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Разисквания
Понеделник, 10 декември 2007 г. - Страсбург Редактирана версия

19. Безопасност на играчките (разискване)
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  President. The next item is the Commission statement on toy safety.

 
  
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  Meglena Kuneva, Member of the Commission. Mr President, I would like to thank Parliament for its continued interest in product safety issues, and for this opportunity to give you a short presentation on the first results of the product safety stocktaking, released on 22 November 2007. I attended the IMCO Committee meeting on 26 November and I am now pleased to address the European Parliament meeting in plenary.

My three starting points and principles are still valid and can be confirmed: there can be no compromise on consumer safety; we believe in open markets and fair competition; and we want to work in international partnership with the Chinese and the Americans.

These stocktaking results indicate that the regulatory framework is fit for the purpose, if and when it is properly applied. In particular, the rapid alert system RAPEX is working efficiently and ensuring that dangerous products are recalled from the market throughout the European Union.

The stocktaking report nonetheless identifies certain scope for improvements, in preventive actions and international cooperation as well as in enhanced enforcement.

Some envisaged improvements are already at an advanced stage towards becoming concrete actions, as is notably the case of the revision of the Toy Safety Directive.

I intend to propose to my colleagues in the Commission that we adopt a temporary measure to require that warnings be given on magnetic toys, pending revision of the standard, to address the risks that these toys could pose. We have this right under Article 13 of the General Product Safety Directive. I hope that this measure will become effective soon, but I am also aware that it is just a partial stop-gap solution until the relevant standard addresses the risk associated with magnets comprehensively.

The Commission is assisting the Member States’ market surveillance authorities to identify and share best practices with a view to improved market surveillance. In October 2007, Member States reported on initiatives for better cooperation with economic operators and on specific surveillance campaigns on toys. The Commission intends to publish comparative enforcement capacity data on the Consumer Scoreboard in the first quarter of 2008.

The Commission also continues concretely to reinforce the market surveillance capacity of the Member States by participating in the financing of well-designed joint market surveillance projects (which in 2007 will receive EUR 1.3 million in Community funding).

The protection of consumers against dangerous products requires a consistent level of protection not only within the Community, but also at the EU external borders. In addition to actions to improve protection within the European Union, various actions are under way to strengthen protection at borders. Recent major changes to EU customs legislation will help in identifying high-risk consignments for control. Secure customs exchange mechanisms will also enable rapid action to be taken when information becomes available on new types of dangerous products.

Cooperation between these two networks, in practical terms, is being stepped up through regular exchanges of alerts between the RAPEX system and the customs authorities’ ‘risk information form’ system. The latter draws border inspectors’ attention to specific, potentially dangerous, cargo.

The Commission has highlighted traceability, which is a very important area for further improvement. Statistics show that products of unknown origin notified through RAPEX were down for the first time in October 2007, standing at 3% as compared to 17% in 2006. The Commission is currently assessing, with the help of the Member States, how to ensure that this improvement is not just temporary.

The Commission has already included, in the ‘internal market for goods’ legislation package, a provision requiring economic operators to have available the identity of their supplier, which should be helpful for market surveillance interventions once this legislation enters into force.

The Commission has also asked what China could do about traceability, and welcomes the initiatives in China to require the bar-coding, at factory level, of certain categories of high-risk product.

The Commission also consistently highlights the responsibility of economic operators for product safety. I welcome the commitment from the industry to work on measures to build consumer confidence. We have agreed on what I call a ‘safety pact’. I will also send experts to carry out a study of business safety measures in the supply chain, and report further on this in the first quarter of 2008, because in the era of globalisation we are only as strong as the weakest part of our chain.

I also find it important to communicate with the citizens of Europe on product safety issues, and to listen to their concerns. This is essential because both you and I want to respond ever better to their queries and needs. I found my recent web chat under the topic ‘Have a Safe Christmas’ (which I very much enjoyed) most enlightening and engaging, and answered nearly 50 interesting questions.

Finally, our product safety concerns were communicated to the Chinese leaders at the EU-China Summit on 28 November 2007. The leaders on both sides shared the view that a high level of product safety is key to consumer confidence and reciprocal trade. To this end, the competent authorities have established a comprehensive cooperative relationship. Both sides are willing to continue and deepen the dialogue, regularly exchange information and aim at measurable, continuous improvements.

