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C 137 E/6 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

the root of the problem. The reported rate of deforestation, if continued, could eliminate the majority of
the remaining virgin forests in Indonesia in less than twenty years. Corruption is reportedly related to the
allocation of logging permissions, but it is very difficult to quantify the scales involved.

The Commission is implementing measures within its present and proposed future co-operation with
Indonesia to try to ameliorate the management of forests in Indonesia. It has, for some years now, been
leading the international donors within the Consultative Group policy discussions with Indonesia in
pressing for reform in the forestry and land governance sectors. Through ongoing dialogue with the
authorities and by including specific conditions and governance aspects in ongoing projects, preservation
of the forests is being encouraged. In particular, since 2001, the Commission is financing the creation and
operation of the Illegal Logging Response Centre in the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, which specifically
deals with the reporting and control of illegal logging abuses in Indonesia.

At the international level, the Commission is also promoting the implementing and strengthening of
measures aimed at the conservation and sustainable management of forests, for example, in the United
Nations (UN) Forum on Forests, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Tropical
Timber Organisation. It also participated in the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT)
conference in Bali in September 2001. As a follow-up to that Ministerial conference the Commission held
in Brussels in April 2002 an international workshop on Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade
(FLEGT). This was attended by the main stakeholder experts from the Member States, other main wood-
producing and importing countries, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the forest industries. It
examined ways of establishing mechanisms for identifying legal/illegal wood production, providing a
legality licence, new legislation to prohibit import of illegal wood products into the Community, and due
diligence criteria for lending to wood-producing operations, as well as proper sourcing for public
contracts. The Commission declared in its Communication ‘Towards a Global Partnership for Sustainable
Development’ (1) that it would ‘develop a European Union action plan by end 2002 on Forest Law
Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) to combat illegal logging and associated illegal trade and to
strengthen international co-operation to address violations of forest law, and forest crime.’ Accordingly, the
Commission itself is now producing a Communication for an EU FLEGT action programme.

The Commission agrees that improved governance at national and regional levels is essential to making
progress in forests management in Indonesia. This is why the Country Strategy for Community assistance
to Indonesia 2002-2006 is focused on two inter-related sectors, which are good governance and the
sustainable management of Indonesia’s natural resources  especially the forests. The programme of
assistance foreseen includes allocations of funding to reinforce the process of decentralisation and to
consolidate the judicial system within Indonesia, particularly related to management of forests, land rights
and natural resources.

(1) COM(2002) 82 final.

(2003/C 137 E/006) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1427/02

by Glyn Ford (PSE) to the Commission

(23 May 2002)

Subject: Treatment of non-denominational organisations and groups in candidate countries

Due to the inferior status accorded to non-denominational citizens and NGOs representing non-
denominational life stances, compared to that of religious people and NGOs in the Czech Republic,
the Slovak Republic and Poland, does the Commission intend to ensure that respect of the rights of these
groups forms part of the agenda during the accession negotiation process of these countries?
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/7

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(28 June 2002)

Respect of human rights, including non-discrimination, are among those essential political criteria that
candidate countries must fulfil in order to become members of the Union. The treatment of non-
denominational citizens and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) representing non-denominational life
stances has to match with those principles.

The Commission continues to monitor closely and assess developments in this area, in particular in the
context of preparation of the 2002 Regular Reports. The assessment will draw upon all available sources
of information, including any relevant NGO reports.

(2003/C 137 E/007) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1428/02


by Isidoro Sánchez García (ELDR) to the Council

(23 May 2002)

Subject: Crisis in Venezuela

Venezuela, a Latin-American Republic with a great democratic tradition, which is home to hundreds of
thousands of Community citizens, enjoys extremely cordial relations with the European Union and its
Member States, for a variety of reasons.

As the Council is aware, on 11 April 2002, Venezuela experienced an extraordinary socio-political crisis,
involving bloodshed, which turned the lives of Venezuela’s citizens upside down to the point where there
was an ephemeral change of President of the Republic due to a singular combination of socio-political
circumstances which many of us were surprised by and are concerned about.

In the context of Article 32 of the TEU, which deals with relations between the European Parliament and
Council in foreign policy and security matters, what is the Council’s evaluation of this crisis, and what
measures does it intend to adopt, if appropriate, in the near future with regard to the situation which has
arisen in Venezuela?

Reply

(6 February 2003)

1. The Council would draw the Honourable Member’s attention to its earlier reply to question
P-1263/02 put by Mihail Papayannakis on the same topic.

The Council has followed closely the evolution of the political and social events that led to the violence on
11 April and the breach in constitutionality in Venezuela.

2. On Friday 12 April, Spain, as Presidency of the Council of the European Union, issued a declaration
on the situation in Venezuela strongly condemning the loss of human lives and conveying its condolences
to the relatives of the victims. The Presidency also expressed its full support and solidarity to the people of
Venezuela and appealed for an end to all violent actions. Finally it called for the transitional government to
respect democratic values and institutions with a view to overcoming the crisis in a framework of national
concord and in full respect for basic rights and freedoms.

3. Since then, the EU has taken the opportunities offered in the framework of its relations with
Venezuela to convey its satisfaction with the re-establishment of democratic institutions and supports
President Chavez’s moves towards reconciliation and dialogue so that the Venezuelan people may fully
develop its democracy.

4. The Council has repeatedly underlined the importance it attaches to the development of the rule of
law and for the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.