You are on page 1of 2

C 310/148 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 9. 10.

98

the safety and health of workers must be ensured as far as possible in the light of the objectives of the Directive.
This means that police force activities largely fall outside the scope of Community law on the health and safety of
workers at work and are therefore covered by substitute measures of a strictly national nature.

The Commission does not feel that any provisions of Community law have been violated. The responsibility for
solving the problem raised by the Honourable Member lies exclusively with the Italian authorities.

(1) OJ L 183, 29.6.1989.

(98/C 310/204) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0937/98


by José Escudero (PPE) to the Commission
(16 March 1998)

Subject: Cultural cooperation with Latin America

Can the Commission provide information on the arrangements for participating in cultural cooperation with
Latin America through the existing funds? Are there public tendering procedures or aid and/or cofinancing
programmes for approved and published projects which would enable citizens and cultural organizations to gain
access to participation in and the distribution of such funds?

Answer given by Mr Marı́n on behalf of the Commission


(8 April 1998)

Between 1992 and 1997 the Commission provided a total of ECU 3.5 million to finance a number of cultural
cooperation projects with Latin American countries. The main areas of cooperation were: Latin American
cultural identity and cultural dialogue, the common heritage of Europe and Latin America, the image of Latin
America in Europe, the cultural heritage and cultural tourism.

Furthermore, in accordance with Article 5 of Council Regulation No 443/92 (EEC) of 25 February 1992 on
financial and technical assistance to, and economic cooperation with, the developing countries in Asia and Latin
America (1), the Commission devotes particular attention to the cultural aspects of all the development projects it
finances in Latin America. As regards applications for and allocation of project financing, the Commission
applied the rules and standards in force at the time.

(1) OJ L 52, 27.2.1992.

(98/C 310/205) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0945/98


by Jesús Cabezón Alonso (PSE) to the Commission
(30 March 1998)

Subject: Nicaragua’s foreign debt

In Nicaragua’s budget for 1997, servicing foreign debt accounted for 11.2% of GDP, while the international
cooperation funds received amounted to 8% of GDP.

The annual burden posed by servicing and repaying debt represents a substantial percentage of the amount
gained through exports, which places a constraint on Nicaragua’s opportunities for development.

Foreign debt currently stands at $6108.5 million, 66.9% of which corresponds to bilateral debt.

How is the Commission cooperating with Nicaragua with a view to cancelling the balance and servicing of
Nicaragua’s foreign debt, which would make it possible to lay the foundations for sustainable development in
that country?
9. 10. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 310/149

Answer given by Mr Marı́n on behalf of the Commission


(21 April 1998)

The Community as such has no jurisdiction over the matter of debt raised by the Honourable Member. The
Commission cannot therefore take direct action to relieve the principal or servicing of Nicaragua’s external debt.
The Commission is nevertheless of the opinion that the debt burden borne by that highly impoverished Central
American country is excessive.

The Commission is of the same view as the Honourable Member: the percentage of its foreign-exchange income
that Nicaragua must use to service its debt annually is far too high. In that context, extensive cooperation by the
Community in a great variety of fields no doubt has a consistent macroeconomic effect, in that it contributes to
balancing the general economic situation of the country.

(98/C 310/206) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0955/98


by Gianfranco Dell’Alba (ARE) to the Commission
(16 March 1998)

Subject: UNDCP programme in Afghanistan

On 19 February 1998 the European Parliament unanimously adopted a joint resolution on the situation in
Afghanistan, which, in addition to reiterating ‘its strong condemnation of the Taliban regime and its policy of
systematic human rights abuses’ (paragraph 1), expresses an extremely critical view of the programme which the
UNDCP (United Nations Drug Control Programme) intends to carry out in Afghanistan, because of doubts
regarding its political expediency and effectiveness and its implications for democracy. The programme provides
for the allocation of funding to the Taliban regime to enable it to launch a programme for the phasing out of
opium poppy cultivation. In this context the EP claims in recital I that ‘the Taliban regime ... does not enjoy any
international legitimacy’ and in recital G that ‘only lasting peace in the region will allow the roots of this trade to
be tackled’. Consequently, the EP states (in paragraph 8) that it is ‘deeply concerned at the agreement concluded
by the UNDCP and the Taliban’ and ‘calls, therefore, on the Commission and the Member States to examine
more closely the practical arrangements for the implementation of this agreement’, going on to ask
(in paragraph 9) ‘for all aid and cooperation programmes (with the exception of humanitarian aid) to remain
suspended until the government in Afghanistan shows respect for the human rights of men and women’.

The Vice-President of the Commission Mr Marin said in plenary ‘we too undoubtedly share Parliament’s doubts
concerning the viability of the large-scale crop conversion programme proposed by the UNDCP, and we do not
feel at present that the situation in Afghanistan is right for the introduction of an alternative development
programme to combat the cultivation of opium poppies’.

Since the EU and the Member States are among the main contributors to the UNDCP programmes, what response
does the Commission intend to make or has it already made to this declaration by the EP?

In particular, can the Commission ensure that no specific contribution will be made by the Community towards
funding this programme?

Answer given by Mr Marin on behalf of the Commission


(2 April 1998)

The Commission shares the Parliament’s doubts concerning the feasibility of the United Nations drug control
(UNDCP) programme in Afghanistan under the present circumstances.

In fact, these doubts are also shared by the Member States and therefore the Community has recently approved
guidelines for donors who are considering giving assistance to UNDCP projects. According to these guidelines
donors will ‘try to ensure that projects and future programmes aimed at achieving poppy eradication are realistic
and workable’ and ‘underline to UNDCP the importance of responding to donor concerns about its programme,
including that its plans should be compatible with the United Nations wider political and aid objectives in
Afghanistan, should take account of concerns about human rights and gender ...’.