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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/37

The Commission is concurrently carrying on with its attempts to persuade the United States to ratify the OECD
agreement, with the application of which is the main objective of the Community.

Regarding the financial crisis in Asia, and its possible knock-on effects on the Korean shipbuilding industry, the
Commission shares the Honourable Member’s disquiet and in collaboration with Member States is watching for
any impact on the Community industry.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) plan which Korea has accepted, provides only for financial aid to stave
off collapse of the financial and banking system and in no way provides for any allocation of funds to sectors of
industry. Quite the reverse: the IMF authorities have pointed out that in no case should aid be used to save
businesses in trouble. The structural reforms demanded by the IMF, and the drastic conditions imposed in terms
of the prudential rules for lending by Korean banks, will undoubtedly preclude any repetition of the mistakes
which encouraged Korean shipyards into ill-considered investments in capacity and caused some of them to
become insolvent.

In the course of the debate in the Council about future aid arrangements the Korean question was discussed at
length, as were the risks to the Community industry resulting from devaluation of the won. Member States which
are members of the IMF, and as such can affect its decisions, are fully aware of their duty to be vigilant in this

For its part the Commission, which is not a member of the IMF, nevertheless keeps a careful eye on how the
situation is developing. It will undoubtedly bring to the attention of the Council the risks of any use of aid which
would be against the interests of the Community, particularly in shipbuilding. If necessary it could propose that
Member States adopt a common position on this matter which would be forwarded to the IMF leadership with a
view to forestalling this danger.

(98/C 304/51) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0137/98
by Ilona Graenitz (PSE) to the Commission
(23 January 1998)

Subject: Recognition of sign language in the Member States

Having regard to the EP resolution of 18 July 1988 (OJ C 187, p. 236), which called for official recognition of
national sign languages in the Member States, and whereas the recognition of this non-ethnic language minority
is a fundamental and important measure for the maintenance of culture, for the quality of life and, above all, for
training opportunities for deaf people, I should like to know:
1. In which Member States has the national sign language actually been officially recognized or have
comparable measures been taken?
2. Are those countries where this has still not occurred being supported in their efforts and, if so, in what way?
3. Is the Commission aware that, in the case of the deaf, this not only involves an issue affecting the ‘disabled’
but that what is involved here is a linguistic minority, which is still not recognized in many Member States
10 years after the EP resolution?
4. Is the Commission planning to submit to the Council urgently required proposals on this issue?

Answer given by Mr Flynn on behalf of the Commission
(5 March 1998)

The Commission would refer the Honourable Member to the reply it gave to her oral question H-42/98 during
question time at Parliament’s February 1998 part-session (1).

(1) Debates of the Parliament (Februay 1998).