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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/15

What is the Commission’s stance regarding this issue?

Does the Commission agree that steps should be taken in order to avoid the deforestation of an area four
times the size of Portugal?

Will the Commission also agree that deforestation on this scale will lead to further environmental

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(20 June 2002)

The Commission is very concerned about the ongoing high rates of global deforestation and forest
degradation and has endeavoured to promote the conservation and sustainable use of all types of forests.
The Commission fully recognises the Amazon forest’s importance as one of the most valuable forests of
the world (especially in terms of biodiversity).

Two years ago a committee of the Brazilian Congress began debating a revision of the Forest Code, which
would have changed the required percentage of forest reserve on private land only. The Brazilian
Government has strongly resisted this and discussions have been put on a back burner.

There is currently no ‘project that will reduce the Amazon forest to 50 % of its size’. Neither is any vote in
plenary likely to take place soon in the Brazilian Congress. Brazilian non-governmental organisations
(NGOs), public opinion in Brazil and the Brazilian media have made a strong campaign against the
proposals and are closely monitoring the situation.

Based on the above-mentioned, the Commission is closely monitoring the situation in the Brazilian
Congress, in particular in the light of the up-coming general elections in Brazil in October 2002.

The Commission is also continuing its support to the Pilot Programme of the group of seven most
industrialised countries in defence of the Brazilian tropical forests.

(2003/C 110 E/015) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1397/02

by Concepció Ferrer (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(15 May 2002)

Subject: 2004 national indicative programme for China  health and plant-protection rules

The Commission has announced that a group of Community experts were due to visit China in April in
order to hold meetings for the purpose of drawing up a fresh proposal for a 2004 national indicative
programme for China  one which, it is hoped, will include a major component relating to health and
plant-protection rules.

Will the Commission report on that visit and provide an assessment with regard to the inclusion of a
health and plant-protection component in the above programme?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(21 June 2002)

A team of four experts started its activities in China on 13 May 2002 to study the feasibility of a new
World Trade Organisation (WTO) related technical assistance programme, based on an analysis of the
objectives, strategies and future needs of China, and on a mid-term evaluation of the ongoing Framework
Programme for Community support to China’s accession to the WTO.

The outcome of this expert mission should allow the Commission to agree with China on the content of a
new programme and to adopt this programme in the second part of the year 2002.
C 110 E/16 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.2003

Without pre-judging the final content of the programme, a common understanding was reached at the
Community-China Joint Committee in January 2002 that it should include a substantial health and plant
protection component.

Once the Commission has adopted the programme and a Financing Agreement with China has been
signed, the programme content and a regular update of implementation status will be available on the
website of the Commission Delegation in Beijing, as the Delegation will be responsible for the
management of the programme.

(2003/C 110 E/016) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1461/02

by Hanja Maij-Weggen (PPE-DE) to the Commission
(23 May 2002)

Subject: Arrest of 10 journalists in Eritrea

Background information:
 Yosef Mohamed Ali (m), editor in chief, Tsigenay;
 Amanuel Asrat (m), editor in chief, Zemen;
 Seyoum Tsehaye (m), freelance editor/photographer, former director of Eritrean state television;
 Temesgen Gebreyesus (m), reporter, Keste Debena;
 Mattewos Habteab (m), editor, Meqaleh;
 Dawit Habtemichael (m), assistant editor in chief, Meqaleh;
 Medhanie Haile (m), assistant editor in chief, Keste Debena;
 Dawit Isaac (m), reporter, Setit (Swedish citizen);
 Fessahaye Yohannes (‘Joshua’) (m), reporter, Setit;
 Said Abdulkadir (m), editor in chief, Admas.

Is the Commission aware of the arrest of the 10 journalists referred to above?

Is the Commission prepared to ask for an explanation from the Government of Eritrea concerning these

What steps can the Commission take to obtain the release of these journalists and prevent arrests of this
kind in future?

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(25 June 2002)

The Commission is aware of the arrest of the journalists referred to. The political developments in Eritrea
since September 2001 are of grave concern to the Commission. The Commission considers the arrest of
political dissidents as well as of journalists, the banning of the free press, and the postponement of the
parliamentary elections as a serious setback to political development in Eritrea.

The Commission deplores that no decision has been taken on issues such as when the detainees will be
brought to justice or freed and that the formation of political parties has been postponed. It is hoped that
the Committee that was created to look at the future of the press in Eritrea will soon allow lifting the
suspension of the private press.

The Commission is working with the Presidency and the Member States towards a firm response to the
present crisis and believes that the dialogue should be maintained in the framework of Article 8 of the
Cotonou Agreement.