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C 33 E/68 Official Journal of the European Union EN 6.2.

2004

It is for this reason that the Commission  in the context of Union/Russia political dialogue  has on a
number of occasions underlined that the Union/Russia partnership is based on fundamental core values,
among which is full respect of human rights.

It is to be recalled that each State enjoys discretion whether to allow for the presence of foreigners within
its territory or not. Therefore, in general, a revocation of a residence permit cannot be deemed to be
incompatible with the major international and European Human Rights conventions that Russia has
ratified. On the other hand, revocation of a residence permit for the sole reason to undermine the exercise
of religion or belief might well constitute an indirect sanction contrary to the freedom of religion or belief,
depending on the circumstances in each case. The Commission will continue to impress upon the Russian
authorities on this issue

In parallel, the promotion of human rights in Russia will continue to be a priority in the framework of the
European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), Russia being a focus country under this
programme.

(2004/C 33 E/064) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0675/03


by Wolfgang Kreissl-Dörfler (PSE) to the Commission

(3 March 2003)

Subject: Green gene technology  developing countries

In 1999 the German NGO ‘Internationaler Landvolkdienst der Katholischen Landvolkbewegung’ (Inter-
national Rural Service of the Catholic Rural Movement  ILD) was asked to consider the extent to which
green gene technology might help improve food security in developing countries. Together with other
non-governmental organisations, the ILD held an international hearing and two international congresses to
create a broad platform for a public debate with representatives from the world of science, industry and
organisations working in the field of agricultural development. The ensuing publications provide a detailed
picture of the various aspects of green gene technology and also demonstrate the great need for
information among the various players. This applies in particular to the ILD’s project partners in the
developing countries concerned. In order to continue the debate at European level, the ILD submitted its
first application for funding together with a French and a Belgian partner in 2000. This application was
rejected on the grounds that, firstly, the French partner was not a purely development-oriented NGO and,
secondly, the ILD’s annual budget of around EUR 500 000 meant that it did not have the required financial
capacity. The ILD then submitted a fresh application  taking account of the Commission’s criticisms  in
2002, but this application was also refused, for reasons which had not been cited previously.

1. Why is nothing being done to promote a broad grass-roots debate on green gene technology,
particularly given that none of the approved projects tackles this issue?

2. Once it has been initiated, how can the discussion process be continued in an efficient way?

3. Can the Commission envisage a better way of cooperating with applicants so that any uncertainties
which emerge can be clarified from the outset and projects which have been approved in principle can
also meet the Commission’s requirements as regards form and content?

4. Is there a country-based key for the approval of projects? If so, what form does it take?

5. How many projects have been approved during the past two years (2001/2002), and for which
Member States?

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(4 April 2003)

The Commission’s funding of projects through budget line B7-6000 is based on published invitations for
eligible non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to present proposals for co-financing, which must
conform to the criteria spelt out in the invitation. It is up to the NGOs to identify the issues they consider
6.2.2004 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 33 E/69

important when they put forward proposals to raise awareness of development issues. The area of using
‘green gene’ technologies to address the problem of food security in developing countries is one among
many issues presented by NGOs.

The Commission has websites which provide information more generally on this question. In September
2001 a broad-based public consultation was launched on the general question of ‘life sciences and
biotechnology’. Around 320 contributions were received, many of which were very comprehensive.
Following this consultation, a Communication was presented in January 2002 (1).

The Commission is fully prepared to co-operate with applicants, as indicated in the Call for proposals.

There is no country-based key for the approval of projects. The information on the award of funding in
2001 and 2002 is available on the website: http://europa.eu.int/comm/europeaid/projects/ong_cd/
index_en.htm.

On 30 and 31 January 2003 the Commission organised the stakeholder conference: ‘Towards Sustainable
Agriculture for Developing Countries: Options from Life Sciences and Biotechnologies’. More than 600
delegates from around the world attended the conference. Scientists mixed with policy-makers,
development experts, farmers, young people and representatives of civil society to address the most
important and controversial issues surrounding the use of bio-sciences and their ability to offer sustainable
solutions for food production and the alleviation poverty. Proceedings are accessible on the dedicated web-
site: http://europa.eu.int/comm/research/sadc.

The Commission supported in May 2002 the Second European Forum for Agricultural Research for
Development, which took place in Rome in advance of the World Food Summit. Scientists and
representatives of the civil society attended to discuss research priorities in agricultural research for
development. One of the priority areas identified was the use of modern biotechnologies and development.

(1) OJ C 55, 2.3.2002.

(2004/C 33 E/065) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0677/03


by Marco Cappato (NI) to the Commission

(7 March 2003)

Subject: Fumigation in certain coffee-growing areas of Colombia

Whilst I was visiting Colombia last week together with the Secretary of the International Anti-
Prohibitionist League, Marco Perduca, a number of reports were received about a plan for the imminent
fumigation of the coffee-growing areas of Colombia, in the context of a disastrous and indiscriminate
campaign of chemical fumigation, from a very high altitude, of vast areas of the country, designed to
eradicate coca leaf production and to be carried out in agreement with the US Administration.

In view of the devastating impact of this practice on human health, the environment and socio-economic
equilibrium, and the fact that the Commission is carrying out alternative development programmes in
some of these areas, has it taken steps to inform the Colombian authorities of its disapproval and the need
to suspend immediately the alternative development programmes in those areas as soon as the operation is
launched?

How does the Commission intend to try and ensure that the fumigation is not carried out and officially
request that the operation be suspended all over Colombia?