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C 137 E/4 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

(2003/C 137 E/004) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1401/02


by Daniela Raschhofer (NI) to the Commission

(15 May 2002)

Subject: Situation of mentally handicapped adults in the applicant countries

According to the European Association of Societies of Persons with Intellectual Disability and their
Families (known as Inclusion Europe), the situation of mentally handicapped adults in the future Member
States is worrying. Although the situation for mentally handicapped children has improved somewhat
since the fall of the Communist regime, this is, unfortunately, not the case for adults, and instead their
existence is marked by isolation and a lack of care.

The fact that the Commission has failed to deal with this matter in its progress reports is also alarming.
The progress report on Romania refers only briefly to the situation of handicapped children.

The Commission:

1. Is it aware of the problems faced by mentally handicapped adults in the future Member States?

2. If so, why has no reference been made of them in the progress reports?

3. Is the Commission planning to raise awareness of these problems not only among the public but also
within the governments of the applicant countries?

4. Does it think it necessary to improve the situation of mentally handicapped adults in the applicant
countries?

5. If so, what form does it believe such an improvement would take?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(3 July 2002)

1. The conditions for membership of the EU require the Candidate States to fulfill the Copenhagen
Criteria and to fully transpose and implement the acquis communautaire. As the rights of people with
intellectual disabilities constitute an element of human rights, the Commission is committed to giving a full
attention to these rights in the enlargement process. Furthermore, the non-discrimination and
improvement of conditions for people with disabilities are also consonant with the principles recognised
by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union (Article 21 and Article 26).

2. The 2001 progress reports for Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania,
Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, made reference to the problems faced by disabled people in general and,
in most cases, underlined that substantial progress still has to be made.

3. The Commission’s aim is to further promote an awareness of such problems among the public at
large as well as within the governments of the Candidate Countries. In this respect the Commission hopes
that the European Year of People with Disabilities established in 2003 will also be celebrated in the wider
Europe. Candidate countries are, therefore, strongly encouraged to shadow the process of the European
Year and to prepare national actions.

Necessary arrangements have also been made to allow the participation of the candidate countries in the
Community programme to combat discrimination, which, inter alia, promotes measures to combat
discrimination based on disability.

In the context of the Accession Negotiations, the Commission will continue to monitor and support
preparations for accession in the area of non-discrimination. In particular, the Commission will be
undertaking a study which examines the legal provisions at national level in the candidate countries which
discrimination based on disability.
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/5

4. The Commission believes that an improvement in the conditions of disabled people, including
mentally handicapped adults, remains crucial in future Member States, but would also point out that
improvements are also needed in current Member States.

5. Such an improvement would require the development of co-ordinated and integrated policies and
strategies in candidate countries. It would entail, in particular, improving the social welfare infrastructure,
the mainstreaming of a disability element into all relevant levels of policy formulation, the enacting of
comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, public awareness and the mobilisation of Community
support.

(2003/C 137 E/005) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1421/02


by Karin Junker (PSE) to the Commission

(23 May 2002)

Subject: Forest dieback in Indonesia

International environmental organisations are concerned at the situation in Indonesia: of the 162 million
hectares of forest covering the island state with its rich vegetation 40 years ago, only half still remains.
Experts consider the long-term climatic and ecological repercussions to be alarming. Alongside forest fires,
local observers believe that the corrupt political system is chiefly responsible for the loss of vital resources.
They claim that the region’s autonomy has been consolidated since the fall of the former President
Suharto, and state control has become powerless. Local administrative authorities with few funds have
enriched themselves by illegally felling trees. NGOs are calling for forest reform, clear rules on ownership
and more action to combat illegal logging and corruption in order to safeguard the environment and
essential resources for future generations.

The EU is Indonesia’s second largest trading partner and the main destination for the export of goods. The
EU is also the largest external investor in the region. Over a period of four years, EUR 106 million have
been allocated to EC development programmes, mainly to support forestry. In its communication
‘Developing closer relations between Indonesia and the European Union’ (1), the Commission stresses the
need to support Indonesia in its plans for forest reform. It points out that the problems are closely linked
to the political process in Indonesia. If that process were improved, EU aid programmes  which chiefly
focus on fire prevention, sustainable forestry and preserving the ecological balance  would be more
effective.

Can the Commission answer the following questions:

 To what extent is the Commission exerting pressure on the Indonesian Government to carry through
the planned reforms?

 In what way is the Commission cooperating with local and international NGOs?

 Does the Commission see a link between the threat to Indonesia’s forests and shortcomings in the
local administrative structure?

 Does the Commission have any figures on the extent of deforestation and the scale of corruption?

 What possibilities does the Commission see for eradicating abuse and preventing illegal logging?

(1) COM(2000) 50.

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(27 June 2002)

The Commission shares the concerns expressed by the Honourable Member regarding the destruction of
forests in Indonesia, and the inadequate governance and regulation of land and forest resources, which is at