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C 354/74 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 19. 11.

98

2. whether it considers that it would be appropriate to request the United States authorities for clarifications
concerning the pilots’ current legal position?
3. whether it agrees that it would be appropriate to approach the United States authorities to request that the
legal proceedings be completed as swiftly as possible, to ensure that the victims’ families obtain justice?

Answer given by Mr Santer on behalf of the Commission


(12 June 1998)

Since, as the Commission stated in its reply to the Honourable Member’s previous question E-545/98 (1), any
legal proceedings concerning the accident fall within the purview of national military authorities, the
Community, and in consequence, the Commission, has no competence in this matter. Accordingly, it is not
appropriate to express views in relation thereto.

(1) OJ C 310, 9.10.1998, p. 83.

(98/C 354/121) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1164/98


by Amedeo Amadeo (NI) and Salvatore Tatarella (NI) to the Commission
(29 April 1998)

Subject: Funding of projects for the protection of forests

The Commission has earmarked ECU 13.4 million for projects to protect forests against atmospheric pollution
and fires.

Could the Commission state which projects concern Italy, and what level of funding is envisaged for each of
them?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission


(14 May 1998)

In 1997 the Commission approved projects to protect forests against atmospheric pollution worth ECU
7.1 million (including ECU 1 million for Italy) and projects to prevent forest fires worth ECU 12.5 million
(including ECU 2.3 million for Italy). The amount of aid granted in 1997 totals ECU 19.6 million for the two
forestry protection schemes (including ECU 3.3 million for Italy), and is therefore higher than the sum mentioned
by the Honourable Member.

The Commission is forwarding the requested information on the Italian projects approved in 1997 directly to the
Honourable Member and to Parliament’s Secretariat.

(98/C 354/122) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1172/98


by Gerhard Hager (NI) to the Commission
(2 April 1998)

Subject: Enlargement − justice and home affairs

Following the informal talks in Birmingham, special attention is to be given to preserving the Union’s status quo
in the field of justice and home affairs in the accession partnerships and the manner in which it is incorporated in
the applicant countries.

1. Does the Commission have statistics in the following areas of organised crime: car theft, trafficking in
people, drug trafficking, money-laundering, trade-mark protection and corruption? Can it let me have a copy?
19. 11. 98 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 354/75

2. Does the Commission have information on the steps taken so far in the anti-corruption area, and the results
obtained?

3. What steps have been taken by the applicant countries in the field of asylum and immigration law to move
into line with the law of the Union?

4. What action has been taken by the applicant countries to set up effective customs authorities at their
external frontiers, which are of especial importance in the case of imports of prohibited goods such as drugs,
nuclear hardware or arms?

Would the Commission consider the above questions with particular reference to the narrower selection of
countries and to statistics from the period after Agenda 2000 was presented, in July 1997?

Answer given by Mrs Gradin on behalf of the Commission

(25 May 1998)

1. The Commission does not collect in a systematic manner data for the areas mentioned by the Honourable
Member.

2. In the framework of the Europe agreements and the Accession partnerships and with regard to elements of
the Justice and Home Affairs’ acquis, initiatives to improve the fight against corruption are underway or are
being developed in the applicant countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The Commission will discuss with the
applicant countries the inclusion of the fight against corruption in the national programmes for the adoption of
the ‘acquis’.

The Commission and the Council of Europe established jointly the Octopus project to assess the situation of
corruption and organised crime in 16 Central and Eastern European countries and to identify the need to improve
or amend legislation, institutions and training programmes. The final report has just become available and is
being studied. A second such project, possibly focusing on institution building in the ten candidate countries in
the fight against organised crime and corruption, is under consideration.

Through the so-called ‘catch-up facility’ the Commission has earmarked 100 MECU in the overall PHARE
budget for 1998 and 1999 to help Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and the Slovak Republic to meet the
Copenhagen criteria. The fight against corruption is one of the three priority areas identified.

Finally, the work programme of UCLAF, adopted on 6 May 1998, points to a very comprehensive pre-accession
strategy in the fight against fraud and corruption, which aims at bringing candidate countries up to standards in
this area before they have to take over the Community Policies.

