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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/23

Answer given by Mr Solbes Mira on behalf of the Commission

(26 September 2002)

The acquisition of real estate in another Member State is a capital movement. As such it is governed by
Article 56 of the EC Treaty which provides for a prohibition of all restrictions on capital movements. But
this provision is also subject to the exceptions expressly provided for in the EC Treaty.

As far as Denmark is concerned, a special protocol exists in the EC Treaty on the acquisition of property
in that Member State. This provides that ‘Notwithstanding the provisions of this Treaty, Denmark may
maintain the existing legislation on the acquisition of second homes’. The existing legislation in question
requires that, to acquire a second home in Denmark, the purchaser must have been a resident of Denmark
for a period of five years regardless of nationality.

While the freedom of capital movements is part of the Community acquis, so also is the particular
provision concerning second homes in Denmark.

In the case of most candidate countries, negotiations on capital movements have been provisionally closed
for all negotiating countries but Romania. For real estate operations, transitional periods are foreseen for
certain countries for the adoption of the full freedom in the case of the acquisition of second homes and/
or agricultural and forest land. A summary of the transitional and other arrangements envisaged for
individual candidate countries is to be found at:

(2003/C 155 E/023) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2494/02

by Mogens Camre (UEN) to the Commission

(9 September 2002)

Subject: Commission’s use of fundamentalist Muslims as advisors

In its answer given on behalf of Antonio Vitorino to my question No E-1177/02 (1) of 15 April 2002
concerning Muslim imams’ incitement to violence, the Commission wrote: ‘As you will be aware, the EU is
founded on the principles of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights and on the fundamental
freedoms, including freedom of expression, which are common to all the Member States. The Commission
deplores any conduct which might constitute incitement to hatred or entail the violation of human rights.’

In my question of 15 April 2002, I drew attention to the judgment of 31 July 2002 of the European Court
of Human Rights in Strasbourg (cases 41340/98 and 41342/98) which ruled that sharia (Islamic law) is
clearly contrary to the values set out in the Convention on Human Rights.

According to the respected Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of 14 August 2002, the Commission uses
Tariq Ramadan as an advisor on Islamic affairs. Ramadan is, by his own admission, a fundamentalist
Muslim. He writes that Muslims should adapt to liberal society but believes that Muslims should remain
fundamentalists who, in the much-abused name of human rights, demand the right to set up a parallel
community strictly segregated from the outside world, strictly orthodox and with their own system of law
within the community in those countries in Europe where they live.

Despite the EU’s numerous declarations that the Union stands for freedom and democracy, despite the
European Court of Human Rights’ ruling that sharia is contrary to fundamental human rights, the
Commission still uses Tariq Ramadan as an advisor on cultural affairs, even though he is opposed to all the
values that the Union claims to uphold.

In the light of the foregoing, will the Commission explain how it justifies using a fundamentalist Muslim as
an advisor on something as important as cultural affairs? It should surely not be impossible to find one
competent advisor of the Islamic faith who does not wish to subvert our society and abolish democracy?

(1) OJ C 28 E, 6.2.2003, p. 77.

C 155 E/24 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.2003

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(25 October 2002)

To date, the Commission has not ‘used Tariq Ramadan as an adviser on cultural affairs’ as the Honourable
Member claims.

However, it did invite him to speak at a seminar on science and culture entitled ‘An ethical inspiration for
the European Union’, which it organised at Santiago de Compostela on 7/8 May 1997. Those attending the
seminar appreciated Professor Ramadan’s humanist and open approach and his ambition to promote the
integration of young Muslims into the countries of the European Union in which they were born. That is
why the Commission invited him to speak again, this time at the Conference on Intercultural Dialogue
held in Brussels on 20/21 March 2002.

The European Union is founded on the principles of freedom, democracy and respect for human rights
and on the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, which are common to all the Member
States, subject to the restrictions enshrined in law.

The Commission chooses the experts it wishes to consult on cultural affairs within that framework and on
the basis of an in-depth analysis. In general, it intends to continue doing so because it is convinced that
diversity of opinion is a key element in the lucid diagnosis that must underlie any action taken in the
common interest of the European Union and the Member States.

(2003/C 155 E/024) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2509/02

by Christopher Beazley (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(3 September 2002)

Subject: Distribution of newspapers in Member States

Is the Commission aware that, in order to be supplied with UK national newspaper titles, newsagents in
the Republic of Ireland have to pay a surcharge (carriage service charge) to the relevant wholesaler, but do
not pay such a surcharge in respect of certain Irish national newspaper titles?

Is the Commission further aware that the requirement to pay a surcharge is made possible because there is
a system of exclusive distribution that applies to some newspaper titles, so that newsagents have no
alternative source of supply?

Does the Commission consider that this situation is in conformity with the principles of the Single Market?

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(24 October 2002)

The Commission is aware of the existence of distribution systems for newspapers, including the practice of
carriage charges, in the Member States, in particular in the United Kingdom (1), but it has no specific
information on the current functioning of this system in Ireland.

Exclusive distribution systems as referred to by the Honourable Member, if based on agreements between
publishers, wholesalers and newsagents, may be relevant under Community competition rules, as laid
down in Article 81 of the EC Treaty and, in particular, Block Exemption Regulation (EC) No 2790/1999 (2)
in conjunction with the Guidelines on vertical restraints (3) rather than the market freedom provisions of
the EC Treaty which mainly target State regulation.

The situation described in the written question has not been the subject of a notification or a complaint to
the Commission with regard to Community competition rules. Nor has the Commission currently any
evidence that the differences in the wholesale price for Irish and British newspapers in Ireland are the
consequence of behaviour incompatible with the above Block Exemption Regulation or Guidelines or are