Likewise, the Commission has agreed with the United States Government, in the context of the Trans-Atlantic Economic Council, to enhance our cooperation on import safety issues.

I believe this report to you has shown that I and all my colleagues in the Commission have taken the necessary steps to enhance consumer product safety, in association with all the relevant actors, in the most effective, proportionate and committed manner.

I would like once again to thank Parliament for our many inspiring debates on this issue.

 
  
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  Marianne Thyssen, namens de PPE-DE-Fractie. – Voorzitter, commissaris, collega's, het is natuurlijk niet toevallig dat wij als PPE-DE-Fractie net voor de kerstdagen om dit actualiteitendebat hebben gevraagd. Te meer daar over deze kwestie al in september van gedachten is gewisseld, zou dat enige verbazing hebben kunnen wekken, maar als PPE-DE-Fractie willen wij met dit debat duidelijk een politiek signaal geven en hebben wij ook een politiek doel voor ogen. Wij willen ondubbelzinnig gaan voor een hoge graad van consumentenbescherming en willen dat de aandacht voor de kleinste, voor de meest kwetsbare consument - voor het kind - hoog op de agenda blijft staan.

Commissaris, ik ben blij uw verklaringen hier te horen. Wij stellen vast dat u in de Commissie al bijzonder veel werk hebt verzet en we zouden natuurlijk graag hebben dat ook de lidstaten aangespoord worden om hún deel van het werk op zich te nemen. Want ook zij moeten zich blijven engageren om het toezicht op hun speelgoedmarkt te verscherpen. We weten ook, commissaris, dat u persoonlijk geen inspanning onverlet laat om de consument te beschermen. Die inzet wordt door ons bijzonder gewaardeerd en we zijn het er ook met u over eens dat we inzake speelgoedveiligheid niet de zoveelste nieuwe aanpak moeten uitvinden, maar dat we de gaten in het bestaande systeem moeten dichten.

Een paar zaken waarover ik graag nog wat verduidelijking zou krijgen: u hebt gezegd - en u hebt er nu ook naar verwezen - dat ook de Chinese overheid bijzonder hard aan het werk is. U hebt een tijd geleden aangekondigd dat zij een soort Chinees RAPEX-systeem zouden gaan opzetten. Misschien kunt u ons daarover nog iets meer duidelijkheid geven.

Ten tweede vraag ik mij ook af of er echt concrete afspraken gemaakt zijn met de speelgoedindustrie, dan wel of dat in elke lidstaat op een eigen manier gebeurt? Dan had ik ook nog graag vernomen hoe het komt dat we nu nog altijd op de nieuwe speelgoedrichtlijn of op het voorstel van de Commissie tot wijziging van de bestaande speelgoedrichtlijn aan het wachten zijn? Wij hadden dat rond deze tijd verwacht. Blijkbaar is er uitstel. Misschien kunt u ons verduidelijken hoe dat komt? Verder heeft u absoluut gelijk: de interne markt is er ook voor de consument. Als de consument geen vertrouwen heeft, maakt hij onvoldoende gebruik van die markt. Dit is een bijzonder, bijzonder belangrijk dossier.

 
  
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  Evelyne Gebhardt, im Namen der PSE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Frau Kommissarin, vielen Dank für die Unterrichtung, die Sie uns heute noch einmal über den Fortgang der Diskussionen geben.

Wir haben durchaus bereits Fortschritte gemacht, aber die reichen mir natürlich immer noch nicht. Es gibt unterschiedliche Sachen, die wir noch vor uns haben. Das eine – das haben wir schon mehrfach besprochen: Die Europäische Union selber muss Vorarbeiten leisten. Ich bin auch etwas betrübt darüber, dass die Novellierung der Spielzeugrichtlinie immer noch nicht auf dem Tisch ist. Als ich hörte, dass wir im Dezember eine Novellierung bekommen, ging ich nämlich davon aus, dass es um Dezember 2007 und nicht Dezember 2008 gehen würde. Wir haben jetzt Dezember, und wir wissen, wir werden dies nicht haben. Ich hoffe, sie wird nicht im Dezember 2008, sondern spätestens im Januar vorliegen, das ist vordringlich.

