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C 310/142 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

The Commission has taken note of the growing interest in ‘fair trade’ products, and has been investigating what
further support could be offered to ‘fair trade’ initiatives in a World trade organisation (WTO) compatible
manner. The results of this investigation should be available in the near future. As part of this analysis, an
Eurobarometer survey assessed the level of demand for ‘fair trade’ bananas. The results of this survey, which are
of assistance to those who wish to promote ‘fair trade’ products, show that there is considerable demand from
Community consumers.

(98/C 310/192) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0869/98


by Hilde Hawlicek (PSE) to the Commission
(26 March 1998)

Subject: European educational cooperation in southeastern Europe

Southeastern Europe, the ‘Balkans’, is a sensitive region in security terms. While educational cooperation may
promote and improve peace, stability and democracy, it cannot solve the political problems.

As the EU is an immediate neighbour of this region, it has a particular responsibility towards the countries of
southeastern Europe. Aware of this responsibility, I wish to put the following questions:
1. Does the Commission use educational cooperation as an important tool for confidence-building measures in
southeastern Europe? Have there already been or is the Commission planning actions, conferences or
anything similar on this subject?
2. Is there any coordination among the various directorates-general with respect to a joint approach in
educational cooperation (e.g. DG XXII with Socrates and Leonardo; PHARE with the construction of
schools and the like, and with ECHO, etc.)?

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


(30 April 1998)

1. The Commission believes in the importance of education and vocational education in helping to bring
about mutual cooperation, peace and stability in the region. To this end, the Commission, through its Phare
programme, provides financial support to the Tempus higher education reform programme as well as to
vocational education via a vocational education and training programme. The implementation of the second
programme is under the responsibility of the European training foundation in Turin in coordination with the
Commission. Various school rehabilitation projects have been undertaken in Bosnia and Albania.

Since 1995, the funds have been allocated for Tempus higher education to Albania 1995-1999 (5 MECU
allocated and already disbursed; further 700 000 MECU planned in 1998), to Bosnia 1996-1998 (4 MECU of
which 1.5 MECU pre-Tempus), and to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) 1996-1997
(4 MECU).

The general objective of Tempus is to restructure the higher education system of these countries which means
reviewing the curricula and reforming the management of higher education institutions. Tempus is presently
rethinking its approach in order to see how best to use higher education as a tool for facing up to the geo-political
and socio-economic difficulties which exist in the region.

As for vocational education and training, funds have been allocated from the Phare programme for Albania
(ECU 700 000 project due to end in May 1998), Bosnia (3.5 MECU project which is in its inception phase) and
FYROM (2.8 MECU project also in its inception phase). This programme targets secondary vocational education
and training and develops a strategy upgrading the system in such a way that students are better prepared for
national and international job markets. It helps to introduce a regional approach to the system and strengthen
links between the scholastic institutions and the local communities and businesses.

2. Close coordination exists inside the Commission in the conception and implementation of education
programmes in the region.