Official Journal of the European Union

C 157/74

Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the ‘Proposal for a Council Directive amending Directive 87/328/EEC as regards the storage of semen of bovine animals intended for intra-Community trade’

(COM(2004) 563 final — 2004/0188 CNS)

(2005/C 157/12)

On 20 September 2004 the Council decided to consult the European Economic and Social Committee, under Article 37 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the abovementioned proposal.

The Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment, which was responsible for preparing the Committee's work on the subject, adopted its opinion on 16 November 2004. The rapporteur was Mr Leif E. Nielsen.

At its 413th plenary session, held on 15 and 16 December 2004 (meeting of 15 December), the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the following opinion with 139 votes in favour and seven abstentions.

1.   Gist of the Commission proposal


Council Directive 88/407/EEC lays down a series of animal health requirements applicable to intra-Community trade in and imports of bovine semen of pure-bred breeding animals. In spite of the EESC opinion, which expressed grave reservations on the subject, the directive was amended in 2003 to allow semen to be stored not only in ‘semen collection centres’ with own production but also in ‘semen storage centres’ without own production. (1)


‘In order to avoid any confusion with the scope and definitions’, the Commission is now proposing to amend the analogous rules laid down in Council Directive 87/328/EEC on the acceptance for breeding purposes of pure-bred breeding animals, to the effect that, with regard to the collection, processing and storage of bovine semen, semen storage centres are, in future, to be placed on a par with semen collection centres.

2.   General comments


The Commission should have been alert to the need for a consequential change in Directive 87/328/EEC to match the amendment to Council Directive 88/407/EEC — not least to ensure the requisite consistency in EU legislation. That could have avoided the present confusion and uncertainty about scope and definitions and dispensed with the need for the current additional legislative procedure.


Moreover, the proposed re-wording of Article 4 of Directive 87/328/EEC gives the impression that the scope of the approved storage centres is to be further widened to include the collection and processing of bovine semen, thereby establishing a parallel system of semen collection centres alongside those that exist at the moment. Given the circumstances, that would make no sense. Nor is it, on closer reading, what is actually meant. The amendment should therefore be worded in a way that does not give rise to misunderstanding.

3.   Conclusion


The Committee is aware that, despite its opposition back in 2002, approval was given to storage centres for the distribution of bovine semen under Council Directive 2003/43/EEC, and accepts that the proposed change, which should have been introduced at the same time as the 2003 decision, is needed to secure consistency in EU legislation. However, the wording may give rise to misunderstanding and should therefore be clarified.

Brussels, 15 December 2004.

The President

of European Economic and Social Committee

Anne-Marie SIGMUND

(1)  Directive 2003/43/EC, OJ L 143, 11.6.2003, p. 23