C 134 E/100 (2002/C 134 E/102


Official Journal of the European Communities WRITTEN QUESTION E-2779/01 by Adeline Hazan (PSE) to the Council (10 October 2001) Subject: Proposal for a directive on family reunification



On the eve of the JHA Council meeting (27-28 September 2001) at which the proposal for a directive on the right to family reunification is due to be discussed, I am concerned about the future of this piece of legislation which is vital to the building of a European area of justice, freedom and security. Some Member States seem to want to pull back as they approach a decision on the establishment of a right to family reunification. Substantial changes would, as a result, be made to the basic proposal. And yet, is this proposal not a first practical and courageous step towards the communitisation of the third pillar? Does the Council support this move? Is it in favour of: 1. 2. 3. 4. extending to more than one year the period before which nationals of third countries may not be authorised to apply for family reunification? applying a narrow definition of the term ‘family’ to mean only the family nucleus, excluding relatives in the ascending line, unmarried couples and adult dependent children? refusing to grant family members the right to work on arrival in the host Member State? allowing states to withdraw the residence permits from members of reunified families if the conditions laid down are not met within two years of reunification?

In September 2000 the European Parliament did not take this view. Can the Council undertake to give its firm and definitive backing to the European Parliament’s position? Will it endeavour to contribute to the elimination of ideologies based on a selective and anachronistic vision of European citizenship?

Reply (12 February 2002) Since the Council’s reply to Written Question P-1597/01, put by the Honourable Member in May 2001, discussions in Council bodies have focused mainly on a number of basic issues such as the definition of ‘family member’, the rights to be granted to persons who may qualify for family reunification and the various time limits to be adopted. Despite the intense discussions conducted by the Swedish and Belgian Presidencies, it has not yet been possible to bring Member States’ positions closer together on these sensitive issues. At its meeting on 27 and 28 September 2001, the JHA Council held a discussion based on key issues identified by the Presidency, namely: the treatment of unmarried partners; the age of minor children who can benefit from the right to family reunification; the time limits/waiting periods to which the sponsor and/or family members may be subject in order to benefit from the rights granted by the Directive. With regard in particular to the scope of the Directive, the Presidency endeavoured to find a compromise solution identifying three different categories of family members who may qualify for the right to family reunification, based on closeness of family ties: spouse and minor children (‘the nuclear family’) direct ascendants and children of full age; unmarried partners.



Official Journal of the European Communities

C 134 E/101

The solution stipulates an obligation to grant family reunification to members of the nuclear family, while Member States are free to grant the right to the other two categories if they so wish. However, it also provides that, if Member States decide to allow family reunification for direct ascendants, children of full age and unmarried partners, they must grant those family members the treatment laid down in the Directive. The Presidency then endeavoured to specify different levels of rights depending on the closeness of family ties. Discussion on all these issues is continuing. The different traditions and approaches in the Member States demonstrate how sensitive these issues are. However, the Council has noted a willingness on all sides to seek pragmatic solutions quickly to the matters still outstanding.

(2002/C 134 E/103)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-2780/01 by Armando Cossutta (GUE/NGL) to the Commission (9 October 2001)

Subject: Call to tender for the trans-European telecommunications network The call for tenders for projects involved in the creation of trans-European telecommunications networks was published on 28 July 2001 (1). The stated deadline is 7 September 2001 (for the submission of projects). 1. Does the Commission not consider that the period of time between publication of the notice and the deadline (41 days in all) was excessively short, especially considering that most of the potential participants would have been working less during that period (the month of August)? 2. What means were used to inform the those potentially interested?

3. How many of those who have already responded are taking part, negotiating or have already taken part in other TEN-Telecom projects?
(1) OJ C 211, 28.7.2001.

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission (12 December 2001) While the delay between the call publication in the Official Journal and its close was shorter than normal, the Commission took steps to inform potential proposers of the forthcoming call in order to assist them in preparation before the summer period. In addition to publication in the Official Journal, the transEuropean (TEN)-Telecom programme maintains a web site which contained notification of the call and an advance information which was placed on the site in May 2001. All visitors to this site are asked to register, and are then sent e-mail notifications of events such as the call 2001/1. Further dissemination takes place through national information days organised in the Member States with the help of Commission staff. These mechanisms were put into operation before the publication of the call, subject to the advice to recipients that the information was of a provisional nature pending publication in the Official Journal. The Commission organised an information day concerning this call on 19 June 2001, which was announced through the TEN-Telecom web-site and mailing lists; 3 959 invitations were sent on 29 May 2001, fourteen weeks before the call closure. 430 persons registered for the Commission information day, and a further 404 participated in national information days. It was necessary to close the call early in September 2001 so that proposals could be properly evaluated, selected for funding and brought to contract before the end of budget year 2001.