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C 155 E/38 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.

2003

with Ukraine was agreed there were specific elements included on money laundering. Ukraine’s efforts
against money laundering will be supported by the Union in order for Ukraine to meet the standards of
the Council of Europe 1990 Convention on money laundering, the FATF recommendations and the
standards set by the Egmont Group. Furthermore, under the TACIS Assistance Programme the
strengthening of that country’s anti-money laundering system constitutes a priority.

(1) OJ C 277 E, 14.11.2002, p. 6.


(2) OJ L 49, 19.2.1998.

(2003/C 155 E/043) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2660/02


by Robert Evans (PSE) to the Council

(23 September 2002)

Subject: Maajid Nawaz, Ian Malcolm Nisbett and Reza Pankhurst held captive in Egypt

Maajid Nawaz, Ian Malcolm Nisbett and Reza Pankhurst are three young British Muslim men who have
been detained in Egypt for five months. There have been concerns raised about their treatment, including
allegations of torture and breaches of the Geneva Convention. The British Government has issued a formal
complaint to the Egyptian Government concerning their treatment.

What action is the Council taking to support the UK Government in this case and end the abuses of these
men’s human rights?

Reply

(20 February 2003)

The British Government did not request the Council’s assistance on this matter. Should such a request be
made, it will be examined in a manner that takes due account of the spirit of cooperation, consular and
otherwise, between the Member States in respect of EU citizens.

The human rights situation in Egypt is in general closely monitored by the Council. An Association
Agreement making respect for human rights an essential element of Egyptian and EU internal and external
policy was signed in Luxembourg on 25 June 2001. It also establishes a regular political dialogue which
will enable cooperation between the EU and the Egyptian authorities to be further strengthened, notably in
the field of human rights. However, that Agreement must be ratified by all the EU Member States before it
can enter into force. This has not taken place so far.

(2003/C 155 E/044) WRITTEN QUESTION E-2664/02


by Robert Goebbels (PSE) to the Commission

(23 September 2002)

Subject: Neutral effect of competition law on the live broadcasting rights to sports events

In his reply given on behalf of the Commission and dated 31 July 2002 to my Written Question E-1912/
02 (1), Commissioner Monti said that the Commission wished to ensure that live broadcasting rights to
sports events were ‘not sold in a way that harms competition on media markets and which, as a
consequence, harms viewers’. In the application of competition law, ‘the Commission does not give any
preferential treatment of the market for pay-TV over the market for free-TV’. This law of the jungle
approach clearly favours pay-TV channels which have more financial clout when it comes to acquiring
broadcasting rights, and football provides us with the best example of this situation.
3.7.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 155 E/39

However, most of the football clubs that reap huge financial rewards from the broadcasting of matches
organised by UEFA or FIFA play in stadiums paid for by the State or by local authorities which frequently
grant them substantial subsidies. Should not Community legislation on state aids also apply to the business
activities of these clubs? If not, and assuming that top-level sport is an aspect of society which justifies the
commitment of public funds (if only so as to ensure security at events of this nature), should not sports
associations be subject to a public service obligation with regard to broadcasting rights? In the final
analysis, is it acceptable that only viewers who can afford to meet the financial demands of the private
pay-TV channels should be able to watch sports events which could not take place without generous aid
from the public purse?

(1) OJ C 92 E, 17.4.2003, p. 115.

Answer given by Mr Monti on behalf of the Commission

(12 November 2002)

The Honourable Member questions whether Community legislation on competition should apply to the
business activities of football clubs that play in tournaments organised by the Union of European Football
Associations (UEFA) or the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA). Actually, any entity
that performs an economic activity is subject to competition law in general, and to the rules on state aid in
particular. Football clubs that perform these activities are therefore subject to state aid rules.

However, the financing of a stadium by local authorities does not necessarily constitute state aid. Under
certain conditions, the construction of a venue for public events for different categories of activities may be
considered as funding for general infrastructure and will not come under the provisions of Article 87(1) of
the EC Treaty.

The Commission notes that with regard to entrusting an undertaking with a public service obligation, it is
not the Community but the Member State itself that both assigns to an undertaking such an obligation as
well as defines its scope. Accordingly, if the Member State feels it is necessary that football should be
widely accessible, rather than only by Pay TV, it may entrust broadcasting companies with this task, and
where necessary, provide the compensation needed to perform these tasks.

In addition, Directive 97/36/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 1997 amending Council
Directive 89/552/EEC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, regulation or
administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities (1)
provides that Member States may take measures to ensure that broadcasters do not broadcast events which
are regarded as being of major importance for society, in such a way as to deprive a substantial proportion
of the public of the possibility of following such events on free television. Several Member States have
adopted such lists which include in all cases some football matches (a summary of the measures taken was
published in the Official Journal (2)).

(1) OJ L 202, 30.7.1997.


(2) OJ C 189, 9.8.2002.

(2003/C 155 E/045) WRITTEN QUESTION P-2668/02


by Proinsias De Rossa (PSE) to the Council

(16 September 2002)

Subject: Deportation of Christina Onasanwo from Ireland to Nigeria

Given that the Council has already stated that ‘Female genital mutilations are acts of violence perpetrated
on women and children which the Council unequivocally condemns as a violation of basic rights’, given
the commitments of all Member States under the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the
Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on