Das Zweite, Frau Kommissarin, ist, dass auch die Mitgliedstaaten in die Pflicht genommen werden müssen. Sie müssen RAPEX noch viel besser und konsequenter benutzen. Das ist das eine. Sie müssen aber auch die Marktüberwachung, die in ihren Händen ist, sehr viel ernster nehmen. Da müssen wir auch noch einiges voranbringen, damit wir auch wirklich die Sicherheit haben können, die wir brauchen.

Aber nicht nur der Staat oder die staatlichen Stellen sind da gefragt, auch die Spielzeughersteller sind gefragt. Sie müssen nämlich auch selber dafür sorgen, dass die Qualität ihrer Produkte stimmt. Man kann die Verantwortung nicht immer nur den anderen zuschieben. Es kann nicht angehen, dass man nach China geht und sagt: Ja, wir wollen Spielzeug, und das darf nicht mehr als soundso viel kosten. Dann geht das auf Kosten der Qualität, das muss man wissen. Da dürfen wir die Hersteller nicht aus der Verantwortung nehmen, sondern müssen von ihnen verlangen, dass sie dies auch tun. Aber, wie gesagt, Kontrolle ist noch besser, und das ist das, was wir dann noch erreichen müssen.

Ich hoffe, dass es gelingen wird, dies in dem Sicherheitspaket, das Sie angesprochen haben, auch wirklich voranzubringen.

 
  
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  Marios Matsakis, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, for some families, this Christmas will be a period of tragedy – tragedy because of the loss of a child. What makes such tragedy even more painful is that (a) it could have easily been prevented and (b) that it was caused by a gift of love – a joy that turned into a murder weapon. Yes, a murder weapon. Because those that produce unsafe toys know full well that those toys can and eventually, perhaps, will kill a child. Therefore putting such a deadly toy on the market constitutes, in my view, the committing of murder and consequently those that through their omissions fail to prevent such a crime from taking place are accomplices to the act.

Madam Commissioner, we all know who are the culprits that, in this respect, kill or injure our children. They are the cheap Chinese toy manufacturers. And what protection have you to offer our citizens? Not enough, I am sorry to say. You are happy, it seems, that in 43% of cases reported in the latest RAPEX-China report corrective action was taken, but, Madam Commissioner, how about the 57% of cases where no corrective action was taken? And how about those potentially dangerous toys which were not reported at all?

You have said that ‘in this world you cannot given 100% guarantees’ but ‘you can make sure the system is fit for purpose’. What purpose, Madam Commissioner? The purpose of cutting safety corners in order not to upset the Chinese Government?

There is only one way of dealing with this problem, Madam Commissioner: ban all imports of Chinese toys till the Chinese Government can give a 100% guarantee that no dangerous toys will be sold in Europe. Only then will you be fulfilling your most important function of truly protecting our children from death caused by Chinese toys. And remember, Madam Commissioner, mere progress from China is not enough, because even one child’s death is one too many.

 
  
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  President. Mr Matsakis, I apologise for announcing that you had one minute’s speaking time. It was our mistake and you did, indeed, have two minutes. I always give extra time to people who speak in a language other than their own. Your English is wonderful!

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli, a nome del gruppo UEN. – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, sulla sicurezza dei giocattoli non si possono fare sconti e il massiccio ritiro dal mercato di giocattoli provenienti dalla Cina ha riportato al centro del dibattito la sicurezza dei consumatori e soprattutto la sicurezza dei consumatori più piccoli, che spesso non hanno la voce e la forza per difendersi.

Esiste infatti un mercato molto redditizio di prodotti pericolosi per la salute, un mercato che frutta ogni anno guadagni da capogiro, che trova infinite vie ed escamotage per legalizzare ciò che in realtà è illegale e nocivo. Proprio per questo accogliamo con favore le proposte della Commissione destinate a rafforzare l'applicazione dei controlli relativi alla sicurezza dei prodotti, soprattutto dei giocattoli.

