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21.11.

2003

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 280 E/167

Although it does not contest the legitimate concern of the Chinese authorities to protect Internet users, the European Union considers that in many respects China’s policy on the Internet does not allow Chinese citizens to make full use of the freedom of expression and opinion guaranteed by the pact on civil and political rights signed by China in 1998. This matter is systematically raised by the European Union with the Chinese authorities at the six-monthly meetings held under the Euro-Chinese dialogue on human rights. The European Union regularly calls for a number of ‘cyber dissidents’ to be released. The Union also regularly calls for the release of prisoners who in its view have been detained because they wished to exert their right to freedom of opinion and expression, including over the Internet. The Commission is not aware that this general policy of the Chinese authorities is applied more severely in Inner Mongolia but will closely monitor the situation in the province.

(2003/C 280 E/184)

WRITTEN QUESTION E-1558/03 by Claude Moraes (PSE) to the Commission (7 May 2003)

Subject: Soccer and racism Can the Commission please give its response to the rise in racism and the organised racist behaviour of soccer supporters of particular soccer clubs within EU countries and to the fines recently levied by UEFA on particular soccer clubs? Does the Commission have a view on the disturbing evidence of organised racism at soccer matches in particular accession countries, again identified by UEFA (for example in Slovakia)?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission (25 June 2003) The Commission shares the Honourable Member’s concern at the recent manifestations of racist violence at football matches in certain Member States and Applicant Countries. The Commission is providing financial support for practical initiatives designed to tackle racism in football, including FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe). The Commission has also adopted on 28 November 2001 a proposal (1) for a framework decision to approximate the laws and regulations of the Member States regarding racist and xenophobic offences. The purpose of this framework decision is twofold. First, to ensure that racism and xenophobia are punishable in all Member States by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties, which can give rise to extradition or surrender, and second, to improve and encourage judicial cooperation by removing potential obstacles. Finally, the Commission would like to inform the Honourable Member that the Council has adopted on 25 April 2002 a decision concerning security in connection with football matches with an international dimension (2). For exchange of information in relation to a football event and with a view to the necessary international police cooperation in connection with football matches with an international dimension, this Decision establishes national football information points.
(1) OJ C 75 E, 26.3.2002. (2) OJ L 121, 8.5.2002.