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C 137 E/242 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.

2003

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(30 January 2003)

There is no Community rule governing the specific access of asylum seekers and immigrants to European
Social Fund (ESF) funded courses. If any particular group or individual is excluded from ESF assistance it
will arise from national legislation in the Member State concerned regarding access to the labour market.

Participation in ESF-funded activities is governed by the Council Regulation (EC) No 1260/1999 of 21 June
1999 laying down general provisions on the Structural Funds (1) in general and the Regulation (EC)
No 1784/1999 of the Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 1999 on the European Social Fund (2) in
particular. ESF assistance is open to all individuals granted access to the labour market.

Access to the labour market is a matter of national law only. Certain Member States do not allow asylum
seekers or certain immigrants to work.

In certain Member States asylum seekers are excluded from access to the labour market. However, the
absence of the right to work should not necessarily exclude them from ESF assistance. The Structural
Funds Regulations allow asylum seekers to follow ESF-funded training to prepare them for eventual
integration into the labour market. Projects assisting asylum seekers to prepare for the labour market can
be funded by EQUAL, the Community Initiative which promotes new means to tackle all forms of labour
market discrimination. Combating discrimination against asylum seekers in the labour market is one of the
thematic priorities of EQUAL. The nature of the specific actions depends on whether asylum seekers are
allowed to work in that Member State.

If immigrants have the right to work, ESF assistance should be open to them in the same way as it is to
Union nationals. If not, then they would not generally be entitled to ESF assistance.

(1) OJ L 161, 26.6.1999.


(2) OJ L 213, 13.8.1999.

(2003/C 137 E/274) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3852/02


by Christopher Beazley (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(23 December 2002)

Subject: Employment of non-national EU citizens in national museums

It is the practice in some Member States to refuse employment to non-national EU citizens in national
museums. Is this in conflict with the Single Market undertaking of their governments, and what action will
the Commission put in hand to rectify the problem?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(30 January 2003)

The Commission is not aware of the difficulties of Union nationals who have been refused employment in
national museums of Member States other than their Member State of origin.

According to Community law, Member States are allowed to restrict to their own nationals those posts in
which the exercise of public authority and the responsibility for safeguarding the general interest of the
State is involved (Article 39(4) of the EC Treaty). The derogation from the general principle of EC Treaty of
free movement of workers has been interpreted in a very restrictive way by the European Court of Justice
and the Commission has actively promoted increased access to the public sector, and continues to do
so (1).
12.6.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 137 E/243

Whether a refusal by a national museum to employ workers from other Member States be in conflict with
the Single Market undertaking depends on the facts of each individual case. Restricting the posts to the
nationals of the host Member State can be justified only when the aforementioned criteria apply.

(1) See also the recently adopted Communication from the Commission  Free movement of workers: achieving the
full benefits and potential, COM(2002) 694 final.

(2003/C 137 E/275) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3854/02


by Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(23 December 2002)

Subject: Innovation deficit in Greece

The 2002 report on innovation states that Greece lags far behind other EU States according to all the
critical indicators concerning innovation and the new technologies. In particular, a mere 1,4 % of workers
are involved in lifelong training programmes, compared to the Community average of 8,5 %, and only
9,9 % of households are connected to the internet compared to 37 % in the rest of the EU. Innovation
among SMEs lies at 20 % compared to the Community average of 44 %. According to many indicators, the
growth rate is slower than the EU average. Will the Commission say what are the basic defects of Greek
policy which are responsible for this state of affairs? What conclusions does it draw from the experience of
Greece concerning the policy which should be pursued in the new Member States?

Answer given by Mr Liikanen on behalf of the Commission

(29 January 2003)

The 2002 European innovation scoreboard shows that Greece’s performance in the field of innovation is
still below the EU average. Greece has, nevertheless, taken major steps forward. For example, research and
development (R & D) expenditure, both in the public sector and by enterprises, is rising much faster than
the EU average. Greece also lies above the average EU trend for expenditure on information and
communication technologies and involvement in lifelong learning.

It should also be noted that the Innovation Scoreboard highlights aggregated national performance in the
field of innovation but does not make it possible to assess national policies to promote innovation. The
Scoreboard is one of the instruments which make up the European Innovation Trend Chart. The scoreboard
data are supplemented in particular by a vast database of information on national policy measures and the
production of 6-monthly national reports on innovation policy. The latter can be consulted at the
following address: http://trendchart.cordis.lu. These national reports are drawn up by independent experts
and validated by representatives of the national authorities. As a result, they do not necessarily reflect the
point of view of the Commission or that of the national authorities.

The recent national reports on Greek innovation policy show that greater efforts are being made and thus
confirm the trend results noted above. A significant number of new policy measures were in fact launched
in 2002 with the aim of rapidly closing the gap in Greece in the field of innovation.

Furthermore, in tandem with the ERDF operational programmes, 12 out of the 13 Greek regions
submitted an ERDF regional programme of innovative actions in 2001 and 2002 to try out new
innovative processes with a view to bringing them into general use for the sustainable development of
their respective regions. Six regional programmes of innovative actions were approved in 2002 and the six
other programmes are currently being appraised. This demonstrates the interest shown by the Greek
regions in strengthening their innovation capacity and reducing the deficit in the field of technological
innovation and new technologies.