In particolare, consideriamo di fondamentale importanza la cooperazione con Cina e Stati Uniti per bloccare il flusso di prodotti pericolosi destinati al mercato europeo. E ancora, devono essere prioritarie alcune azioni, come il controllo globale delle misure di sicurezza e il patto di sicurezza tra produttori e importatori, al fine di recuperare la fiducia dei consumatori.

Per quanto riguarda gli Stati membri, è di fondamentale importanza il miglioramento della cooperazione tra dogane e autorità preposte al controllo dei mercati. Comunque è indispensabile la revisione della direttiva sui giocattoli, affinché ci siano regole certe per pianificare dei controlli adeguati a livello di produzione e a livello doganale.

Concludo, però, dicendo che la Cina deve assolutamente fare la sua parte e la Commissione lo deve pretendere. La Cina deve dare garanzie, deve impegnarsi in una dura ed intransigente lotta contro l'illegalità, altrimenti l'Unione europea dovrà prendere seri provvedimenti e chiudere le porte alla contraffazione e alla concorrenza sleale ed illecita.

 
  
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  Hiltrud Breyer, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! In dieser Debatte geht es kreuz und quer. Frau Kuneva, Sie verwechseln die Produktsicherheitsrichtlinie mit der Spielzeugsicherheitsrichtlinie! Bei der Produktrichtlinie haben wir in der Tat ein Umsetzungsproblem, während wir bei der Spielzeugrichtlinie ein Defizit in der Gesetzgebung haben. Da hilft uns mehr Kontrolle nicht, denn wir haben Lücken in der Sicherheit, nämlich dass beispielsweise gefährliche Chemikalien nicht verboten sind.

Vor zwei Monaten hat uns Kommissar Verheugen garantiert, dass in diesem Monat die Spielzeugrichtlinie vorgelegt wird. Er hat gesagt, bleihaltiges Spielzeug darf nicht auf den europäischen Markt gelangen. Im ersten Fall sehen wir jetzt, die Revision der Spielzeugrichtlinie liegt nicht vor.

Im zweiten Fall hat Herr Verheugen mir gegenüber schriftlich eingeräumt, dass er falsch lag, als er gesagt hat, das mit dem Blei ist in Europa verboten. Auch das stimmt nicht. Sie verwechseln die Produktsicherheitsrichtlinie und die Spielzeugrichtlinie. Es ist doch geradezu abenteuerlich, wenn Sie sagen, wir brauchen einen Strichcode für besonders gefährliche Produkte. Das meinen Sie doch hoffentlich nicht bei den Spielzeugen! Gefährliche Produkte haben in Kinderhänden nichts verloren!

Wir brauchen das Vorsorgeprinzip. Da reicht uns auch nicht ein Warnhinweis auf Magneten. Was ist mit den Warnhinweisen auf Spielzeug, das krebserregende Stoffe enthält? Wir haben in Europa die polyaromatischen Kohlenwasserstoffe. In Autoreifen werden wir sie verbieten, aber in Spielzeug sind sie zugelassen, obwohl es krebserregende Stoffe sind. Das ist eine absurde Debatte, die wir hier führen, weil es bei Ihnen kreuz und quer geht mit den beiden Richtlinien.

Bitte konzentrieren Sie sich in Ihrer zweiten Antwort auf die Spielzeugrichtlinie und beantworten Sie die Fragen, wann endlich diese Richtlinie vorgelegt werden soll und wann endlich – wie wir es in unserer Resolution vorgeschlagen haben – die Gesetzeslücken gefüllt werden, und bitte verwechseln Sie nicht dauernd beides. Kontrolle ist gut, Gesetze sind besser.

 
  
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  Eva-Britt Svensson, för GUE/NGL-gruppen. – Herr talman! Det är naturligtvis helt oacceptabelt att barn utsätts för leksaker som innebär risker för deras hälsa. I stort sett alla tror ju faktiskt att man kan vara trygg när man köper CE-märkta leksaker inom EU. Någonting annat är ju helt otänkbart. Men i verkligheten köper vi, mot vår vilja, leksaker som innehåller cancerframkallande ämnen och bly. Bara tanken på att dessa ämnen används i leksaker som barn ofta stoppar i munnen är helt osannolik! Barnens säkerhet kräver omgående insatser från kommissionen. Tillverkarnas, leverantörernas och importörernas vinstintressen får aldrig vara viktigare än barnens hälsa. En enda farlig leksak är en leksak för mycket!