3. The field of asylum was chosen as the main topic for discussion for the structured dialogue with the
candidate countries during the first half of 1997. This gave the opportunity to analyse the situation in the
candidate countries and to identify areas where improvements were needed. The candidate countries have taken
initiatives to bring legislation in the fields of asylum and immigration laws up to the standards required for
membership. Special attention is increasingly given to improving the institutional framework needed to
implement the legislation according to the standards required. Specific projects on asylum will be drawn up
under the PHARE programme. Furthermore, the assistance to candidate countries to improve their knowledge of
the Community acquis and their administrative institutional systems in the area of asylum and immigration is one
of the priorities of the joint action of 19 March 1998 adopted by the Council (1) introducing a program of training,
exchanges and cooperation in the field of asylum, immigration and crossing of external borders (the Odysseus-
programme). The first meeting of the management committee of this programme was held on 21 April 1998 and
the 1998 annual programme, which confirms the priorities, has been adopted.

4. Many actions are underway to set up effective customs authorities in the candidate countries. Much effort
has been put into the improvement of the border infrastructure and the provision of most needed detection
equipment for customs.
C 354/76 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 19. 11. 98

Work continues under a global strategy which concentrates on the creation of a modern and stable customs
legislation and also on the improvement of customs’ operational capacity (including computerisation) when it
comes to the effective implementation of the new legislation. The core of this customs pre-accession strategy is
clearly the improvement of the operational capacity of the customs administrations in question and this is also the
area where most of the future actions will be focused.

One project undertaken with Member States customs experts is designed to improve the efficiency of border
posts in the PHARE countries via the use of risk analysis techniques and the improvement of border
management. This will involve the increased use of computerised systems and improved co-operation between
the different agencies operating at and across the border.

The Commission will continue to monitor the effectiveness of all these measures and take progress into account
also in the regular review which will take place for first time this autumn.

(1) OJ C 267, 3.9.1997.

(98/C 354/123) WRITTEN QUESTION P-1180/98


by Edith Müller (V) to the Commission
(6 April 1998)

Subject: The international football matches between Germany and Nigeria on 22 April 1998 and between the
Netherlands and Nigeria on 5 June 1998

1. Can the European Commission confirm or deny that the Netherlands Foreign Minister, Mr Hans van
Mierlo, has objected publicly to a football match scheduled to be played between the Netherlands and Nigeria in
June, on the grounds that this match would breach the European Union’s sports boycott, and that the Netherlands
Minister for Development Aid, Mr Jan Pronk, said it would be ‘disgraceful if a sanction of this nature were
violated’?

2. What is the European Commission’s assessment of the Netherlands Foreign Minister’s view that the
scheduled football match between the Netherlands and Nigeria would breach the EU’s sports boycott, given that
Germany is due to play Nigeria in Cologne on 22 April 1998?

3. Can the European Commission confirm or deny a report dated 27 March 1998 from the AFP press agency
that the US President, Bill Clinton, said in Cape Town on 27 March 1998 that he would accept the nomination of
the Nigerian military dictator, Sami Abacha, for the presidential elections scheduled for August, provided that
Abacha stood as a ‘civilian’ candidate?

4. What is the European Commission’s assessment of the US President’s statement, and would it accept the
nomination of the Nigerian military dictator, Sami Abacha, for the presidential elections scheduled for August,
provided that Abacha stood as a ‘civilian’ candidate?

Answer given by Mr Pinheiro on behalf of the Commission


(20 May 1998)

The Commission is not in a position to comment on the views of ministers van Mierlo and Pronk concerning the
position of the Dutch authorities on a football match between Nigeria and Netherlands, nor their implications for
any football match between Nigeria and Germany.

The Commission has always taken the position that a ban on official sporting links with Nigeria, agreed by
Community ministers in November 1995, constitutes one of the strongest elements of the Community common
position on Nigeria, and has been reluctant to see a dilution in this measure without any discernible improvement
in the human rights position in Nigeria nor a credible, free and fair transition to democracy.