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Document 51998AC0451

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the 'Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive amending Directive 89/662/EEC concerning veterinary checks in intra-Community trade with a view to the completion of the internal market, in order to reinforce checking'

OJ C 157, 25.5.1998, p. 32 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)

51998AC0451

Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the 'Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive amending Directive 89/662/EEC concerning veterinary checks in intra-Community trade with a view to the completion of the internal market, in order to reinforce checking'

Official Journal C 157 , 25/05/1998 P. 0032


Opinion of the Economic and Social Committee on the 'Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive amending Directive 89/662/EEC concerning veterinary checks in intra-Community trade with a view to the completion of the internal market, in order to reinforce checking` () (98/C 157/09)

On 16 December 1997 the Council decided to consult the Economic and Social Committee, under Articles 43 and 198 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the above-mentioned proposal.

The Section for Agriculture and Fisheries, which was responsible for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 5 March 1998. The rapporteur was Mr Colombo.

The Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion at its 353rd plenary session held on 25 and 26 March (meeting of 25 March 1998) by 106 votes to two with two abstentions.

1. Introduction

1.1. Directive 89/662/EEC on veterinary checks in intra-Community trade is being amended because of unhappy experiences with the BSE crisis and the belief that more stringent checks are the safest and cheapest way of preventing problematic situations from arising.

1.2. Since checks at internal borders have been removed, the approach is now based on more stringent veterinary controls of animal products at the place of departure and the possibility of controls at the final destination.

1.3. The amended Directive under consideration attributes crucial importance to improvements in the exchange of information between the relevant authorities of the Member States.

1.4. The amended Directive extends the computerized network system commonly known as ANIMO - which links veterinary authorities and is already covered by Directive 90/425/EEC on veterinary and zootechnical checks - to intra-Community trade in foodstuffs of animal origin. Member States will however be free to decide how to apply the new arrangements.

2. General comments

2.1. The Committee endorses the proposal to extend use of the computerized ANIMO system to products of animal origin covered by Directive 89/662/EEC and intended for human consumption, and considers that this exchange of information between competent authorities is consistent with the overriding need to protect public health.

2.2. Whilst approving the extension of the ANIMO system, the Committee would point out that this approach does not fully solve the problem of how to improve veterinary controls.

2.2.1. The Committee therefore calls upon the Commission to press on with genuine harmonization of foodstuff control systems in all Member States.

3. Legal basis

3.1. The Commission presents the proposal on the basis of Article 100a of the Treaty (internal market) although the normal legal basis for this type of legislation is Article 43 of the Treaty (agriculture) given that it covers the production and sale of products referred to in Appendix II. The legal service of the Council has now confirmed that Article 43 is the appropriate legal basis (cf. Opinion of the legal service of the Council, No 11180/97, of 10 October 1997).

3.2. The Committee understands the reasons which have led the Commission to choose Article 100a as the legal basis of the Directive under consideration. The Committee is nevertheless convinced that the same reasons would be equally valid had the Commission opted for Article 43.

3.3. The Committee therefore proposes that, in order to avoid the long and complex procedure needed today to implement Article 100a, Article 43 be chosen as the legal basis. Article 43 after all is already used in connection with all agriculture-related matters. The situation will of course have to be reviewed after the entry into force of Article 129 of the Treaty of Amsterdam.

4. Specific comments

4.1. Article 12

4.1.1. To avoid differing interpretations as to whether the ANIMO system is to be extended to all Member States, the Committee proposes the following:

- The words 'may if necessary be extended` should be replaced by 'shall be extended` in Article 12(1).

- The word 'any` at the beginning of Article 12 (2) should be deleted.

4.2. The last recital

4.2.1. The legal basis of the last recital should be amended in the light of what is said in point 3.3 of this opinion.

Brussels, 25 March 1998.

The President of the Economic and Social Committee

Tom JENKINS

() OJ C 13, 17.1.1998, p. 12.

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