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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/107

In short, the Commission finds that the study has clarified the current structure and functioning of the
Community market in tuna loins (principal enterprises, supply channels) and its short and medium-term

Increasing demand for loins has been met in part by steadily increasing imports into the Community. The
Commission infers that the strong trend in the Community fishery products market of ever-increasing
dependence on raw fish imports also holds good for tuna.

The study also confirms that Community enterprises’ use of tuna loins as raw material for the canning
industry is helping to improve their competitiveness both inside and outside the Union. It also claims, and
the Commission agrees, that this improvement in competitiveness is all the more necessary in that certain
parts of the Community canning industry will have to make structural adjustments if they are to be viable
in the long term.

Lastly, the Commission notes the existence of a limited but real seasonal supply deficit in the Community

For 2000, as it has done for past years, it proposed a limited quota for tuna loins. The Council has in turn
opened these quotas.

Turning to the medium term, on 17 December 1999 the Council and Commission signed an agreement
whereby an annual 4 000 tonne quota at 6 % duty will be opened for 2001-2003. This will allow
Community canners to make good the abovementioned shortfall and for those enterprises faced with the
need for structural change will facilitate the achievement of greater competitiveness on the Community
and international markets.

(2001/C 26 E/132) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0762/00
by Sebastiano Musumeci (UEN) to the Commission

(13 March 2000)

Subject: Humanitarian aid to the people of Eritrea

The conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which began in May 1998, has had a high death toll on both
sides and has led to the deportation of tens of thousands of civilians. The European Union should
cooperate with the United Nations to take more effective action in the region, on the one hand to
persuade Ethiopia to fully accept the framework peace agreement drawn up by the OAU, and on the other
to send more humanitarian aid to the peoples that are the victims of this conflict. The European Union has
guaranteed only 40 % of the humanitarian aid requested by the Eritrean authorities and this aid is reaching
its destination with considerable delay.

Can the Commission answer the following:

1. Does the Commission therefore not consider that the humanitarian aid to the victims of the conflict
should be increased?

2. What action has it taken, or does it intend to take, to expedite the delivery of the aid in question?

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(4 April 2000)

Since the outbreak of hostilities and military confrontation between Ethiopia and Eritrea the Commission,
in particular through its Humanitarian Office (ECHO), has been very actively involved in providing
assistance to the war-affected populations of Eritrea. The Commission is supporting a wide range of
humanitarian activities in the fields of water and sanitation, supplementary feeding, shelter, distribution of
food and non-food items. This assistance is in particular crucial for some 200 000 displaced people and
deportees gathering in camps.
C 26 E/108 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.2001

In 1999 the Commission, made available humanitarian assistance worth € 9.8 million in favour of the
vulnerable populations affected by the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Of that amount € 3.5 million
were destined for Ethiopia and € 6.3 million for Eritrea. The Community is thus among the major donors
providing humanitarian assistance to the displaced and deported populations in Eritrea. The Commission is
conscious of the need for an even handed approach to both countries. Nevertheless the humanitarian
needs and circumstances in Eritrea call for a more comprehensive support.

The Commission will continue to closely monitor the humanitarian situation in Eritrea. Should the
situation deteriorate the need for an adaptation of the Commission’s assistance programme will be

(2001/C 26 E/133) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0767/00
by Bart Staes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Projects in support of democracy and minority rights in Turkey

Can the Commission supply an exact list of projects to support and protect Turkish minorities and/or
relating to the Kurdish question which it has supported in the EU in the past three years under the MEDA
democracy programme?

To my astonishment, the word ‘minority’ did not appear in the description of a single project under the
MEDA programme 1996-1999, although I was under the impression that at least one conference on the
Kurdish question had received financial support.

As from 2000, does the Commission expect to be able to sponsor projects which explicitly protect and
support cultural, social and economic rights of minorities, either in Turkey itself or possibly elsewhere?
Will the Commission exert the requisite diplomatic pressure to enable these projects to proceed without

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(23 March 2000)

Under the 1996-1999 Meda democracy programme (budget line B-7050) and concerning Turkey, the
Commission financed the two projects that have now been completed. A project to strengthen civil
society, human rights and democracy in Turkey (€ 120 000) presented by the Foundation for the research
of societal problems (TOSAV) aimed to cultivate moderation in both Turkish and Kurdish communities.
A project on the training of the staff of trade unions and the establishment of a surveillance commission
for freedom of trade unions in Turkey (€ 150 000) was presented by the Confederation of progressive
trade unions of Turkey (DISK).

The Commission has not included the word ‘minority’ in its description of specific projects because the
term is understood in Turkey in a very specific legal sense, inherited from international legal instruments
of the 1920s (Treaty of Lausanne), and applied to just three recognised minority groups (Greeks, Jews and
Armenians). Other groups, which might in an Member State be described as minorities (Alevi Muslims,
Suriani Christians, Kurds, Laz, etc.) do not have this status in Turkey at present.

The conference to which the Honourable Member refers might be that organised by TOSAV in co-
operation with the Centre for applied studies in international negotiations (CANSIN) in June 1998. This
conference took place at the Centre international de conferences of the ecumenical institute (in Bossey 
Céligny) and was entitled ‘The Dialogue: A Meeting of Turkish and Kurdish Opinion Leaders in Europe’.

The Honourable Member may care to note, however, that during the period 1992-1998 the Commission
financed a number of projects under budget line B-704, intended to promote greater respect for human
rights in Turkey. The Commission is sending direct to the Honourable Member and the Parliament’s
Secretariat a list of them.