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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 280 E/183

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(24 June 2003)

The average incidence of cervical cancer in the Union was in 1997 of 10,48 cases per 100 000 women.
This incidence varied among the different Member States, from a minimum of 4,24 in Luxembourg or
5,06 in Finland to a maximum of 17,34 in Portugal or 14,62 in Denmark. This wide variation reflects
both background risk and screening activity during the previous decades. The mortality rates have been
falling in all Member Sates, where screening programmes have been implemented.

The Commission acknowledged this variation through the information provided by the European Network
on Cervical Cancer Screening, the Advisory Committee on Cancer Prevention, and other experts from the
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as well as other different sources.

Organised cervical cancer screening has been implemented in some Member States for decades (e.g. the
Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom). In some other Member States the programmes are
regionally administered and therefore vary in coverage and implementation. In some countries screening is
based on recommendations to service providers only.

As a reaction to this situation, the Commission adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on
Cancer Screening on 5 May 2003 (1). The purpose of this proposal is to make recommendations for
organised screening programmes on a sound scientific basis and to close the gap between differences in
screening among the Member States. The final aim is to achieve a similar reduction of cancer-specific
mortality in all Member States bringing about a similar high level of health protection for all European

(1) COM(2003) 230 final.

(2003/C 280 E/201) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1813/03

by José Ribeiro e Castro (UEN) to the Commission

(2 June 2003)

Subject: Portuguese workers  United Kingdom

According to recent media reports the UK non-governmental organisation Citizens’ Advice (CA) has this
month submitted to a House of Commons committee of inquiry a report condemning the exploitation of
Portuguese workers in the UK.

According to the report, thousands of Portuguese agricultural and industrial workers are being exploited by
Portuguese and UK recruitment agencies, which use the link between employment and accommodation as
a means of intimidation: workers put up with sub-human conditions through fear of being evicted from
their lodgings.

They are reportedly housed in containers lacking any water supply, in caravans or in other sub-let council
accommodation. All the dwellings are subdivided many times over and all bills are paid by the workers
themselves. In Bristol there is allegedly a house shared by 27 people: seven to a room, with only two

According to Citizens’ Advice the problem affects all parts of the country but the situation is currently
worst in East Anglia (where many farms and food-sector factories are located), in Northern Ireland and in
C 280 E/184 Official Journal of the European Union EN 21.11.2003

Can the Commission answer the following:

 What information does it hold regarding this state of affairs?

 What action has it taken (or is it intending to take)  in particular vis-à-vis the UK authorities  in
response to the situation?

 Is it considering the possibility of offering the workers any kind of support if the situation continues?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(15 July 2003)

The Commission is not in possession of the facts relating to the situation described by the Honourable
Member. Whilst it deplores the existence of situations such as these, the Commission must point out that
it cannot intervene unless the situation constitutes a violation of Community law.

It is not clear from the question whether the circumstances described fall within the scope of Directive 96/
71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of
workers in the framework of the provision of services (1), which states that, with regard to certain matters,
posted workers should enjoy the working and employment conditions applicable in the host country.
However, accommodation conditions are not covered by these measures to protect posted workers, nor by
any other Community provisions. In any event, it would be up to the national judicial or other authorities,
as a first resort, to monitor the proper application of these rules where they are contacted by those who
consider that their rights have been infringed.

(1) OJ L 18, 21.1.1997.

(2003/C 280 E/202) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1952/03

by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission

(5 June 2003)

Subject: Serious delay in the implementation of the Cohesion Fund in Portugal

The Commission’s communications 2003/C 123/03 (1) and 2003/C 123/05 (2) setting out the main points
of decisions to grant financial assistance to Portugal in 2002 under the Cohesion Fund, published in the
Official Journal of 24 May, are cause for serious concern.

According to these communications the Commission has approved only five new projects submitted by
Portugal for Cohesion Fund assistance in 2002, namely the treatment of solid urban waste in Vale do Ave,
water purification in the municipality of Braga (with a spelling error in the original, incidentally), studies
on water purification in the Algarve, the integrated management of solid waste by LIPOR, and the IP 6
road section linking Peniche to the IC 1, accounting for total funding of just over EUR 106 million.

If we bear in mind that this total corresponds to budgetary commitments for a number of years, the
amount is insignificant compared with the objectives approved by the Council at the Berlin Summit in
March 1999.

Bearing in mind that the Commission has repeatedly urged Members of the European Parliament to
monitor the implementation of structural funding measures in their constituencies, can it answer the
following questions:

1. What amount of budgetary commitments in 2002 does the total value of the five newly approved
projects described in the communications represent?