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C 136 E/136 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 8.5.

2001

time, all of the Member States have taken the necessary national measures to advise on and explain the
dangers of alcohol in the workplace? What is the Commission’s position on this question?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(9 November 2000)

The Commission is well aware of the potentially adverse effects of excess alcohol consumption on the
health and safety of individuals, including workers at work.

Community occupational health and safety legislation contains no specific provisions with regard to
alcohol. Nevertheless, Council ‘framework’ Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of
measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (1) requires employers to
ensure the safety and health of workers in every aspect related to the work.

At the same time, the Commission has no information on specific measures taken by the Member States to
advise on and explain the dangers of alcohol in the workplace.

(1) OJ L 183, 29.6.1989.

(2001/C 136 E/158) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2938/00


by Ria Oomen-Ruijten (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(19 September 2000)

Subject: Commission’s position on water privatisation

In a number of Member States the issue of the privatisation of the supply of water is being fiercely
debated. In the Netherlands a law is currently being prepared under which the privatisation of the supply
of water would not be allowed. At the European Council summit in Lisbon, proposals concerning the
liberalisation/privatisation of the supply of water received insufficient support.

1. In the light of the above, can the Commission confirm that no proposals for the liberalisation/
privatisation of the water sector are being developed?

2. Would the Commission set out its views on this issue in order to put an end to all doubt regarding
its position?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(8 November 2000)

The Commission attaches a great importance to the secure supply of high-quality water throughout the
Community. At its initiative, the Community has adopted legislation in particular to guarantee that high
quality standards for water are met.

However, the decision on how public water supply services are organised is primarily incumbent on the
Member States. The role of the Commission is to ensure that the means employed to ensure water supply
in the Member States are compatible with Community law. These principles were highlighted in a recent
communication of the Commission on services of general interest (1) in which the Commission stressed
that it is above all the responsibility of public authorities at the appropriate local, regional or national level
to define the missions of services of general interest and the way they will be fulfilled.
8.5.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 136 E/137

In this context, the Commission can confirm that it is not preparing any legislative proposals concerning
the liberalisation or privatisation of water supply in the Member States. As regards privatisation, the
Commission wishes to add that Article 295 (ex Article 222) of the EC Treaty guarantees the neutrality of
the Community as regards public or private ownership of undertakings. Therefore, the Commission never
proposes or requires the privatisation of public undertakings.

(1) COM(2000) 580 final.

(2001/C 136 E/159) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2941/00


by Olivier Dupuis (TDI) to the Commission

(19 September 2000)

Subject: People’s Republic of China and Serbia

According to various well informed sources, some fifty to sixty thousand nationals of the People’s Republic
of China now live in Belgrade and Serbia, their number growing exponentially. According to the same
sources, Serbia has become the main point of entry into Europe by illegal immigrants from the People’s
Republic of China and there is complicity in some areas, if not agreements, between the authorities in
Belgrade and Beijing and Mafia organisations operating in the two countries.

Does the Commission have precise details of what appears to be, to say the least, a worrying
phenomenon? If so, what action has the Commission taken, or what action does it propose to take, to
combat what, in many respects, might be the starting point for an attempt at large-scale destabilisation?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(24 October 2000)

The Commission has no direct information on the numbers of Chinese citizens living in Belgrade or
Serbia, or on whether there are any agreements between Belgrade and Beijing in this regard. However, it is
true closer relations between the former regime and Beijing had resulted in official visits and generous
entry conditions for Chinese nationals, who are active in the small business sector in the Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia (FRY). This presence, combined with logistical difficulties in management of the FRY-
Republika Srpska and the FRY-Croatia border, makes Belgrade an important entry point for trafficking in
human beings.

The two main reasons for this flow are the liberalisation of Chinese nationals’ possibility to travel and the
liberal entry policy practised by FRY  both of which are difficult for the Community to tackle. However,
during his meeting with the President of the Commission on 11 July 2000, the Chinese Prime Minister
addressed the issue of illegal immigration, including trafficking in human beings, and the need to co-
operate with the Union. The Commission is currently discussing with Member States what activities to
prevent and combat illegal migration could be suggested to the Chinese authorities. We will also wish to
take this matter up with the new authorities in the FRY.

Apart from such bilateral discussions, action must be taken in global fora. The Office of the High
Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina  to which the Union is the principal financial contributor 
has been instrumental in establishing a border service in Bosnia and Herzegovina operated at national
level. This step is an important element in improving border controls. On the regional level, within the
framework of the Stability Pact, the Union will support initiatives on security issues, especially the work
currently under way on the development of asylum and migration systems. Because of the nature of the
issue, in addition, the Union and the Commission specifically, actively participate in wider international co-
operation against trafficking including in the context of the group of eight most industrialised countries
(G8), the Organisation for security and co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the
United Nations (e.g. draft convention on transnational organised crime and the three additional protocols,
one of which concerns trafficking).