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4.12.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 340 E/7

(2001/C 340 E/006) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3957/00


by Nelly Maes (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(13 December 2000)

Subject: Rule of law in Romania

Is the Commission aware that the Romanian Justice Minister, Valeria Stoica, recently had the organisation
‘Pro-Transylvania’ declared unlawful, despite the universal right of association?

If not, when will the Commission institute an inquiry into the matter?

If so, does the Commission feel that such conduct may be reconciled with the principles of the rule of law?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(12 February 2001)

The 2000 Regular Report from the Commission on Romania’s Progress Towards Accession (1) observed
that the freedom to associate is respected in Romania and that the treatment of national minorities is
satisfactory. Furthermore, the Romanian constitution provides for freedom of association  with the
exception of organisations whose goals and activities are against the principles of the state (including the
sovereignty and integrity of Romania).

It is the Commission’s understanding that the articles of establishment of ‘Pro-Transilvania’ call for ‘regional
autonomy’ for Transilvania. This has led to a detailed legal debate within Romania over whether or not
‘regional autonomy’, as used in this context, can be interpreted as being contrary to the integrity of the
Romanian state and is therefore unconstitutional. After several hearings in lower courts, the Court of
Appeal decided that Pro-Transilvania’s articles of establishment, in their current formulation, were
unconstitutional. A direct consequence of this ruling is that the organisation cannot be given a legal status.

The legal arguments related to this case are complex and involve an assessment of whether the provisions
of the Romanian constitution, as have been interpreted in this case, constitute an unjustified prohibition
on the freedom of association. It is not within the competence of the Commission to assess the
interpretation by Romanian courts of the Romanian constitution. Since Romania is a signatory to the
European Convention on Human Rights, and considering that domestic appeal procedures have been
exhausted, the appropriate body to assess such a case is the European Court of Human Rights.

The criteria for accession to the Union, as set out at the 1993 Copenhagen European Council, make
explicit reference to the need for ‘stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human
rights and respect for and protection of minorities’. The Commission is fully committed to ensuring that
this condition for accession is respected and will take up any relevant cases in its regular reports on
candidate countries’ progress towards accession and in its bilateral relations with them.

(1) COM(2000) 710 final.

(2001/C 340 E/007) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3972/00


by Peter Skinner (PSE) to the Commission

(20 December 2000)

Subject: WTO challenge by Canada to French Chrysotile Ban

On 18 September 2000 the WTO announced that the EU’s defence of the French ban on chrysotile had
been upheld. The hard work of the EU defence team and the support of the EU’s expert witnesses were