 
  
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  Malcolm Harbour (PPE-DE). – Mr President, I wish to thank Commissioner Kuneva for coming to the Chamber today, at our suggestion, and congratulate her for being very positive and strong in the action that she has taken. Since we had the original debates back in September, she has been to China. We have seen the results of that. She has also been absolutely clear in stating that ‘there can be no compromise on consumer safety’. We all firmly believe that to be the case.

Turning to the practical aspects, a number of colleagues have already made the point that this an extremely complex issue in which many players are involved. I therefore welcome Commissioner Kuneva’s reassurance that she will be working with the Member States to reinforce their capacity to inspect, to test and also to stop dangerous consignments, which can be properly identified because flows of information have been established. Let us be realistic. We are dealing with a very large number of manufacturers and a very large number of products.

However, one of the last things we want to do is to demonise those toy manufacturers who are already doing an outstanding job and producing attractive, well-designed, good-value toys that are valued by consumers and their children across the European Union and which, as we all know, are very important in children’s development. It is entirely wrong to single out the Chinese, as our colleague from Cyprus did in what was a very emotional and illiberal speech. There are many other countries that are sourcing products. The most important thing is to ensure quality of design from the outset, and that the engineers responsible work with their suppliers to see that all the controls are in place. Believe me, there are many companies producing toys in China to outstanding quality standards. We want everyone to do that and we want that to happen now. This is because the key decisions being made now, before Christmas this year, concern the toys that will be in the hands of children next Christmas. That is what we are talking about, that is why we are working ahead and that is why it was very important that the Commissioner was here tonight.

 
  
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  Arlene McCarthy (PSE). – Mr President, the objective of tonight’s debate and the Commissioner’s statement must, of course, be to send a very strong signal to consumers and to China – and those who supply toys from other third countries – that we are determined to rid our markets of toxic toys. We have seen that numerous toy recalls in the run-up to Christmas mean that we have to keep up pressure for action. And I want to add, Commissioner, that in recent raids in my own region – in Manchester – over 20 000 illegal and counterfeit toys were seized, with a value of EUR 150 000. They were clearly destined to fill the gaps as a result of the toy recalls.

Therefore, we need the legitimate toy suppliers and manufacturers to meet the highest safety standards if children are not to be put at risk by dangerous counterfeit toys. So, let me be clear, as chair of Parliament’s Consumer Protection Committee, what we are calling for you to do with our support, Commissioner. We want an urgent review of Europe’s toy safety laws, to tackle the problems of new problems from third countries, Chinese imports and, of course, new and dangerous toy designs, such as magnets, which have emerged since the original directive of 1995. It is out of date, and it does need to be reviewed. We need to fill that law with stronger, intelligence-led enforcement and surveillance, to make sure we crack down on poor producers.

Commissioner, I personally give you my support, and I will continue to do that, to go as far as banning dangerous toy imports from China if necessary. But it has to be said that your action has got results; we have now seen 93 bans from China itself and, since July, 184 more investigations, which means that we are seeing less dangerous toys leaving China’s borders. We need to step up that action and give you support; but importers, too, must bear the responsibility for the import of dangerous toy products, and I therefore welcome the supply chain review to close the gaps left by manufacturers.

Commissioner, we are not prepared to make any compromises on toy safety; warnings may not be enough. We can see, for example in the US, that we have bans for under-threes on some toys and we have warnings for over-six-year-olds; they complain that they are importing our dangerous toys from the European market, so perhaps we need to follow the US model in this area. So let us get swift and effective measures to restore the confidence of our consumers in the toy market. I pledge, Commissioner, that my committee will work with you to achieve that.

 
  
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  Zbigniew Krzysztof Kuźmiuk (UEN). – Panie Przewodniczący! Zabierając głos w debacie poświęconej bezpieczeństwu zabawek, chcę zwrócić uwagę na kilka jednak ogólniejszych kwestii.

