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17. 3.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 82/127

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(25 September 1997)

The new employment title of the Amsterdam Treaty contains two types of provision which will stimulate
employment creation. First, Article [4] gives a further impetus to the co-ordination process of Member States'
employment policies. Each year, the Council will adopt guidelines for employment which Member States shall
take into account in their employment policies. The implementation of these guidelines will be examined at
Community level, with the possibility for the Council to issue recommendations to Member States. Second,
Article [5] enables the Council to adopt incentive measures aimed at developing exchanges of information and
best practice, providing comparative analysis and advice as well as promoting innovative approaches and
exchanging experience, in particular by recourse to pilot projects.

In accordance with the resolution on growth and employment adopted by the European Council in Amsterdam, in
October the Commission will propose the first guidelines for employment. This proposal will deal, inter alia,
with new local development and employment initiatives and implementing the territorial employment pacts.
These two instruments will help exploit new sources of employment.

The existing budget lines B3-4010 (Employment policy and labour market) and B3-4013 (Third system and
employment) have already enabled the Commission to carry out preliminary work in the domain covered by
Article [5], notably concerning the employment potential of the ‘third system' in the fields of services to daily
life, services to improve the quality of life, and cultural and leisure services. It is the intention of the Commission
to strengthen its activities in this area in the near future.

(98/C 82/207) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2680/97


by Marı́a Sornosa Martı́nez (GUE/NGL)
and Angela Sierra González (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(1 September 1997)

Subject: Infringement of the principle of equality in the Aula-Dei Carthusian monastery in Zaragoza

The Aula-Dei Carthusian monastery in Zaragoza is classed as a ‘property of cultural interest’, both because it
possesses paintings by Francisco de Goya and on account of its architecture. The Law on the National Historic
Heritage lays down that properties of cultural interest should be properly accessible to local people.

The Carthusian monastery (Cartuja) is a religious house run by Carthusian monks, and women and girls are
expressly banned from entering it, although this infringes the personal rights of women and, in all probability,
their constitutional rights and their rights under Spain’s present legal system.

Given that monastic life is not infringed by outside visits, women should have access to the premises like other
visitors.

1. Does the Commission possess the legislative wherewithal to reconcile the conflicting claims of the need to
respect divine service and the rights associated with the equal treatment of men and women?

2. Does the Commission’s work include any draft legislation which could help resolve problems of this kind
in future?

3. Does the Commission not believe that in this case, equal treatment should take precedence over other
principles?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission


(3 October 1997)

The Honourable Members have drawn the Commission's attention to the fact that women and girls are banned
from entering the Aula-Dei Carthusian Monastery in Zaragoza, where precious works of art are on display. This
constitutes an infringement of the principle of equality because women do not have the same opportunity as men
to admire these works of art.

While the Commission acknowledges the importance of the problem raised by the Honourable Members, it
cannot take action because it does not have the power to intervene in matters of religion.