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C 26 E/22 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.

2001

Lastly, the Community guidelines leave the Member States considerable freedom to grant aid to cover the
social costs arising from these restructuring processes.

(1) OJ C 363, 25.11.1998.
(2) OJ C 288, 9.10.1999.

(2001/C 26 E/025) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0225/00
by Daniel Hannan (PPE-DE) to the Council
(28 January 2000)

Subject: European Working Groups

The European Parliament has no power of scrutiny over the European Working Groups. Indeed little is
know of them even in national parliaments.

Will the Council supply a list of all Working Groups formed, together with their statement of purpose;
designated level and department of national representation; and brief statement of subject matter presently
under discussion?

Reply
(8 June 2000)

The Council attaches the greatest importance to openness and transparency in the European Union’s
decision-making process. It underlines that the European Working Groups to which the Honourable
Member refers must not be confused with the committees set up to assist the European Commission
within the general framework of the Decision on Committee Procedure of 28 June 1999.

Bearing this in mind, the Council would inform the Honourable Member that, as part of the reforms to
ensure an effective Council for an enlarged Union, it has recently streamlined and reduced the number of
its preparatory bodies, which are now established in an official list. That list specifies the committees and
working parties directly involved in preparing work for Council meetings and will be implemented
gradually. It will be updated to take account of any changes. The work of all such preparatory bodies is
of course subordinate to, and scrutinised by, the Council.

Subsequent to the procedure for amending the Council’s Rules of Procedure, which is still being finalised,
the General Secretariat of the Council is responsible for publishing the list of those preparatory bodies.
A copy of that list will accordingly be sent to the Honourable Member.

(2001/C 26 E/026) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0227/00
by José Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra (PPE-DE)
and Gerardo Galeote Quecedo (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(4 February 2000)

Subject: Arrest of moderate dissidents in Cuba

The moderate dissidents, Osvaldo Payá Sardinas and Hector Palacios, were recently arrested in Cuba, after
first being taken to an unknown destination. According to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and
National Reconciliation, more than 300 dissidents and human rights activists have been arrested
since November 1999.

Is the Commission aware of these facts?

What are its views on these arrests?

Does it intend to take any action on this matter?
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/23

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(8 March 2000)

The Commission follows the human rights situation in Cuba closely  and in particular the case of
political dissidents  through monitoring carried out by the human rights working group made up of
representatives of Member States’ embassies and the Commission in Havana. Through declarations and
approaches at local level, the Union has regularly expressed its disapproval to the Cuban authorities
regarding the treatment of political dissidents and activists.

The Commission is aware of the detention of those dissidents in the last months. To the best of the
Commission’s knowledge, the majority of cases have been short detentions (Cuban human rights groups
claim that the number of detainees that would have to face trial is around 11 out of 262) but the
Commission still believes its importance must not be underestimated.

The Commission was also informed about the detention of Osvaldo Payá and Hector Palacios on
25 January 2000. It has learned that the two were released after being interrogated by security officers.
On that basis, the Union has agreed not to undertake formal action on the matter at this stage. The
Commission will nevertheless continue to work towards pursuing the common goals of promoting human
rights in Cuba and will take advantage of any opportunity to raise the issue with the Cuban authorities.

(2001/C 26 E/027) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0247/00
by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(7 February 2000)

Subject: Withholding of the premium for tobacco producers for the Community Tobacco Fund

In its resolution of 17.7.1997 (1) on the common organisation of the market in raw tobacco, the European
Parliament called on the Commission to supply information on the activities so far of the Tobacco
Research and Information Fund as a precondition for any agreement to increase the resources available
to it.

1. Has any information been published about the use of the resources withheld between 1993 and
1988 by the Tobacco Research and Information Fund? Which programmes have been funded for Greece
so far?

2. Given that no implementing regulation has been issued to increase the deduction decided by Council
Regulation 1636/98 (2) on the Community Tobacco Fund, does the Commission intend to examine the
possibility of not withholding the premium for tobacco producers for the above Fund in 1999?

(1) OJ C 286, 22.9.1997, p. 237.
(2) OJ L 210, 28.7.1998, p. 23.

Supplementary answer
given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(3 April 2000)

1. In connection with the Community fund for tobacco research and information, set up pursuant to
Article 13 of Council Regulation (EEC) No 2075/92 of 30 June 1992 on the common organisation of the
market in raw tobacco (1), the Commission issued two invitations to submit proposals (on 1 July 1994 and
30 April 1996) covering both the fields for which the fund was set up: information and research.

On the research side, the first invitation resulted in three projects being selected for a Community
contribution of € 5,9 million, the second in six projects being selected for a Community contribution of
€ 6,5 million.