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C 103 E/28

Official Journal of the European Communities



In view of the question raised by the Honourable Member, the Commission has launched an inquiry with the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs and drawn the attention of the audit service of the Directorate general concerned to this particular case. In addition, the European Anti-Fraud Office has indicated that it is in contact with the Dutch investigation service mentioned by the Honourable Member. As far as the programming period 2000-2006 is concerned, the municipality of Den Helder does not qualify for any particular structural fund programme. The Konver Community initiative was not continued and the region of Noord-Holland is not eligible under either objective 1 or objective 2.

(2001/C 103 E/029)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-1807/00 by Marialiese Flemming (PPE-DE) to the Commission (8 June 2000)

Subject: Illegal killing of whales in the Caribbean The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) has reported that this year, whales have once more been hunted illegally in the Caribbean. At the beginning of May a Bryde’s whale, which is a protected species, was killed off St Vincent. Hunting of these whales has been prohibited since 1986, and is therefore a breach of the rules laid down by the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Japan in particular imports large quantities of whale meat from Caribbean waters, further increasing international trade in the meat of this endangered species. Is the Commission aware of this? As it is well known that legal possibilities are limited, would it be possible for the Commission to take political measures against activities of this sort? Is the Commission prepared to approach the EU Committee concerned with CITES with a view to joint action to bring stronger pressure to bear on countries which infringe the IWC Agreement?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission (31 July 2000) The Commission is aware that certain countries, including those in the Caribbean, continue to carry out some form of whale hunting, often under the pretext of scientific programmes. The Community is not a member of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and only has the status of observer in that organisation. However, a number of Member States are contracting parties to the IWC. As the Honourable Member will be aware, there is a well-known divergence of opinion amongst the Member States on the issue of whaling. The Community, therefore, does not have an overall policy with regard to whaling. This largely reflects the situation within Member States. However the Community has legislation which indirectly touches upon whales. One item of Community legislation is Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 of 9 December 1996 on the protection of species of wild fauna and flora by regulating trade therein (1), which implements the Convention on international trade in endangered species (CITES) as amended. This legislation prevents Community fishermen from hunting whales on the high seas and from unloading their catches in the Community or in any other signatory country. Another piece of legislation is Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992, on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (2). This legislation obliges all Member States to take the requisite measures to establish a system of strict protection for all cetacean species.



Official Journal of the European Communities

C 103 E/29

The Community does not support any form of hunting for whales on the high seas, nor will it accept any trade in such species. As an observer to the IWC, the Community fully supports the various moratoria recommended within the IWC. However, at this stage and in consideration of its status with regard to the IWC, the Commission itself is not in a position to take any political measures against the activities cited by the Honourable Member. The Commission would nevertheless recommend that, if it is felt appropriate, the eleven Community members of the IWC be contacted with a view to raising this issue and taking it further.
(1) OJ L 61, 3.3.1997. (2) OJ L 206, 22.7.1992.

(2001/C 103 E/030)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-1808/00 by Baroness Sarah Ludford (ELDR) to the Commission (8 June 2000)

Subject: Human rights in Turkey Turkey’s record on human rights has long been a cause for concern and the subject of investigation by parliamentarians, the press and human rights’ organisations. For example, the freedom of expression of writers and journalists is restricted, and even a reference to the ‘Kurdish people’ is sufficient to lead to imprisonment. Likewise, there is widespread use of torture, and the decision to prosecute an officer lies with the police and not the judicial authorities. Finally, whilst there has been a moratorium on executions for the last fifteen years, the courts still impose the death penalty, and the ultimate fate of Abdullah Ocalan is still unknown. Now that Turkey, following the decision of the Helsinki Summit in December 1999, has been declared a formal applicant country for EU accession with which accession negotiations will commence before long, what timetable for specific and sustainable reforms will the Commission be seeking from the Turkish authorities so as to ensure that the political criteria laid down at the 1993 Copenhagen Summit can be met?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission (11 July 2000) A centrepiece of the new pre-accession strategy for Turkey, launched at the European Council in Helsinki in December 1999, is the accession partnership (AP) to be prepared by the Commission before adoption by the Council. The Commission intends to adopt the first AP for Turkey in November 2000. The aim is mainly to set out priorities to be implemented by Turkey, in all the fields of the Copenhagen criteria (including the political field) in order to prepare Turkey for Union membership. Priorities will be divided into short-term priorities (covering the year 2001) and medium-term priorities (covering the period from 2001 onwards). For her part, Turkey is expected to present before the end of this year a national programme for adoption of the acquis (NPAA). This will explain how Turkey intends to implement the priorities of the AP, including in terms of human and financial resources. The political reforms, to which the Honourable Member refers, will have to be tackled in these two documents, the AP and the NPAA. The implementation of the AP and NPAA will be regularly monitored, through appropriate mechanisms such as the association committee as well as in the annual regular reports.

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