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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/25

Finally, the importance of the ratification of the Association Agreements with Morocco (1) and Algeria (2) in
this context should not be underestimated. These agreements foresee a regular and institutional political
dialogue between the Union and each related country.

(1) In force since 1 March 2000.

(2) Signed in Valencia, on 22 April 2002, needs to be ratified by every national parliament as well as by the Parliament.

(2003/C 137 E/027) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1757/02

by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Commission
(19 June 2002)

Subject: Possible exclusion from elections, or unequal treatment, of political parties on the basis of the
parties’ manifestos or ideologies as a consequence of a draft law in the Slovak Republic

1. Does the Commission agree with me that the only political system acceptable in current and future
Member States of the EU must be a parliamentary democracy in which political parties may not be banned
from legally existing as an organisation or excluded from participation in elections on the basis of a
parliamentary majority which rejects their manifestos or ideologies?

2. Is the Commission aware that, on 25 April 2002, three members of the Obcianska Konservativna
Strana (Civic Conservative Party) in the Slovak Parliament (Národná Rada Slovenskej Republiky) tabled a
motion seeking the incorporation in the Penal Code, as from 1 July 2002, of a new § 261 whereby any
person who, in public, expressed support for Fascism, Communism or other movements of that nature as
listed in § 260 or who denied, doubted, approved or tried to justify the crimes committed by those
movements would be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of between six months and three years? Is it
further aware that, on the basis of a narrow majority secured in a parliamentary committee, that motion
will be put to the vote in plenary before the end of June?

3. Does the Commission share the view notified to me by the author of the motion, Frantisek Sebej,
that the new provision is aimed solely at making denial of political crimes committed in the past into a
criminal offence, similar to of the criminalisation of the offence of denial of the Holocaust (the mass
extermination of human beings in concentration camps such as Auschwitz), or does it acknowledge a
justification for the fear that the provision might be used, or misused, now or at some time in the future,
to prohibit the formation of political parties on the basis of their ideology and to exclude them from
participating in elections?

4. Is the Commission prepared to point out to the Slovak Parliament and Government in no uncertain
terms that acceptance or prohibition of political parties on the basis of their manifestos and ideologies, as
occurred in the past, is absolutely incompatible with Slovakia’s application for accession to the European

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(25 July 2002)

The Union, including the Commission, has close relations with Slovakia as a country applying for full
membership. Membership is only possible, however, when Slovakia meets a set of political and economic
criteria established by the Copenhagen Council in 1993. The basic political criterion is the stability of
institutions, guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law and human rights. In its Regular Reports of 1999,
2000 and 2001, the Commission came to the conclusion that the Slovak Republic meets this criterion.

The Commission is aware of the draft amendment to the Criminal Code, tabled by Members of the Civic
Conservative Party. According to its information, the second (out of three) reading of the draft will take
place before the next Parliamentary Elections in September 2002. At present, the Commission does not
deem an interference in the democratic parliamentarian process in Slovakia to be appropriate.

In case of adoption of the draft law, the Commission will assess it in the light of the above mentioned
criteria. Should a violation of one of the fundamental principles occur, the Commission will raise this issue
at the appropriate level and fora, including in the next Regular Report, due to be published in October