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C 155 E/160 Official Journal of the European Union EN 3.7.

2003

question. Hence, although the costs of the bank guarantee may be considered by the Commission as
eligible costs for the contract, it may in some cases not be attractive to some SMEs to obtain one. In
consequence, such organisations are in these cases unable to benefit from the improved cash flow which is
offered via the advance payment to other contractors.

The Commission has encountered in the past the problem that projects had failed already at an early stage,
sometimes because of problems within the consortium that had been contracted to carry out the project.

In some of these cases there have been problems to recover the part of the advance payment that has not
been substantiated under the terms of the contract or  as for example in the case of bankruptcy of one of
contractors  the Commission has even been faced with the impossibility to recover these parts of the
advance payments.

It is therefore necessary to take appropriate precautions in order to prevent the loss of these public funds.
In case of unsatisfactory financial viability of a contractor a bank guarantee is the only safe measure that
can prevent such a loss.

(2003/C 155 E/178) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3494/02


by Cristiana Muscardini (UEN) to the Council

(9 December 2002)

Subject: Massacre in Nigeria

The tragic events in Nigeria (which resulted in the deaths of over 200 Christians, the torching of buildings
and the destruction of churches and shops) are a particularly urgent reminder of the seriousness of an
international situation in which extreme violence breaks out whenever an attempt is made to impose
sharia as the law of the state. Although each country is entitled to uphold its own traditions, Europe
cannot ignore brutal, inhumane violations of human rights, the dignity of the individual and the freedom
of belief and expression which lead to mass murder and the destruction of property, such as has just
occurred in Nigeria and which could occur in the future in any other country in which Islamic
fundamentalist organisations operate.

1. Does the Council not think that political sanctions should be imposed whenever similar massacres
are carried out in the name of religion?

2. What action does the Council intend to take in order to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in
the future?

Reply

(4 March 2003)

Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is enshrined in core International Human Rights Instruments
including UN human rights conventions. The EU condemns persecution of people because of their faith or
belief, in all circumstances. The EU takes every opportunity to urge States to pursue laws and practices,
which foster tolerance and mutual respect, and to protect religious minorities against discrimination,
intimidation and attacks. Specific cases of religious persecution are raised regularly with the governments
concerned, both in bilateral contacts as well as in multilateral forum, such as at the annual meetings of the
UN Commission on Human Rights and of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.

In the case of Nigeria, while obviously being concerned about recent outbursts of violence, the EU
nonetheless welcomes the Federal Government’s efforts to ascertain that Nigerian law is in compliance
with international human rights covenants. The EU is also encouraged by the peaceful and legal action
taken by both Muslim and Christian human rights groups in Nigeria on these issues. The EU has conveyed
to the Nigerian authorities its willingness to continue the dialogue that is taking place in the framework of
its partnership with Nigeria, with a view to strengthening the existing processes in Nigeria towards a
consolidation of democracy and the respect for human rights.