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REPORT     
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20 January 1999
PE 225.318/fin. A4-0008/99
on the joint text, approved by the Conciliation Committee, for a European Parliament and Council Directive
I. on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning foods and food ingredients treated with ionizing radiation (3631/98 - C4-0021/99 - 00/0169(COD))
II. on the establishment of a Community list of foods and food ingredients treated with ionizing radiation (3632/98 - C4-0022/99 - 00/0169B(COD))
European Parliament delegation to the Conciliation Committee
Rapporteur: Undine-Uta Bloch von Blottnitz
At the sitting of 11 October 1989 Parliament delivered its opinion at first reading on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive:
 A.I. DRAFT DECISION
 A.II. DRAFT DECISION
 B EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 At the sitting of 11 October 1989 Parliament delivered its opinion at first reading on the proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive:

I. on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning foods and food ingredients treated with ionizing radiation;

II. on the establishment of a Community list of foods and food ingredients treated with ionizing radiation.

At the sitting of 6 November 1997 the President of Parliament announced that the common position had been received and referred to the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Consumer Protection as the committee responsible.

At the sitting of 18 February 1998 Parliament adopted amendments to the common position.

By letter of 7 April 1998 the Council stated that it was unable to adopt all Parliament's amendments.

The President of the Council, in agreement with the President of Parliament, convened meetings of the Conciliation Committee on 15 October 1998 and 8 December 1998.

By letter of 25 November 1998 the President of the Parliament agreed to the two-week extension of the period granted to the Committee, requested by the Council by letter of 24 November 1998.

By letter of 4 January 1999 the President of Parliament asked the Council for a two-week extension of the period granted to the Committee, to which the Council agreed by letter of 20 January 1999.

At its meetings on 15 October and 8 December 1998 the Conciliation Committee considered the common position on the basis of the amendments proposed by Parliament. At the last meeting it reached agreement on a joint text.

On 9 December 1998 the co-chairmen of the Conciliation Committee established that the joint text had been adopted pursuant to paragraph 6 of the Interinstitutional Agreement of 25 October 1993 on arrangements for the proceedings of the Conciliation Committee, and forwarded it to Parliament and the Council, in all the official languages.

On 20 January 1999 Parliament's delegation to the Conciliation Committee adopted the draft decisions unanimously.

The following took part in the vote: Mr Imbeni, chairman, Verde I Aldea, vice-chairman of the delegation; Bloch von Blottnitz, rapporteur; Bowe (for Whitehead), K. Collins, Roth-Behrendt,

K. Jensen, Poggiolini, Schleicher (for Flemming), Schnellhardt, Trakatellis.

The report was tabled on 20 January 1999.


 A.I. DRAFT DECISION

Decision on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a European Parliament and Council Directive on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning foods and food ingredients treated with ionizing radiation (3631/98 - C4-0021/99 - 00/0169(COD))

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee and the relevant declarations (3631/98 - C4-0021/99 - 00/0169(COD) ),

- having regard to its opinion at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council COM(88)0654 and COM(89)0576(2),

- having regard to its decision on the common position(3),

- having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(98)0188 - C4- 0214/98 ),

- having regard to Article 189b(5) of the EC Treaty,

- having regard to Rule 77(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A4-0008/99),

1. Approves the joint text;

2. Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council, pursuant to Article 191(1) of the EC Treaty;

3. Instructs its Secretary-General to duly sign the act and, in agreement with the SecretaryGeneral of the Council, to have it published in the Official Journal;

4. Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and Commission.

(1)() OJ C 291, 20.11.1989, p. 67.
(2)() OJ C 336, 30.12.88, p. 7 and C 303, 02.12.89, 15.
(3)() OJ C 080, 16.03.1998, p. 130.


 A.II. DRAFT DECISION

Decision on the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee for a European Parliament and Council Directiveon the establishment of a Community list of foods and food ingredients treated with ionizing radiation (3632/98 - C4-0022/99 - 00/0169B(COD))

(Codecision procedure: third reading)

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the joint text approved by the Conciliation Committee and the relevant declarations (3632/98 - C4-0022/99 - 00/0169B(COD)),

- having regard to its opinion at first reading(1) on the Commission proposal to Parliament and the Council COM(88)0654 and COM(89)0576(2),

- having regard to its decision on the common position(3),

- having regard to the Commission's opinion on Parliament's amendments to the common position (COM(98)0188 - C4-0215/98),

