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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.
2. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 304/103

ii) Council Directive of 3 October 1989 on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation
or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities (OJ No
L 298, 17.10.1989, p. 23)
Article 12: Television advertising shall not include any discrimination on grounds of race, sex or nationality.
Article 22: Member States shall ensure that broadcasts do not contain any incitement to hatred on grounds of
race, sex, religion or nationality.
iii) Council Regulation of 2 June 1997 establishing a European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia
(OJ No L 151, 10.6.1997, p. 1).

(98/C 304/154) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0434/98


by Leonie van Bladel (UPE) to the Commission
(24 February 1998)

Subject: Freedom of the press in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia

In Bosnia campaigns are waged from time to time, at the instigation of various authorities, against independent
journalists.

In Serbia the state media are continually used for the propaganda of the ruling party, in which opposing opinions
are contradicted without any chance for both sides of the issue to be put, local TV and radio stations are
increasingly coming under the control of the ruling political parties in the various local areas, while the press is
frequently affected by ‘paper shortages’.

In Croatia, most of the media, both national and local, are under the direct or indirect control of the ruling HDZ
party and are used for propaganda purposes, again without any attempt at a balance between the two sides. The
independent media are intimidated with civil actions, brought by prominent HDZ members, often members of
the government, invariably claiming large sums of money for ‘libel’.

Can the Commission state what means are at its disposal to help improve the media situation in these countries,
which of these means it is currently using, and in which areas new instruments need to be developed?

Answer given by Mr Van den Broek on behalf of the Commission


(13 March 1998)

The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s view of the situation of the media in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and is convinced like him that the freedom of the press is crucial
to the democratisation process. Therefore, since 1994 it has been running a programme of aid to the independent
media in the countries of former Yugoslavia.

The programme is managed by the Commission and extends to all countries of former Yugoslavia except
Slovenia. Both the press and audio-visual media received subsidies during 1997: newspapers, radio, television
and news agencies.

Projects aided by the Commission relate in particular to means of producing information or programmes, the
training of journalists, improvement of the means of distribution and dissemination, and legal protection of the
media.

Last year 77 projects were approved, totalling ECU 11.24 million. The Commission means to spend about as
much in 1998 as in 1997 on its policy of aid for independent media in former Yugoslavia.

To suit the situation in the countries concerned, the Commission plans to hive off the management of modestly
sized projects to its delegations with the aim of making the implementation of programmes relating to the
independent media faster and more flexible.