European Parliament Endorses Asbestos Seminar
On October 15, 2001 a Written Declaration submitted to the European Parliament acknowledged the work and conclusions of the European Asbestos Seminar (EAS). The meetings which comprised the EAS took place in Brussels on June 7 & 8, 2001; the event was organised by The International Ban Asbestos Secretariat and The Belgian Asbestos Victims’ Group (ABEVA). Dr. Charles Tannock and Peter Skinner, UK Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), issued the declaration which encouraged national governments to:
develop and implement techniques for treating waste containing asbestos
end the use of asbestos for chlorine production
harmonise the criteria for diagnosing asbestos-related diseases and compensation procedures
share medical knowledge to ensure that all sufferers of asbestos-related diseases gain equal access to the most effective treatments.
The MEPs recognised the "work being done by asbestos victims’ groups, NGOs and social movements throughout Europe to improve the plight of asbestos victims." It is hoped that this statement will help increase the visibility of groups struggling to assist Europe’s asbestos victims. Parliamentary interest in the work of these under-funded and largely unseen groups is essential if Western Europe is to cope with the 500,000 asbestos deaths which epidemiologists predict will occur in the current thirty year period.
The value of the EAS has also been acknowledged by other European authorities. A letter from the office of the European Union’s Commissioner of Employment and Social Affairs, Mrs. Anna Diamantopoulou, stated that the event "held in Brussels in June 2001 has to be considered as one of the most important organised during the recent years: the resolution adopted which covers issues of different policies is a matter to be considered by various institutions or organisations." Mario Tereiro, Head of Unit A/3 Judicial Cooperation in Civil Matters read the EAS resolution "with a great interest." He stated that "concerning the question of compensation of crime victims, we are preparing a Green Paper that will be published in early autumn." The EAS resolution has also been acknowledged by Commissioners John Bell and Philippe Busquin, Members of the European Commission Cabinet.
Previously (June 26, 2001) an Early Day Motion (EDM34) had been tabled by Michael Clapham, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Occupational Safety and Health; it was supported by sixty-nine MPs. It welcomed "the motion agreed by the European Asbestos Seminar… which calls for the establishment of local, national and international networks, accurate recording of the location of asbestos, development and implementation of techniques for treating waste containing asbestos, an end to the use of asbestos for chlorine production, the harmonisation of criteria for diagnosing asbestos-related diseases and compensation procedures ad shared medical knowledge to give all sufferers of asbestos-related diseases equal access to the most effective treatments."
October 17, 2001