Po pierwsze, liberalizacja handlu dokonywana w ramach Światowej Organizacji Handlu, czyniąca coraz bardziej dostępnym rynek europejski, przynosi nie tylko korzyści konsumentom w postaci niższych cen na wiele towarów, ale także niebezpieczeństwa, czego wymownym przykładem jest omawiana dzisiaj sprawa zabawek niebezpiecznych.

Po drugie, kraje Azji Południowo-Wschodniej są konkurencyjne na rynku europejskim dlatego, że nie pokrywają pełnych kosztów wytwarzania produktów. Często nie ponoszą chociażby kosztów ochrony środowiska, kosztów związanych z przestrzeganiem praw pracowniczych, czy też kosztów związanych z bezpieczeństwem towarów.

Po trzecie, konieczne jest więc, aby instytucje chroniące konsumentów i konkurencję w krajach Unii Europejskiej przy pomocy dostępnych im instrumentów szybciej i skuteczniej reagowały na takie sytuacje i eliminowały z rynku nie tylko niebezpieczne produkty, ale także ich producentów bądź importerów.

Po czwarte wreszcie, konieczne jest, aby w toczących się negocjacjach w ramach WTO w sprawie poszerzenia dostępu do europejskiego rynku Unia Europejska domagała się od krajów trzecich przestrzegania reguł uczciwej konkurencji, a zwłaszcza uwzględnienia w cenach produktów pełnych kosztów wytwarzania liczonych według standardów europejskich.

 
  
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  Heide Rühle (Verts/ALE). – Herr Präsident! Frau Kuneva, ich habe ja schon im Ausschuss gesagt, dass wir Ihre Bemühungen schätzen und dass wir Ihnen für diese Bemühungen danken.

Allerdings zeigen einige dieser Dinge, wo etwas im Argen liegt. Wenn Sie zum Beispiel vor Magneten warnen wollen, zeigt gerade das, dass die Spielzeugrichtlinie nicht ausreicht. Die Spielzeugrichtlinie fußt leider auf dem new approach. Und der new approach setzt voraus, dass die entsprechenden Normierungsausschüsse tätig werden. Die Normierungsausschüsse sind aber leider bezüglich der Magnete nicht tätig geworden, genauso wenig, wie sie bezüglich karzinogener Stoffe tätig geworden sind. Nur drei karzinogene Stoffe sind derzeit verboten, der Rest nicht. Wir müssen dringend überprüfen, wenn wir die Spielzeugrichtlinie revidieren, ob dieser new approach wirklich der richtige Weg ist oder ob es nicht sehr viel wichtiger ist, dass hier der europäische Gesetzgeber klare Standards vorgibt, gerade im Bereich der Spielzeuge, weil Spielzeuge sich vor allem an Kinder wenden und Kinder besonders geschützt werden müssen. Das ist ein Appell von meiner Seite aus, nochmals zu überprüfen, ob hier der new approach wirklich der richtige Weg ist oder ob wir bei der Revision der Spielzeugrichtlinie nicht einen anderen Zugang brauchen.

Ich möchte außerdem nochmals darauf verweisen, dass wir bei der Überarbeitung des Waren-Pakets die Verantwortung der Importeure betont haben. Diese Verantwortung der Importeure muss ernst genommen werden. Ich hoffe, dass sie auch im Trilog von Ihrer Seite, von der Kommissionsseite, aus unterstützt wird. Importeure müssen genauso zur Haftung herangezogen werden wie Hersteller.

Ein letzter Punkt: die Mitgliedstaaten. Da zeigt sich, dass die Produktsicherheitsrichtlinie einfach zu schwach war. Die Mitgliedstaaten müssen verpflichtet werden nachzuverfolgen, und sie müssen verpflichtet werden, die Produkte auch wirklich vom Markt zu nehmen. Leider sind nicht alle tatsächlich vom Markt genommen worden.

 
  
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  Илияна Малинова Йотова (PSE). – Г-жо комисар, основанията за днешния ми въпрос са няколко. Първата причина е Вашият прекалено, според мен, общ отговор на подобната дискусия в комисията IMCO. Второ е писменият въпрос, който вече Ви бях задала, и надявам се днес да получа отговор наведнъж. И третата причина: искам специално да Ви обърна вниманието върху доклада Christensen, приет през 2005 г., за интегрирането на новите държави-членки в системата на потребителска защита, допълваща режима на вътрешния пазар на Европейската общност. Докладът съдържа препоръки към Европейската комисия за специално обръщане на внимание към новите страни-членки, към които се присъединява и моята страна.

