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2. 10.

98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/101

The relations between the European Union and these nations are predominantly political or economic and
commercial, in addition to particular areas covered by specific multiannual cooperation and aid programmes.

In this context the task of the ambassador is essential and of fundamental importance to relations between the
Union and those countries.

Can the Commission disclose the procedures and criteria for making diplomatic appointments of this nature?

What body or arrangements exist to check and monitor the activities of these representations and other offices
and, more generally, the way in which the system of diplomatic appointments is operated and administered?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission
(17 March 1998)

Heads of Commission Delegations are selected in accordance with the Commission’s rules on the appointment of
officials to management posts. Proposals for such appointments are also submitted to the ‘Antici Group’
(Council) for Member State opinions. If there are no objections, a request for approval is made to the
Government of the country where the new Head of Delegation is to be posted. Only when this has been granted,
and the Head of State of the country concerned has been presented with the credentials of the new Head of
Delegation can the latter fully assume his/her powers and responsibilities.

Many Commission departments monitor the work of those appointed, including the Directorate responsible for
the management of external missions, which supervises the smooth running of the Delegations and EU Offices
abroad, the Directorates-General responsible for the area concerned, Financial Control and the Delegations
Inspection Service. Furthermore there are external checks by the Court of Auditors and, under the Treaty, the
Commission is accountable to Parliament for its administration.

(98/C 304/152) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0429/98
by Spalato Belleré (NI) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Cuba

Can the Commission say whether there are any relations between the European Union and the Peoples’ Republic
of Cuba, whether political or commercial or in the form of development programmes?

In addition, does the Commission have any data or statistics or definite monitoring system with regard to the
human rights situation, and especially to infringements of fundamental rights and the conditions under which
political prisoners are detained in Cuba?

Answer given by Mr Marı́n on behalf of the Commission
(26 March 1998)

The European Union and Cuba have normal diplomatic relations. A Cuban ambassador resident in Brussels is
accredited to the Union and the Commission’s Head of Delegation in Mexico is accredited to the Cuban
government.

The two parties also conduct normal trade relations without any particular restriction. Cuba is a beneficiary of the
Community’s generalised scheme of preferences for developing countries.

Political and cooperation ties between the EU and Cuba are governed by the common position approved on 2
December 1996 and extended on 26 June and 8 December 1997. It sets out the key elements of the Union’s stance
vis-à-vis Cuba, namely:
− promotion of the process leading to a multiparty democracy, observance of human rights and fundamental
freedoms and a lasting improvement in the Cuban people’s living standards;
− opposition to change by coercive measures;
C 304/102 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 2. 10. 98

− the Union (Member States plus Commission) is willing on certain terms to grant Cuba humanitarian aid and
economic cooperation aimed at supporting reforms and opening up areas of freedom;
− a link between the Cuban regime’s progress towards democracy and intensification of cooperation ties
between the Union and Cuba, including, where appropriate, the conclusion of a cooperation agreement.

In line with the common position the Community grants assistance to Cuba worth around ECU 15 million a year,
the bulk of which is earmarked for humanitarian aid, food aid and microprojects run by European NGOs, with the
rest going to measures to support economic reform and boost a European cultural presence in Cuba.

The Commission is keeping a close eye on the human rights situation in Cuba. This task will be taken on more
and more by the ‘human rights’ working party which Member States represented in Cuba set up in 1997.

(98/C 304/153) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0430/98
by Leonie van Bladel (UPE) to the Council
(25 February 1998)

Subject: Anti-Semitic radio station in Poland

1. Has the Council heard of the Polish radio station known as ‘Maria’, which is very popular with Poles?

2. Is the Council aware that that radio station is making fierce anti-Semitic statements while it is on air?

3. Does the Council feel that radio broadcasts of this type incite people to xenophobia?

4. Is the Council prepared, during the forthcoming accession negotiations with Poland, to investigate whether
there is any provision in Polish law making xenophobia a criminal offence?

5. If not, is the Council prepared to enter into consultations with the Polish Government to discuss the
introduction of such a provision?

Answer
(28 May 1998)

Accession negotiations with Poland began on 31 March 1998. The Union’s position is that accession entails full
acceptance and implementation of the ‘acquis’. This applies in particular to the provisions concerning action to
combat racism and xenophobia and other related measures. The most important of these provisions are listed
below.
i) Joint Action of 15 July 1996 adopted by the Council on the basis of Article K.3 of the Treaty on European
Union, concerning action to combat racism and xenophobia (OJ No L 185, 24.7.1996, p. 5).
Title I A (a): In the interests of combating racism and xenophobia, each Member State shall undertake, in
accordance with the procedure laid down in Title II, to ensure effective judicial cooperation in respect of
offences based on the following types of behaviour, and, if necessary for the purpose of that cooperation,
either to take steps to see that such behaviour is punishable as a criminal offence or, failing that, and pending
the adoption of any necessary provisions, to derogate from the principle of double criminality for such
behaviour:
a) public incitement to discrimination, violence or racial hatred in respect of a group of persons or a
member of such a group defined by reference to colour, race, religion or national or ethnic origin.