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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/17

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(2 July 2002)

The Commission through its Delegation in Jakarta, together with the Diplomatic Missions of the
Member States, follows closely the human rights situation in Singapore, and is aware of the case of Dr Chee
Soon Juan, leader of the Singapore Democratic Party.

The Commission can confirm that, according to sources, Senior Minister Lee Kwan Yew and Prime
Minister Goh Cho Tong are suing Dr Juan for defamation in relation to an alleged secret loan to the
Soeharto regime and that two requests made by Dr Juan to be defended by a Queen’s Counsel from
another country have been rejected by the High Court of Singapore. In the mean time, it is understood
that Dr Juan has also filed a suit for libel against Senior Minister Yew.

The Commission has noted a tendency for leading figures in Singapore to exercise their right to go to
court over political allegations, and agrees that both open debate and the rule of law are important
elements of a healthy democratic society.

(2003/C 137 E/019) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1654/02

by Ioannis Souladakis (PSE) to the Council

(11 June 2002)

Subject: Support for small airports in the European Union

Documents such as the recent proposal for a European Parliament and Council regulation on establishing
common rules in the field of civil aviation (1) security make a distinction between small and major airports.
Since small airports are absolutely vital for the economic survival and development of the Union’s island
regions, which cannot rely on passenger and freight traffic through those airports, will the Council say
whether it has taken any measures to support the operation of the airports on small islands and, if not,
whether it intends to do so?

Has the Council taken precautions to ensure that the new security measures to be implemented at
European airports are not so onerous for small island airports that they are in danger of having to suspend
their operations?

(1) COM(2001) 575  2001/0234(COD)/(15029/4/2001  C5-0033/2002, OJ C 51 E, 26.2.2002, p. 221.


(6 February 2003)

In order to respond to the challenges posed by the 11 September attacks, on 28 January 2002 the Council
adopted its common position on common rules in the field of civil aviation security, to which the
Honourable Member is referring. On 14 May 2002 the European Parliament amended that common
position. The Council was unable to accept all those amendments. Accordingly, a conciliation procedure
was opened on 19 September 2002.

At this stage it should also be noted that Article 4(3) of the common position provides for derogations for
‘small airports’, where the application of the common basic standards could prove disproportionate in the
light of a local risk assessment or where they cannot be implemented for objective practical reasons. In
such cases, it would be for the Member State to adopt measures that provide an adequate level of
protection. The Commission would be notified of these measures and decide whether they complied with
the criteria.

However, the Council cannot give its definitive position on this issue until the procedure for adopting this
Regulation has been completed.