Позволявам си да изразя личното си становище, че независимо от усилията, положени в тази сфера от Комисията, само 3 процента от българските граждани се чувстват защитени като потребители. За това моят конкретен въпрос е: какво е предприела Европейската комисия, за да обезпечи безопасността на китайските играчки, дистрибутирани на коледните и новогодишни празници на пазарите на новите държави-членки, предвид относително по-слабата им система за обезпечаване на защита на потребителите?

 
  
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  Vicente Miguel Garcés Ramón (PSE). – Señor Presidente, señora Comisaria, sin dramatizar, nos encontramos ante un problema que afecta a toda la Unión. Por poner sólo un ejemplo: cada día entran en España 40 000 contenedores de mercancías; entre ellos, muchos miles de contenedores son de juguetes.

Nos preguntamos si el sistema del operador económico autorizado, que se implantará a partir del 1 de enero de 2008, facilitará realmente acciones eficaces para hacer frente a los hechos comerciales atentatorios contra la salud de los niños que tantas veces han sido denunciados.

En su Resolución del pasado 26 de septiembre sobre seguridad de los productos y, en especial, de los juguetes, el Parlamento Europeo ya instó a la Comisión y a los Estados miembros a que tomaran medidas para garantizar que los bienes de consumo comercializados no presenten riesgos para la salud.

Es el momento de acelerar la adopción de las acciones necesarias para hacer efectiva la Resolución del Parlamento Europeo. Hay que mejorar el control y la vigilancia de los mercados que acabamos de citar. En tiempos de globalización, los juguetes no son sólo una mercancía más. En ausencia de controles, nos encontraremos con la repetición de hechos denunciados reiteradamente, y una y otra vez reinciden en el dumping comercial, además de poder afectar seriamente la salud de los consumidores, en especial de los niños.

 
  
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  Meglena Kuneva, Member of the Commission. Mr President, let me start by responding to Ms Thyssen on what we are doing to enhance our positive influence on the Chinese market. If we are to achieve success, Europe should develop its role as a standard-bearer, and that is exactly what we are trying to do. RAPEX-China gives the Chinese authorities access to details of risks found in Chinese products sold in Europe, and this is a very valuable source of information for them.

China is currently setting up its own national rapid-warning system, copying the European one. This really represents a great success for product safety at world level. It ensures that information is spread swiftly to local offices for action, and this should start by the end of the year. If this continues to develop as envisaged, Europe will be able to congratulate itself, by the end of the year, on a major success, as it has established the pattern for the Chinese authorities.

I would like also to highlight that next year will be a very intensive one for me in respect of elaborating a new memorandum of understanding with China, owing to the fact that the current memorandum, which has been in effect since 2006, will expire at the beginning of 2009. This will be a matter for very concrete work by the Commission.

Many of you have referred to the Toys Directive. I cannot comment on something which comes under the responsibility of Vice-President Verheugen, as the Toys Directive is part of his portfolio, although we enjoy excellent cooperation. However, you should be aware that a revision of the Toys Directive is in the pipeline and will be presented very soon. Before my meeting with you, I checked with the services of Commissioner Verheugen, and with him in person, and know that this directive will soon be discussed by the Commission. I am sure that his services are working flat out.

There is no mixing of our two approaches – the industry approach, which includes the Toys Directive and the approach on which I base my activities, which includes a general product safety directive. I can assure you that the distinction within the Commission is really very clear.

That is exactly what we are trying to do through the new approach – to keep these two sets of checks parallel to each other. One set concerns requirements on toys as industrial goods, and the other one, over and above those efforts, concerns checks at any given point on how safe the toys are for our children. One good example is the magnets used in toys. These now come under the General Product Safety Directive, and we are able to carry out checks, ban dangerous products and ask for a new standard, with the toys in the mean time being covered by a warning, and then we will come up with a proposal. There will most probably be standardisation, and a ban on certain uses for magnets. This approach is based precisely on filling the gap on safety, through a true General Product Safety Directive. This is an excellent example of why we need to keep the two approaches together.

