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C 26 E/74 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.


Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission
(14 April 2000)

The Honourable Member is referring to the specific measures announced by the Commission in its
communication to the Council (1) and to the fixing of export refunds for products not covered by Annex I
to the Treaty for which the rates were reduced by 4,5 % on a flat-rate basis as from 1 November 1999.

This reduction is to be replaced by the application of the abovementioned specific measures, which are
intended to ensure that refunds continue to be made for goods not covered by Annex I to the Treaty
within the framework of the budget appropriations agreed by the budgetary authority.

The specific measures comprise savings and the creation of an additional facility to allow easier access to
the inward processing arrangements to enable the Community processing industry to remain competitive
on external markets.

The rules for the application of this package of measures and their impact on the various sectors still have
to be discussed with the experts of the Member States’ delegations in the appropriate management

(1) COM(1999) 625 final.

(2001/C 26 E/092) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0636/00
by Nelly Maes (Verts/ALE) to the Council
(2 March 2000)

Subject: Repopulation of northern regions in Greece where minorities of Macedonian and Turkish origin
are resident

In January 2000 the Greek Parliament adopted a law concerning the return of Greeks coming from former
Soviet republics. This legislation states that several thousand citizens are to be accommodated in the
northern regions of Greece where sizeable minorities of Macedonian and Turkish origin (Lerin-Florina and
Xsanthi regions) are resident.

Can the Council provide detailed information on the practical arrangements for this transfer of population
in a Member States of the European Union? Can the Council confirm that thousands of citizens are to be
located in the northern provinces where there is a problem with minorities? Is the Council aware of the
consequences that significant changes in the demographic situation can produce in sensitive regions?

(8 June 2000)

The Honourable Member’s attention is drawn to the fact that it is not up to the Council to comment on
matters which are the responsibility of a Member State.

(2001/C 26 E/093) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0637/00
by Nelly Maes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission
(3 March 2000)

Subject: Recognition of Kurds as a minority and the accession of Turkey

Since the Helsinki summit in December 1999 Turkey has been accepted as a candidate state for accession
to the European Union. The conditions for membership are democratisation, improvement of the human
rights situation and respect for the criteria of the Copenhagen Treaty. The latter implies recognition of the
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/75

rights of cultural minorities. The European Parliament has already stressed the need for recognition of the
rights of the Kurds as a people in Turkey. The recognition of the Kurds as a minority signifies a step
towards the acquisition of cultural rights.

The Copenhagen Treaty criteria are not very detailed, which leaves room for interpretation. According to
statements by the Prime Minister, Mr Ecevit, at the Helsinki conference, Turkey is making efforts to
encourage the achievement of democratisation. With regard to the recognition of the Kurdish language,
the position of the Prime Minister is, however, that Turkey’s approach to south-eastern Turkey will change
when separatism is no longer an issue there. Such statements indicate that Ecevit will make full use of the
grey area with regard to whether or not the Kurds should be granted cultural rights.

There is a danger that vague concessions by Turkey would bring about accession to the European Union.
However it is clear that the measures which the Turkish state has adopted so far are not adequate either
for Turkey to be seen as a democratic country or for the rights of the Kurds as a minority, let alone as a
people, to be guaranteed.

Can the Commission indicate its position on the extent to which Turkey fulfils the accession criteria? What
is the Commission’s view on the rights of the Kurds as a cultural minority? What are the Commission’s
views on the extent to which Turkey meets the criteria of the Copenhagen Treaty and the recognition of
the rights of the Kurds as a cultural minority? What measures will the Commission take to monitor the
developments in Turkey with regard to accession and the related criteria?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(27 March 2000)

In its last regular report adopted in October 1999 (1), the Commission concluded: Recent developments
confirm that, although the basic features of a democratic system exist in Turkey, it still does not meet the
Copenhagen political criteria. There are serious shortcomings in terms of human rights and protection of
minorities […].

Concerning the question of Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin, the regular report reiterated the opinion
contained in the 1998 report that ‘a civil solution could include recognition of certain forms of Kurdish
cultural identity and greater tolerance of the ways of expressing that identity, provided it does not advocate
separatism or terrorism’.

A centrepiece of the new pre-accession strategy for Turkey, launched at the European Council in Helsinki
in December 1999, is the accession partnership (AP) to be prepared by the Commission before adoption
by the Council. The aim of this AP is mainly to set out priorities to be implemented by Turkey in all the
fields of the Copenhagen criteria (including the political field) in order to prepare Turkey for Union
membership. The monitoring of the implementation of the AP priorities will be regularly done, through
appropriate mechanisms such as the association committee as well as in the annual regular reports.

(1) COM(1999) 514 final.

(2001/C 26 E/094) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0639/00
by Joaquim Miranda (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(28 February 2000)

Subject: Natural disaster in Mozambique

Sever weather in Mozambique has already driven large numbers of people from their homes, caused heavy
loss of livestock (c. 40 000 head of cattle so far), destroyed some 70 000 hectares of crops, mainly millet
and rice, and made it extremely difficult to guarantee supplies of drinking water.