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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/101

but Arms’ (EBA) initiative adopted by the Council in February 2001 and the ongoing work for rendering
existing preferential schemes more stable and predictable (imminent negotiations of the Economic
Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP) agreements and
generalized system of preferences (GSP) scheme) provide evidence of the willingness to consolidate this
position. In the multilateral arena, flexibility, preferences and technical assistance provide evidence of the
commitment to special and differential treatment and the Community is engaged in negotiations that will
enhance these provisions.

As regards development aid, the Community already accounts for some 55 % of total international Official
Development Assistance and more than two thirds of grant aid. In 2000, the Commission has committed
EUR 8,4 billions and spent EUR 4,9 billions in development aid.

A recent initiative also foresees to provide ad hoc technical assistance to favour real access to world trade.

The Commission is clearly committed to continuing the Common agricultural policy (CAP) reform process
and negotiates further trade liberalisation in the WTO. The presentation of the CAP Mid-term review is a
clear step towards reducing trade distortion and increasingly meet the expectations of European citizens in
areas such as enhancement of the environment, food safety and animal welfare.

(2) S/C/W/26/Add.1.

(2003/C 137 E/114) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2640/02

by Daniel Hannan (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(12 September 2002)

Subject: Four unanswered questions

The rules state that the Commission is supposed to answer standard written questions within six weeks.
I have put four questions on 9 July  questions E-2165/02 on unpaid workers, E-2164/02 on curved
bananas, E-2163/02 on a European Central Bank advertising campaign and E-2162/02 on the EU’s High
Representative in Bosnia  which remain unanswered. Would the Commission (a) answer these questions
and (b) account for the delay? Furthermore, why has the Commission opted not to reply to the last part of
question E-1540/02 on Commissioners taking part in domestic politics?

Answer given by Ms de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(10 October 2002)

The Commission would first restate the major importance it attaches to the exercice by members of
Parliament of their right under Article 197(3) of the EC Treaty to address themselves directly to it in order
to obtain information and thereby to strengthen Parliament’s political supervision over it.

The Commission endeavours to answer questions put to it by members within the deadline sought by
Parliament. It is also pays attention to the quality of its answers. The time needed to prepare a draft answer
for approval by the Commission and thus to supply an answer to a Parliamentary question depends on a
host of factors that do not always allow the desired deadline to be met. These include the immediate
availability of, or the need to track down, the information that will enable the Commission to take a
position on a particular issue and to provide the information requested, as well as the need to ensure that
all answers to Parliamentary questions are endorsed by the Commission as a body.
C 137 E/102 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.2003

The Commission apologises for not having met the deadlines desired by Parliament in the cases referred to
by the Honourable Member. As he will have noted, its answers to his questions E-2165/02, E-2164/02,
E-2163/02 and E-2162/02 have meanwhile been sent to him.

As to the final point raised by the Honourable Member, the Commission considers that it gave its position
in its answer to Written Question E-1540/02.

(2003/C 137 E/115) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2650/02

by Marco Pannella (NI) to the Commission

(13 September 2002)

Subject: Failure to denounce the Cooperation Agreement with Vietnam on the grounds of infringement of
Article 2 resulting from serious, repeated and countless violations of human, political and religious

The Commission concluded a Cooperation Agreement with Vietnam.

Aware that:

 known eye-witnesses state that corpses and human remains have been found along the border
between Vietnam and Cambodia. They belong to Montagnards who presumably tried to flee to
Cambodia in order to escape persecution by the Vietnamese Government;

 many thousands of Montagnards have taken refuge in the jungle to escape persecution but have been
unable to reach refugee camps in Cambodia after the Cambodian Government closed the border;

 between June and the end of August this year at least 29 Montagnards were arrested (their names,
village of origin and time and date of arrest are known) and often tortured by Vietnamese police
because they had taken part in peaceful demonstrations in February 2001;

 on 25 August this year:

 two Montagnards (whose names and village of origin are known) were tortured by the special
Vietnamese police forces (Conga-An) and then escaped into the jungle;
 a Vietnamese meat seller poisoned 42 Montagnards (whose names and village of origin are
known); this is evidence of a form of terrorisation practised by the Communist government of
Vietnam against ethnic minorities, whereby the civilian population is encouraged to take action
against the minorities in return for acquiring ownership of their ancestral lands.

Can the Commission say whether:

 it knows about the events referred to and, if not, whether it intends to obtain testimonies, whether it
can provide the witnesses with guarantees, and if so, what kind;

 in addition to the facts outlined above, it is aware of violations of fundamental rights by Vietnamese
institutions and public bodies committed against the Montagnard population who live in the Central
Highlands and are both practising Christians and political militants;

 it does not consider that the serious, repeated and countless violations of human, political and
religious rights in Vietnam constitute a grave infringement of Article 2 of the Cooperation Agreement
between the Commission and Vietnam, and what body is monitoring respect for the afore-mentioned
article and what its parameters are?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(15 October 2002)

The EC-Vietnam Co-operation Agreement, which was signed in 1995, states in its first Article that respect
for human rights and democratic principles is the basis of its co-operation. Questions related to the