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C 235 E/72 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 21.8.


Answer given by Mrs de Palacio on behalf of the Commission

(12 March 2001)

The Commission has been uneasily following the changes made to the Olympic Airways airline for several

In its Decision of 7 October 1994 it authorised the payment of significant amounts of State aid to
Olympic Airways, while taking account of a restructuring plan that had been drawn up in order to ensure
the long-term viability of the company. On 30 April 1996, feeling, among other things, that the
company’s intended recovery plan was not working in a satisfactory manner, the Commission resumed
the procedure in this matter. Then, on the basis of a new company restructuring plan, and of new
commitments by the Greek authorities, the Commission again authorised State aid, on 14 August 1998,
which had been covered by its earlier Decision of 7 October 1994.

In the wake of the difficulties encountered in implementing the company’s restructuring plan, the Greek
authorities decided to go ahead with privatising the company.

The Commission is in contact with the Greek authorities and is closely monitoring the current privatisa-
tion of the company in order to guarantee that this meets the requirements of Community law, more
particularly with regard to State aid.

(2001/C 235 E/077) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4113/00

by Glenys Kinnock (PSE) to the Commission

(11 January 2001)

Subject: Sudan

In light of the escalation in hostilities in the area around Sudan’s oilfields, the continuing human rights
abuses and displacement of civilians in that country, and of the fact that there is little evidence to suggest
that the Government of Sudan is seriously committed to progressive change, what plans does the
Commission have to review, with a view to ending, its policy of ‘critical engagement’ with the Government
of Sudan?

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(2 March 2001)

The relationship between the Union and Sudan has been strongly influenced by the renewed political
dialogue that the Union initiated in November 1999. Its purpose was to discuss and follow up develop-
ments in Sudan in the fields of democratisation, human rights and the rule of law, the peace process,
policies against terrorism and relations with neighbouring countries. The Union initiated the dialogue in
the hope that the government of the Sudan would make substantial progress in these areas.

A Union Troika mission visited Sudan on 6 December 2000 to assess the results of the first year of the
renewed dialogue. It voiced once more its concerns about the human rights situation in the country and
about the lack of progress in the Intergovernmental authority on development (IGAD) led peace process.
Despite these concerns, the Member States and the Commission view the outcome of the first year of the
political dialogue as generally positive and agreed to continue the dialogue for another year. An important
advantage of the dialogue is that the Sudanese authorities have been made aware of the precise
expectations of the Union and, more generally, of the role of the Union as an important actor in
international relations. The political dialogue allows confidence building whilst at the same time constant
pressure is applied on the issues addressed, especially in the fields of human rights, democracy and the
peace process.
21.8.2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 235 E/73

Given the well established position of the Union on issues like democracy and human rights in its relations
with third countries, any further improvement of the relations between the Union and the Sudan will
depend on the concrete measures the Sudanese government takes in these areas. The dialogue will
henceforth mainly concern questions relating to human rights, democratisation and civil liberties, as well
as the peace process.

The Commission strongly encourages the peace process, not only by providing political and moral support
to the mediation efforts of IGAD, but also in its direct contacts with the belligerent parties. It subscribes to
the call for an immediate, inclusive cease-fire agreement under international supervision and to the
demand for a complete stop to the provision of arms to either side, as decisive steps towards a political
solution of the conflict in the south.

(2001/C 235 E/078) WRITTEN QUESTION E-4118/00

by Vitaliano Gemelli (PPE-DE), Michl Ebner (PPE-DE),
Guido Bodrato (PPE-DE) and Mario Mantovani (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(11 January 2001)

Subject: Future of the Common Research Centre

Would the Commission and more particularly its President, Mr Romano Prodi, and Commissioner Philippe
Busquin state

 with regard to the Common Research Centre (CRC), a very effective instrument of Community
research, which not only brings together scientific expertise from the various branches of European
academia, but examines scientific activities being pursued in the Member States for their possible
implications in every area of interest (environmental, economic, social, etc.);

 that there have been plans in the past to scale down the role of the CRC by a corresponding scaling
down of research activities, including cutting the establishment plan by 200 posts;

 it now appears that once again there are plans to reduce the number of staff by a further 200 posts,
despite the Council of Ministers having agreed in 1998 to maintain the establishment plan at 2 080
posts in accordance with the Fifth framwork programme;

whether reports of the establishment plan being reduced by 200 posts are true, whether the aim really is
to rationalise research and whether, in the event of the JRC being scaled down, the Petten and Ispra centres
would pass from Community control to that of the Member States where they are situated?

Answer given by Mr Busquin on behalf of the Commission

(28 February 2001)

The latest review of the establishment plan of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) dates from the 1999 budget
and maintained the same number of staff by increasing the number of A posts (+120) by reducing the
number of B and C posts in consequence.

As part of its priority review exercise launched at the beginning of 2000, the Commission adopted the
recommendations of the Peer Group at its meeting held on 26 July 2000.

Within this context the Commission asked the Commission Member responsible to instruct the JRC to
carry out a feasibility study on the closure of the Petten site and alternatively to envisage the elimination of
200 posts by reducing activities throughout the departments of the JRC.

The feasibility study on the closure of the Petten site has been completed and the conclusions of the study
presented to the Commission in the form of a communication adopted on 22 January 2001 (1). The study
concludes that the Petten site should be retained and its activities, notably those of the nuclear sector, be
concentrated within it. This would lead to a redeployment of posts within the JRC, giving rise to a total
saving of 40 posts.