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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 103 E/135

(2001/C 103 E/150) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2367/00

by Alexandros Alavanos (GUE/NGL) to the Commission

(13 July 2000)

Subject: Consequences for rice growing of the Commission’s proposals for a review of the regulation

The Community rice market is facing serious problems, mainly owing to the increase in imports after
1994/1995 as a result of the implementation of the GATT agreement and the preferential arrangements
(tariff quotas, ACP). Between 1996 and 1999 average domestic prices fell to levels far below the
intervention price, and in Greece prices of Indica rice were particularly low. The Commission has proposed
addressing the problem of the large rice stocks and the impact of these stocks on the Community budget
by abolishing the intervention mechanism, a move that will deprive Community producers of even the
minimal protection provided by intervention. The producers’ organisations COPA and Cogeca are opposed
to abolishing intervention and have proposed changes in the method of calculating the tariffs and the
renegotiation of the preferential agreements with third countries.

1. What impact will the proposed changes in the regulation have on rice production and the incomes
of rice producers?

2. How will it protect Community rice production and the incomes of rice producers, given that the
proposal itself takes the view that they will fall as a result of the abolishment of intervention?

3. Does it intend to accept the proposal by COPA and Cogeca firstly to renegotiate the EU’s trade
agreements and then to examine the review of the COM in rice, if necessary?

4. The abolishment of intervention will generate savings of € 38 million a year. Will it examine the
possibility of funding programmes for improving the quality of, and modernising, the rice sector from the
savings in question?

Answer given by Mr Fischler on behalf of the Commission

(3 October 2000)

There is a serious imbalance on the European rice market.

This situation results in high financial outlays because rice in intervention deteriorates after two or three
years of storage.

Having carefully weighed up all the possible options, the Commission concluded that including the rice
sector in the arrangements for arable crops and abolishing the intervention price would achieve a balance
between supply and demand while also maintaining rice growers’ incomes.

The proposed changes are expected to increase the competitiveness of Community rice but also market

Producer incomes will be maintained because any market price fluctuations in the absence of the
intervention price will be compensated for by the increase in the compensatory payments, which will be
€ 63 a tonne for cereals as from the 2001/2002 marketing year, in place of the current € 52,65 a tonne.

The Commission intends to act on import arrangements in accordance with its international obligations on
agriculture under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
C 103 E/136 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 3.4.2001

The Commission does not intend to fund quality improvement or modernisation programmes in the rice

The Commission feels that this proposal will enable the Community rice growers to benefit from market
balance, while complying with its obligations under the GATT.

(2001/C 103 E/151) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2368/00

by Ioannis Marínos (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(13 July 2000)

Subject: Widespread use of torture in Turkey

According to a report in the New York Times from an Istanbul correspondent (which was reproduced in
the Greek newspaper ‘To Vyma’ on 6 June 2000) Turkey is one of the countries where torture is very
widely used against both prison inmates and detainees in police stations. This is the conclusion reached by
the Turkish MPs in theTurkish Parliament’s committee on monitoring human rights in Turkey. As the New
York Times points out, the report drawn up by the Turkish MPs after two years’ exhaustive investigations
and controls contains photographs of instruments of torture, sketches of special torture chambers and
interviews with prisoners. The newspaper goes on to say that the recent report by the US State
Department contained similar findings.

The reputed newspaper ‘European Voice’ also carries an extensive report in its edition of 15-21 June 2000
on progress made by Turkey in meeting the commitments about respecting human rights it made
last December in Helsinki. The newspaper draws attention to the discussions about this problem among
senior EU officials and the dissatisfaction expressed by Mr Günter Verheugen, the Commissioner
responsible for enlargement, who stated in an interview with Turkish officials last April that he viewed
with some concern the lack of progress achieved since Helsinki in this field.

Can the Commission say whether it has been informed about the torture of prisoners in Turkey (a
candidate country for EU accession), what its findings are from investigations carried out by its services
into this matter, to what extent it considers that the human rights of Turkish citizens are being respected
and what measures it intends to take to prevail upon Turkey to put an end to the use of methods which
are at odds with the conduct and operating methods of a well-governed democratic European state?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(12 September 2000)

The Commission has been informed of the content of six reports on daily practice in various detention
centres and prisons as compiled by the human rights investigation committee of the Turkish Parliament.
Two more reports are to be published soon. The Commission considers the findings a valuable input to
the work related to the preparation of the accession partnership (political part) which it will adopt
in November 2000.

During this work, the Commission will also take account of the recommendations on the issue by
international organisations, such as by the European committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman
or degrading treatment of punishment (CPT) from the Council of Europe. The recommendations cover
amendments in Turkish legislation with respect to doctors, during the pre-trial retention and judicial
review of the detention. Training courses for police and other authorities are also recommended.

In general the Commission supports all efforts made in Turkey in the cause of eradicating torture.