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18.9.

2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 222 E/79

5. The policy envisaged by the Commission will benefit, and is supported by, both low cost and
traditional network carriers. Their relationship will be determined by commercial and operational
considerations, rather than by limits in bilateral air services agreements.

(2003/C 222 E/090) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3520/02


by Ursula Schleicher (PPE-DE) to the Council

(10 December 2002)

Subject: Statute and financing of European political parties

Since the European Parliament opinion of 17 May 2001, the Council regulation on the statute and
financing of European political parties has been the subject of a so far fruitless discussion in the Council of
Ministers. On account of criticism from the European Court of Auditors, this regulation is intended to be a
transitional measure until the entry into force of the Treaty of Nice, which establishes an autonomous legal
basis.

Any new Commission proposal in accordance with the legal basis established by the Treaty of Nice will be
debated with the European Parliament under the codecision procedure. How does the Council intend to
come to a workable solution for this transitional period that also stands up to criticism from the Court of
Auditors?

Reply

(13 May 2003)

The Treaty of Nice, which creates a new legal basis for the Regulation referred to in the question, entered
into force on 1 February 2003. There is thus no longer a transitional period in the sense meant by the
Honourable Member in her question.

(2003/C 222 E/091) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3526/02


by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission

(10 December 2002)

Subject: Travel ban imposed on Mr Sadri Khiari

Since the beginning of October 2002, Mrs Radhia Nasraoui, lawyer at the bar of Tunis, has twice appeared
before the senior member of the investigating judges in the hope of obtaining clarification on court
proceedings relating to the events of March 1997 and March 2000 concerning her client Mr Sadri Khiari,
a painter and member of RAID/Attac Tunisie (Rally for an International Alternative for Development) and
CNLT (National Council on Liberties in Tunisia). As before, Mrs Nasraoui was given no response. However,
representatives of the interior ministry invoked these exact same alleged incidents as a justification for
forbidding Sadri Khiari to leave Tunisian territory when they finally returned his passport to him on
16 June 2001, a year after he requested it be renewed. Since that time, Mr Khairi has been to Tunis-
Carthage airport six times and on each occasion has been prevented from leaving the country.

Is the Commission aware of the travel ban on Sadri Khiari? Does the Commission not consider that the
legal authorities’ refusal to provide any information about the reasons why the travel ban was imposed,
and their repeated refusal to allow Sadri Khiari to travel freely, constitute a further example of the
arbitraryconduct of the Tunisian police and additional proof of the Tunisian authorities’ contempt for the
principle of judicial independence, and of theexisting laws and international conventions ratified by
Tunisia? What measures has the Commission taken, or does it intend to take, under the terms of the
association agreement between the European Union and Tunisia, to ensure that the latter ends the
persecution of Mr Khiari and on a more general levelfully complies with Article 2 of the agreement?
C 222 E/80 Official Journal of the European Union EN 18.9.2003

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(17 January 2003)

The Commission is aware that Mr Khiari is forbidden to leave Tunisian territory and that he wishes to
travel to France to defend his doctoral thesis for his Ph.D. However, the Commission does not know the
exact reason for the ban, nor the legal grounds cited by the Tunisian authorities to justify it.

With regard to the second point raised by the Honourable Member, once the Commission has more
complete information, it will be able to assess the nature of the Tunisian arguments and examine whether
they comply with the association agreement.

The Commission will use all available channels, in particular political dialogue coordinated by the EU
presidency, to raise specific instances of human rights abuse with the Tunisian authorities.

The Commission would like to be informed of the outcome of any additional measures that the
Honourable Member may take through the inter-parliamentary dialogue with Tunisia.

(2003/C 222 E/092) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3527/02


by Ian Hudghton (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(3 December 2002)

Subject: Biebrza National Park, Poland

What consideration has been given to the environmental impact of routing the Helsinki to Warsaw
motorway (the Via Baltica) through the Biebrza National Park in north eastern Poland, and the risk posed
to the unique ecosystems of this area? To what extent has the Commission been involved in determining
the proposed route of this important transport link and the decision to change the original plans which
would have taken the motorway to the west of this national park? Finally, how does the consequential loss
of flora and fauna in the Biebrza National Park tie in with the EU’s commitment to preserving natural
habitats and the need for Poland, as an applicant country, to comply with such legislation?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission

(8 January 2003)

It is the position of the Commission that all candidate countries should apply and implement the
provisions of the environmental acquis, including Council Directive 97/11/EC of 3 March 1997 amending
Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the
environment (1) (the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive) and the Council Directive 92/43/
EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (Habitats
Directive) (2), and Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation of wild birds (Birds
Directive) (3), already during the pre-accession period. This is of particular relevance for large-scale
infrastructure investments such as the Via Baltica.

The Commission understands that the voivodship authorities of Podlaskie have recently made a decision
on the alignment of Via Baltica (TINA Corridor No1) in north-east Poland. According to this proposed
alignment, the Via Baltica expressway would affect the Biebrzañski National Park.

According to the EIA Directive the construction of an express road (4) falls under Annex I point 7 point b.
In this case Article 4 paragraph 1 applies and provides that projects listed in Annex I should be made
subject to an assessment in accordance with the procedures of Articles 5 to 10. Therefore a mandatory EIA
must be carried out.

The Biebrza National Park is clearly of outstanding natural value. In addition, it seems more than likely
that Biebrza will be identified as a Natura 2000 site at accession. This implies that strict conservation rules
apply. According to Article 6 of the Habitats Directive, investments that are likely to have a significant
effect on a Natura 2000 site need to be subject to an appropriate assessment of their implications. If there