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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
examined.

(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
interference?

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.
26.1.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/109

The Commission intends to continue to work to improve the protection of human rights -including the
rights of minority cultural, religious and linguistic groups  in Turkey, and will continue to target project
assistance to this end. As from year 2000, the two relevant budget lines (B-705 and B-704) will be
managed by the same Commission service, so as to enhance complementarity.

The Commission hopes that, now that Turkey is a candidate, diplomatic pressure will not be required to
ensure that projects receiving Community grant aid can operate without difficulty.

(2001/C 26 E/134) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0768/00
by Alexander de Roo (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Misleading of Brussels by the Netherlands authorities

According to the Algemeen Dagblad of 29.2.2000 (‘Overheid misleidt Brussel’  the authorities mislead
Brussels), cows at 350 Dutch dairy farms are suffering from an unidentified disease. A farm in Zelhem has
been sealed off. The cows are displaying symptoms of listlessness. There have been problems with this
unidentified disease for more than a year now. Some cows are falling down, and a few have even died.
Pursuant to Directive 92/46/EEC (1) of 16 June 1992 on hygiene rules for milk, only milk from cows
whose general state of health is not visibly impaired may be processed and sold. (See Annex A,
point 1(a)(iv)). The state of health of the cows on the above-mentioned 350 farms is visibly unsatisfactory.

1. Is the Commission aware of this situation in the Netherlands? If so, does it consider that the
Netherlands is implementing European legislation  particularly Directive 92/46/EEC  correctly?

2. If the Commission considers that the Netherlands is not implementing European legislation correctly,
how will it compel the Netherlands to do so?

(1) OJ L 268, 14.9.1992, p. 1.

(2001/C 26 E/135) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0788/00
by Marianne Thyssen (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 March 2000)

Subject: Contamination of Dutch dairy products

On 29 February there were a number of press reports on the possibility of Dutch dairy products being
contaminated by a viral infection affecting dairy cattle at 350 to 600 farms.

Although the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture has apparently known about this for some time, no ban has
been imposed on any farm and the milk from the infected animals is still being processed into drinking
milk and other dairy products.

Has the Commission been informed by the Dutch authorities of this contamination?

Can the Commission say whether the Rapid Alert System has been activated to inform the other Member
States?

Can the Commission say whether the contamination represents a risk to public health? If so, what action
does the Commission intend taking to protect public health?