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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/31

(2001/C 26 E/043) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0303/00
by Hartmut Nassauer (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(11 February 2000)

Subject: European Union accession negotiations with the Czech Republic

At the 1993 Copenhagen Summit the European Council confirmed its determination to ensure that all
people are protected against infringements of fundamental rights and freedoms. The European Council
referred amongst other things to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination. The Convention contains a requirement to abolish discriminatory laws and regulations.

How does the Commission view the fact that, in spite of the above, the Benesch decrees (dating from 1945
and 1946) and the amnesty law (1946) are still valid in the Czech Republic, although they are explicitly
directed against individual ethnic groups?

(2001/C 26 E/044) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0398/00
by Hartmut Nassauer (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(15 February 2000)

Subject: Accession negotiations with the Czech Republic

In its opinion on Poland’s application for membership of the EU, the Commission stated that Poland must
complete the process of compensating people whose property was expropriated.

Can the Commission say whether it has made such demands of the Czech Republic, where compensation
for the expropriation of property in similar circumstances has not yet taken place?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-0293/00, E-0294/00, E-0295/00, E-0296/00, E-0297/00,
E-0298/00, E-0299/00, E-0300/00, E-0301/00, E-0302/00, E-0303/00 and E-0398/00
given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(20 March 2000)

The accession negotiations with the Czech Republic concern principally its acceptance of and alignment
with the ‘acquis’ of the European Union and its ability to satisfy the conditions for membership established
by the European Council. As a Member State, the Czech Republic will have to adopt and implement all
areas of Community legislation and policy, including the principles of free movement of people and
freedom of establishment. The issue raised by the Honourable Member has to be seen foremost in that
context, but obviously also the political criteria of Copenhagen play a role given the fact that they contain
the protection of the human rights and the protection of the rights of minorities. The Commission is
closely monitoring developments on these matters in all the candidate countries.

It is, however, important to notice that the issue put forward in these questions relates to events which
took place before the entry into force of the EC Treaty. The so-called Benesch decrees will therefore play
no role in the accession negotiations. Moreover, Article 295 (ex-Article 222) EC Treaty states that the
Treaty shall in no way prejudice the rules in the Member States governing the system of property
ownership. The Commission is thus not in a position to intervene in questions relating to restitution of
property in a current or future Member State.

However, the Czech Republic has been a party to the European Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights (ECHR) since 1992. The implementation of the ECHR is the responsibility of the Council of Europe.
Questions concerning issues arising under this convention should therefore be best addressed to the
Council of Europe.