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2004 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 33 E/91

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(16 April 2003)

The Commission takes the view that it is for the South African Government to determine its policy in this
field, but it has on more than one occasion voiced serious concern over the ambiguous approach taken in
the past in relation to the fight against human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

The Commission notes that the South-African Government has clarified its policy in recent months and
has earmarked significant resources for it in the 2003-2004 budget. It strongly supports the government’s
new position allowing for treatment of mother-to-child transmission and on anti-retroviral therapy for
victims of rape and notes the considerable progress (albeit not universal) that has been made in this regard.
The Commission hopes that the South-African Government will make further progress in developing a
comprehensive HIV/AIDS treatment policy and will begin a phased approach towards the provision of
anti-retroviral medicines.

However, one must realise that the problem is very complex. It is estimated that approximately 7 million
people in South Africa are HIV-infected. The cost of comprehensive treatment is therefore likely to be
enormous. The Commission Delegation in Pretoria is currently assisting the South African Department of
Health in working out a realistic estimate of the budgetary implications. It is hoped that detailed figures
will be available in six to eight weeks from now.

At a general policy level the Commission supports the right of people living with HIV/AIDS to have access
to affordable treatments, including suitable combinations of anti-retroviral drugs, as part of a
comprehensive package of prevention, treatment, care and control for HIV/AIDS.

Under the European Programme for Reconstruction and Development (EPRD), the Commission financially
supports the South-African health care and HIV/AIDS efforts through a number of programmes, including
a recently launched, EUR 25 million, ‘Partnership for the delivery of primary health care, including HIV/
AIDS’. Through its Public Health Sector Support Programme the Commission also funds 6 non-
governmental organisations active in the fight against HIV/AIDS, among them ‘The AIDS Law Project’
(ALP). The ALP is closely associated with the Treatment Action Campaign and both organisations lobby
very strongly for improved access to HIV/AIDS treatment for all South Africans.

The new Community-South Africa country strategy and ‘Multi-annual Indicative programme’, which has
been approved and is ready for signing, identifies the HIV/AIDS pandemic as the major challenge facing
South African society. The programme features HIV/AIDS as both part of a major focal area of
intervention and as a cross-cutting issue.

(2004/C 33 E/087) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0925/03

by Eluned Morgan (PSE) to the Commission

(24 March 2003)

Subject: Via Baltica

Is it true that the Via Baltica will be constructed through sensitive wildlife sites in Poland? Will this road be
receiving any European funding?

What assurances can the Commission give that environmental impact assessment work will be done before
any construction work starts?