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12.6.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/39

Does the Commission believe that the Chinese Government has any acceptable justification for its alleged
behaviour, and does it have any evidence that Falun Gong practitioners pose a threat to the stability of the
state, to the Communist Party, to law and order, or to commerce in China?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(17 July 2002)

The Commission closely follows the human rights situation in China and is aware of incidents concerning
Falun Gong practitioners. The Union has on several occasions undertaken formal démarches to the Chinese
authorities, to express concern about reports of torture and ill treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, who
have been arrested and the harshness of sentences given to those practitioners. The Commission has urged
China to review such harsh sentences, and to ensure that safeguards for a fair trial, including adequate legal
representation, are fully respected for all individuals. It has also called on China to comply with the United
Nations (UN) human rights covenants it has signed, which include provisions concerning freedom of
expression and the right to a fair trial.

A bilateral dialogue on human rights was established between the Union and China in 1996. In this
framework the Union has regularly raised  and will continue to raise  individual cases of concern,
including those of Falun Gong practitioners. The issue was also raised during the last round of the dialogue
in Madrid in April 2002.

The Commission is not aware of any evidence that Falun Going practitioners pose a threat to the stability
of the China, to the Communist Party, to law and order, or to commerce, in China.

(2003/C 137 E/044) WRITTEN QUESTION E-1990/02


by Stavros Xarchakos (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(8 July 2002)

Subject: Right to vote for non-Community nationals

The Greek press reports that the population in many areas in Greece is deeply concerned that economic
migrants, who have poured into Greece in their hundreds of thousands in recent years (many of whom
have obtained the ‘green card’ work permit), will soon acquire the right to vote in local and regional
elections. Such a step would clearly affect the sovereignty of the Greek people and compromise the
mandate given by local communities to local representatives.

Is there any causal relationship between the ‘green card’ and the granting of the right to vote to non-
Community nationals under Community legislation?

Is the Commission aware of any cases where temporary workers who are non-Community nationals have
acquired the right to vote in Greece and the other Member States of the Union?

Answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission

(9 August 2002)

The Honourable Member’s question concerns the third country national’s right to vote in the Member
States.

The right to vote of third country nationals residing in a Member State in elections of that Member State
belongs solely to the competence of the Member States. Regarding municipal elections, this is explicitly
confirmed in Directive 94/80/EC (1), which provides that nothing in that Directive affects each Member
State’s provisions concerning the right to vote or to stand as a candidate of third country national who
reside in that State.
C 137 E/40 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

Because of the lack of the competence there is no Community law concerning a right to vote to third
country nationals or relation between a ‘green card’ and voting rights.

The Community law does not prevent a Member State from deciding to grant citizens of non-Union
countries resident in that Member State the right to vote in elections. The Commission is aware that
certain Member States like for example Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden have granted the
right to vote also to certain non-Union citizens in certain elections. However because this is not a matter
for the Commission, it does not have comprehensive information as regards elections, exact persons
having the voting right or conditions to vote at its disposal.

(1) Council Directive 94/80/EC of 19 December 1994, laying down detailed arrangements for the exercise of the right
to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections by citizens of the Union residing in a Member State of
which they are not nationals  OJ L 368, 31.12.1994.

(2003/C 137 E/045) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2020/02


by Paulo Casaca (PSE) to the Commission
(9 July 2002)

Subject: Survey concerning the beer market in Portugal

About a year ago the Commission department responsible for competition launched a public survey
concerning the supposed cartelisation of the Portuguese beer market by the country’s two main producers.

The results of the survey, which was widely publicised in all the media and constituted a campaign of
unheard-of proportions, have not yet been published in Portugal.

Can the Commission say why?

Can the Commission say why it decided to do this in this particular sector in Portugal, and has never done
so in any other sector in the country?

Can the Commission say when it intends to explain its actions to Portuguese public opinion?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission


(5 August 2002)

The Honourable Member refers to the investigation by the Commission into an alleged cartel in the
Portuguese brewing sector. This investigation started by means of verifications pursuant to Article 14(3) of
the EEC Council Regulation No 17: First Regulation implementing Articles 85 and 86 of the Treaty (1) in
the premises of the two leading Portuguese brewers and their national association. These verifications took
place on 17 and 18 January 2001. The Commission officials were assisted by representatives of the
Portuguese competition authority.

1. and 3. In this case, the Commission is still in the fact-finding stage. They assess the numerous
documents copied during the verifications as well as the companies’ replies to further requests for
information. Should the Commission come to the provisional conclusion that the companies have
infringed the competition rules, it will issue a statement of objections and the companies will have the
possibility to make their opinion known in writing and at a oral hearing. In view of the above procedural
constraints which aim at preserving due process for the companies concerned, the Commission is at this
stage not in position to indicate whether and if so, when, it will take a formal decision and inform the
public at large about its findings.

2. The Commission would like to refer the Honourable Member to its annual reports on competition
policy to find numerous sectors outside the brewery industry where the Commission has fined companies
for their participation in cartels.

(1) OJ P 13, 21.2.1962, Portuguese version: Chapter 8, Tome 1, p. 22.