I started to respond to Ms Rühle concerning magnets. The College will consider my proposal to adopt a targeted measure to require specific warnings on magnetic toys, and this would fill the gap until the relevant standards properly address this risk. As you know, this process is a little long, but that is not up to the Commission. This is legislation which we are simply executing concerning the way we implement on our standards.

I would like to dwell for a second on the opinion expressed by Mr Matsakis. My line is quite simple, because I believe that Mr Harbour answered in a very consistent manner. I do not think that dangerous toys have a passport, and we should address the danger from wherever the danger comes. Let me just remind you that although 50% of the dangerous toys in Europe come from China, I am surprised that we have not discussed at all where the other 50% comes from. I have to tell you that 30% of dangerous toys come precisely from Europe. That is why I really insist on safety, regardless of passports. We must consider again how important confidence is to our markets. I am not going to outsource that responsibility.

Article 1 of the General Product Safety Directive states that all producers should only produce safe goods, and that whoever places a good on the market for the first time – be it the importer, the retailer or the producer – should check the safety of toys, for which he is liable.

With reference to Ms Iotova, I would like to answer in Bulgarian because it was in that language that she put her question.

Моят отговор беше съвсем конкретен, според стандартите на комисията. Това, което направихме през тази една година, имаше за цел да подобри законодателството. Да, част от това законодателство е свързана с индустриалните стоки и е в портфолиото на друг комисар, но ние работим по много от въпросите заедно. Част от въпросите, които се зададоха, засягат и Директивата REACH, което отново не е в моето портфолио, но отново ние правим необходимото, за да може да се осигури безопасността на базата на съществуващото законодателство.

Направиха се многобройни срещи с всички участници в този процес - и с производителите, и с органите в съответните страни, и с търговците на дребно, и с много от неправителствените организации.

Аз искам освен това да Ви кажа, че ние не правим по някакъв начин оценка и не определяме страните на нови и стари в това отношение. Безопасността на стоките е еднакво важна и в новите, и в старите страни. Уверявам ви, че има стари страни-членки, преди голямото разширяване с дванадесетте нови страни, които също имат своите сериозни проблеми и аз нямам намерение да ги изоставя. Но, разбира се, отговорността на Комисията по отношение на приложението на законодателството, и особено в новите страни-членки, е нещо, което безспорно е много близко до сърцето ми. Затова това, което аз правя в новите страни, е повече разговори с властите, повече настояване да се включи бюджет, национален бюджет, за да може този бюджет да помогне да се развият органите, които да осъществяват контрол на пазара.

Мога да Ви кажа, г-жо Йотова, че българският пазар разполага със 180 инспектори. Вчера, всъщност днес сутринта, имах разговори отново с всички участници в тази верига на безопасност и ние сключихме този "Коледен пакт", в който освен производителите, както се случи на европейско ниво, този път в България участват и търговците, участват и държавните органи. След така настойчивите разговори, които имах с Министерство на икономиката в България, проверките са увеличени четири пъти. Така че аз ще продължа да работя в тази посока и, както и предишния път имах удоволствието да го направя, и сега, от пленарна зала, Ви каня да се присъедините и да направим нещо заедно. Уверена съм, че така ще имаме по-голям успех.

I would like to end where I started, which is to say that all our actions should be proportional and based on solidarity and subsidiarity, which will give us additional strength to tackle this very important problem.

I have listened carefully to all of you, to your kind words and to your calls to step up our work. If at any point there are specific cases which you would like to discuss with me, I would be more than happy to continue doing this.

 
  
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  President. I should like to thank the Commissioner and all colleagues who spoke in that debate.

I wish to make one little observation: some years ago my elder daughter was given a present of a rubber doll made in China. The head came off and inside was a little rubber knob to put the head on, and whoever made this toy had put a little face on it; but it was not a smiley face, it was a very sad face, and whoever did this was trying to get some sort of message out about the conditions in which they working. So I am glad to have this opportunity of making it public tonight.

The debate is closed.

 
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