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16. 6.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 187/59

The social aspects of road transport within the Community are governed by Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 on
driving times and rest periods for drivers (1), by Council Directive 88/599/EEC on standard checking procedures
for the implementation of Regulation (EEC) No 3820/85 and Regulation(EEC) No 3821/85 on recording
equipment in road transport (2). In addition certain issues remain under national legislation. The diversity of
current rules and enforcement practices throughout the Community gives rise to significant differences in

Consequently, the White Paper on sectors and activities excluded from the Working Time Directive (3) outlined
the Commission’s intention to make a proposal in early 1998 for amendments to Regulation (CEE) No 3820/85 in
order to include in this legislation the concept of working time by adding provisions on loading and unloading
and other activities carried out by drivers. Its overall aim would be to harmonise both the rules and the
enforcement systems.

(1) OJ L 370, 31.12.1985.

(2) OJ L 325, 29.11.1988.
(3) COM(97) 334 final.

(98/C 187/94) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3800/97

by Gianni Tamino (V) to the Commission

(26 November 1997)

Subject: Use of laser guns in European cities to ‘control’ wild birds

On 28 January 1997, in reply to Written Question E-3175/96 (1) on the use of laser guns to control starlings in the
city of Modena, the Commission stated that it was awaiting a report on the application by the Italian Government
of the derogations to Council Directive 79/409/EEC (2) for the years 1995, 1996 and 1997.

In a document entitled ‘Gas 1918 ... Lasers 1990s?’, the International Red Cross states that this type of gun will
be the weapon of the future and that, owing to the characteristics of these portable guns, their low cost and their
offensive capabilities, they could also become the weapons used in future by terrorist groups and organized
criminal gangs.

On 12 May 1997, the Italian Ministry of the Interior wrote to the Prefecture and the Police Headquarters of
Modena in connection with the use of laser guns, stating that these weapons must be used outside and at some
distance from populated areas ... the danger zone must be defined, marked out and evacuated, using posters
carrying warnings of the dangers of laser guns ... the laser beam must not be directed at people’s eyes ... the rays
must not be beamed at targets with a reflective surface (such as glass) ... any observers or spectators must use
protective goggles and must not be allowed to look at the laser beam through magnifying optical instruments ...
adequate safety distances between the laser beam and observers or spectator must be imposed ... .

It appears, however, that the Modena Consorzio di solidarietà sociale, the body which carried out the measures in
the city of Modena, conducted some fifty operations in one year (1996 to 1997) to limit the numbers of starlings,
in a series of weekly operations, lasting approximately fours hours each, from 9 p.m. to 1 or 1.30 a.m., in the
squares and tree-lined avenues most heavily populated by these birds (Piazza Mazzini, Piazza Matteotti, Piazza
Dante, Viale V. Emanuele, Viale Gramsci, Viale Verdi, Viale Berengario, etc.), without taking any of the
precautions laid down by the Ministry of the Interior, i.e. without ensuring the safety of the residents or the users,
and that this took place during the months of July, August, September, October and November, i.e. the months in
which the residents of the neighbourhoods concerned (densely populated areas in the centre) can often be found,
even late at night, out in the street or at their windows, i.e. close to reflective glass surfaces. Moreover, the
Consorzio itself states that this laser equipment has already been used regularly to remove unwanted birds, e.g.
starlings, pigeons, sparrows, turtle-doves, gulls, etc., from cities in both France and Spain.
C 187/60 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 16. 6. 98

Will the Commission pass on the information referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 of its answer of 28 January 1997?

Will it state whether, in the light of this new information, it considers that the directives referred to in the
previous written question have been infringed and whether these laser guns have been used in other countries in
breach of the Community directives?

(1) OJ C 186, 18.6.1997, p. 41.

(2) OJ L 103, 25.4.1979, p.1.

Answer given by Mrs Bjerregaard on behalf of the Commission

(16 December 1997)

In its reply to the earlier Written Question No 3175/96 by the Honourable Member and Mr Ripa di Meana on the
same subject, the Commission pointed out that, in accordance with Article 9 of Council Directive
79/409/EEC (1), a report was due from the Italian authorities.

This report, covering the period 1995-1996, was finally submitted at the end of May 1997 and its analysis has
been recently completed. The report does not mention the action cited by the Honourable Member. For this
reason, the Commission will ask the Italian authorities for complementary information.

The information supplied by the Member States to the Commission does not include any reports of the use of
laser guns not in conformity with the provisions of Directive 79/409/EEC.

If employees of the Modena Consorzio de solidarietà sociale have been required to use dangerous equipment
such as laser guns without adequate protection, this should be brought to the attention of the Italian authority
responsible for control and supervision, as provided for in Article 4(2) of Council Directive 89/391/EEC of
12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at
work (2), namely the Labour Inspectorate for the area concerned.

(1) OJ L 103, 24.5.1979, as amended on the accession of Austria (OJ L 1, 1.1.1995).

(2) OJ L 183, 29.6.1989.

(98/C 187/95) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3801/97

by Cristiana Muscardini (NI) to the Commission
(26 November 1997)

Subject: Equivalence of qualifications

In view of the fact that EU borders were opened in 1993 for qualifications and that some countries, particularly
Italy, award qualifications on completion of studies which are not recognised in other EU Member States, will the
Commission state whether or not it intends to request the Member States to bring about the equivalence of
qualifications so that mobility of labour can finally be achieved in Europe?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(6 January 1998)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to her Written Question E-85/95 (1).

(1) OJ C 190, 24.7.1995.