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C 137 E/26 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

(2003/C 137 E/028) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1773/02


by Michl Ebner (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(24 June 2002)

Subject: 9 May  public holiday

Does not the Commission think that it would be appropriate to declare and establish 9 May as a binding
public holiday in all the Member States and to designate it as a day of joy on which to celebrate the
founding of the European Union and as an exhortation to peace?

At the same time, would it not be sensible to abolish all public holidays in the Member States which
commemorate war-related events?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(18 July 2002)

The Commission always marks 9 May, which is a very important date for the Union. It organises
appropriate celebrations in all the Member States in cooperation with the national authorities.

The Union has no remit to declare a European ‘national’ holiday; that would be possible on the basis of an
agreement freely entered into by the Member States. Nor can the Commission propose that the Member
States abolish national holidays which form an integral part of their traditions. However, the Honourable
Member will note that even where these national holidays recall terrible conflicts between Europeans or
reciprocal blood-letting, they increasingly tend to emphasise a rejection of certain ideologies and the fact
that, in contrast to the events marked, the Europeans of today are committed to unity rather than division
and conflict. Increasingly, representatives of ‘enemy’ countries take part in the celebrations for precisely
that reason. The Commission regards this development as extremely positive.

(2003/C 137 E/029) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1795/02


by Erik Meijer (GUE/NGL) to the Council

(24 June 2002)

Subject: Preparations for an American ‘tulip war’ against the Netherlands with a view to releasing prisoners
tried by the International Criminal Court

1. What is the Council’s view of the persistent refusal of the United States to recognise the International
Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which will, as of 1 July 2002, be able to try those responsible for
crimes against humanity, should the relevant State fail to do so, whatever the nationality of the
perpetrators or victims?

2. Is the Council aware that the American Servicemembers’ Protection Act (ASPA) contains a provision
which forbids the American government to take part in UN peacekeeping operations in countries that
have ratified the treaty instituting the ICC unless answerability of US service personnel to this court has
been ruled out?

3. Is the Council aware that the United States has further escalated this refusal in that on 9 June 2002
the United States Senate adopted a bill, to be incorporated into the ASPA, which authorises military
intervention in the Netherlands, referred to in the debates as the ‘tulip war’, with the aim of liberating any
American prisoners so that they do not have to appear before the Court?

4. What is the Council doing to ensure that the right to carry out an armed attack on the Netherlands
does not gain a majority in the US House of Representatives or that the aforementioned bill is not signed
by the President of the United States if it should receive this majority?
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/27

5. Should this bill be incorporated into American law, does the Council still consider it realistic and
acceptable for the European Union or its Member States to maintain relations with a State which reserves
the right to attack an EU Member State?

(Source: NCR-Handelsblad, 8 June 2002)

Reply

(6 February 2003)

1. The EU is convinced that the ICC will make the world a safer, a more just and a more peaceful place
to live in. We believe that, through its mere existence, the ICC will deter individuals from committing the
most heinous crimes. By ending impunity, the ICC will strengthen the primacy of law and contribute to
the reign of peace in the world. The ICC will very soon prove its worth as an independent and effective
institution. The EU will spare no efforts to ensure its success. Those who now oppose the ICC will then see
for themselves how the Rome Statute guarantees the highest standards of due process and guards against
the Court being used for political purposes.

2. The European Union appeals to all States to ratify, or accede to, the Rome Statute, because we
believe that universal adherence to the Statute is desirable for the full effectiveness of the ICC. To promote
universal support for the ICC, the Council last year adopted Common Position 2001/443/CFSP, revised on
20 June 2002. The European Union has also finalised an Action Plan in furtherance of the Common
Position. On the basis of the Common Position, the EU has made representations to governments
worldwide. Through our political dialogue meetings, the ICC has been discussed with countries of all
continents. The ICC is indeed a recurrent theme in our contacts with the United States of America.

3. The European Union and the United States share the same fundamental values. We are both attached
to freedom, democracy, the defence of human rights, and the rule of law. For this reason, the EU has
always believed that the United States should be amongst the States Parties to the Rome Statute.

4. On 17 June 2002, the Council adopted conclusions in which ‘while respecting the right of the
United States to do so, it regrets its decision not to become a party to the Rome Statute establishing the
ICC’. It also expressed ‘its concern about ASPA as currently drafted’. Its adoption on 2 August 2002 has
been a most unwelcome development for the international community.

5. The Council conclusions also underscore the EU’s disquiet about the current provision of ASPA
authorising the President to use all means to bring about the release of any person detained at the request
of the ICC, including on the territory of EU Member States.

6. The EU has shared its worries with the US Congress and with the Administration at all levels, and
has received assurances that a US intervention in our territory would be ‘inconceivable’. In conclusions
adopted on 30 September 2002, the Council confirmed that the European Union is firmly committed by
the EU Common Position to support the early establishment and effective functioning of the International
Criminal Court and to preserve the full integrity of the Rome Statute. It took note of the proposal by the
United States for new bilateral agreements with ICC States Parties regarding the conditions for surrender to
the Court.

7. At the same meeting the Council prepared EU Guiding Principles concerning arrangements between
a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the United States regarding the
conditions for surrender of persons to the Court.