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Parliamentary questions
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6 October 2011
Question for written answer P-008650/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Åsa Westlund (S&D)

 Subject: Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 and preventive health measures for the control of Echinococcus multilocularis infection in dogs in Sweden
 Answer in writing 

After the discovery in Sweden this year of three wild foxes infected with the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis (EM), it seems unfortunate that Sweden will have to ease the rules concerning non-commercial movements of pets. Currently, Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 998/2003 provides that Finland, Ireland, Malta, Sweden and the United Kingdom may, for purposes of controlling EM, make the entry of pet animals into their territory subject to compliance with the special rules applicable on the date of the regulation’s entry into force. Because Article 16 applies only until 31 December 2011, Sweden will no longer have the right, beyond that date, to demand that dogs be de-wormed before entering the country, despite the discovery of EM in the three cases mentioned above.

Given that we do not yet know to what extent EM has spread in Sweden, suspension of the de‑worming requirement could potentially mean a big increase in tapeworm. That constitutes a substantial risk, as it could result in many people falling ill and could disrupt a number of traditionally popular Swedish outdoor activities such as berry picking.

Could the Commission consider allowing Sweden to continue applying special rules until there is sufficient information about the spread of this tapeworm in the country?

 OJ C 154 E, 31/05/2012
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