have also condemned her to a jail
sentence.

The Kenyan authorities, through their attorney-general, have issued legal objections to the Belgian Courts’
decision and have placed the children under the protection of the Kenyan Court.

Since the summer of 1998, the three children have not seen their father.

Could this case be raised in meetings with Kenyan officials at all levels and the Kenyan authorities be
invited to do their utmost to bring this matter to a satisfactory conclusion for all parties involved, in
accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that every child has the right to
maintain direct contact with both parents if separated from one or both?
4.12.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 340 E/77

Reply

(13 July 2001)

The Council would inform the Honourable Member that the European Community has neither signed nor
ratified the Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
Nor has the European Community concluded bilateral agreements with third States containing provisions
relating to child abduction.

The matter is therefore one for examination at the level of the arrangements in force between the Member
States and third States.

(2001/C 340 E/091) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0732/01


by Mogens Camre (UEN) to the Commission

(9 March 2001)

Subject: Technical standards for mobile telephones to eliminate the radiation risk

Revelations about the damaging radiation emitted by mobile telephones have given cause for concern
about the widespread damage they may be causing, especially to children’s health.

As the risk from the radiation depends on the distance between the telephone and the user’s head the
obvious solution is to design mobile telephones with the headset remote from the telephone itself, as is
possible with ‘hands-free’ kits. Considerations of consumer protection dictate that this solution should not
simply be an option, but that a general standard should be laid down in the European Union requiring
headsets not to be mounted on the telephone itself but on a flex to ensure that radiation is not emitted
close to the user’s head. The cost of this design change to all new mobile telephones should not be
especially great, and as their life is relatively short, these harmful telephones should be eliminated by
natural wastage over a short period.

Will the Commission submit proposals for a new technical standard for mobile telephones to eliminate the
risk from radiation?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(12 June 2001)

Based upon existing legislation relating to the safety of mobile telephones (1), the Commission has issued
mandate M/305 (2) to the European Standardisation Organisations asking for the production of standards
on electromagnetic fields (EMF) generated by equipment within the scope of the two aforementioned
directives.

In particular, priority has been given to developing such standards in relation to mobile phones. The first
sets of standards will be available in April 2001. This first set will deal with methods of measurement for
EMF emitted by mobile phones and limits that are fully in line with the limits given in the Council
Recommendation. The limits in the Council Recommendation follow a precautionary principle and have
a safety factor of more than 50 in relation to acute danger.

According to the principles of the New Approach, Community legislation describes the essential
requirements (such as health, safety, etc. …), whilst standardisation bodies develop standards giving
technical expression to these requirements which, when applied provide for a presumption of conformity.
Manufacturers are therefore encouraged to invent new ways of constructing mobile phones in order to
comply with the requirements. One of these solutions might be as described by the Honourable Member.