- having regard to Article 189b(5) of the EC Treaty,

- having regard to Rule 77(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of its delegation to the Conciliation Committee (A4-0008/99),

1. Approves the joint text;

2. Instructs its President to sign the act with the President of the Council, pursuant to Article 191(1) of the EC Treaty;

3. Instructs its Secretary-General to duly sign the act and, in agreement with the SecretaryGeneral of the Council, to have it published in the Official Journal;

4. Instructs its President to forward this decision to the Council and Commission.

(1)() OJ C 291, 20.11.1989, p. 67.
(2)() OJ C 336, 30.12.88, p. 7 and C 303, 02.12.89, 15.
(3)() OJ C 080, 16.03.1998, p. 133.


 B EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

INTRODUCTION

1 The original proposal of the Commission dates back to December 1988. The proposed directive remained blocked in the Council for almost a decade, until the common position was adopted in December 1997. In the common position, the Council produced two directives, a framework directive on approximation of laws concerning food irradiation and an implementing directive on a positive list of foodstuffs which may be treated by irradiation. The implementing directive includes only one group of products, namely dried aromatic herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings. The final positive list is to be established by a new Commission proposal to be presented at the latest on 31 December 2000.

2. At its second reading on 17 February 1998, the European Parliament adopted 14 amendments to the common position of the Council, 11 to the framework directive and 3 to the implementing directive. The amendments of the Parliament could be categorised as follows:

- amendments to emphasise consumer concerns and on the importance of hygiene and health practices and good agricultural practices,

- amendments to introduce clear criteria for analytical test methods to detect the irradiation,

- an amendment relating to the so called "grace period" for the withdrawal of the products which do not comply with the directive, and

- amendments relating to comitology and decision making procedures.

THE CONCILIATION PROCEDURE

3. The Council, at its second reading, was able to accept four amendments in full (consumer concerns, hygiene and health practices and clarifications on decision making procedures) and two in part (clarifications on decision making procedures).

4. The amendments rejected which had to be solved in the conciliation related to four specific issues, of which two were "procedural" and two "substantive":

- consultation of the Scientific Committee on Food,

- Commission actions to be taken in response to national safeguard measures,

- grace period to ban foodstuffs which do not comply with the directive, and

- Analytical Test Methods

5. After two preparatory trialogue meetings, four meetings of the delegation and extensive exchanges of positions by writing, a broad compromise was found on all matters other than the key question of analytical test methods at the first meeting of the Conciliation Committee on 15 October 1998:

- A satisfactory compromise was reached on the consultation of the Scientific Committee on Food, ensuring that this consultation would not endanger the decision making procedures laid down in the Treaties or in the framework directive.

- Concerning the safeguard measures, the Parliament delegation agreed to the principle that in certain cases the provisions of the directive could be changed in the committee procedure, but the Council agreed to specify, that these changes could be made only to the extent necessary to ensure the protection of public health and should in any event be limited to prohibitions or restrictions as compared to the previous legal situation.

- The Parliament delegation decided to withdraw the amendment on grace period provided it could obtain a better result on analytical test methods.

6. The question of analytic test methods was finally solved after two more meetings of the delegation at the second meeting of the Conciliation Committee on 8 December 1998 as follows:

- In Article 7(3) a clear obligation was introduced for the Member States to ensure that the methods used to detect treatment with ionizing radiation comply with paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Annex to Council Directive 85/591/EEC and are standardized or validated either already or as soon as possible, up to 1 January 2003 at the latest. This means that judicial control of the tests used to detect irradiation becomes possible.

- In a joint declaration, the Member States and the Commission gave a clear commitment to develop the standardised or validated analytic test methods for all products. A review of these developments will be made in year 2001 but any changes to the provisions of the directives would be made in accordance with the codecision procedure.

- Recital 17 of the framework directive was clarified to include references to directives on the official control of foodstuffs and on the quality standards for laboratories.

CONCLUSION

7. After a decade of debates, these directives create a legal framework for the single market for foodstuffs treated with ionising radiation. The directives set high standards for irradiation, limit the products which may be irradiated and oblige the Member States to create accurate control mechanisms to detect illegal irradiation under Community control. The Parliament has played a key role to ensure that the concerns of the consumers are taken into account and that the eventual risks related to the control mechanisms are minimised. The delegation recommends that Parliament adopts the directives in accordance with the joint text of the Conciliation Committee (see document C4-0021/99 and C4-0022/99).

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