Answer given by High Representative/Vice-President Ashton on behalf of the Commission
The EU is aware of the cases before Thai courts against Mr Andy Hall related to his work for Finnwatch. The EU has followed this matter closely from the beginning and will continue to do so together with Member States. The EU Delegation attended the first trial hearing in April 2013 and will continue to do so.
On a more general note, the EU works consistently for freedom of expression in Thailand, and organised a major seminar in Bangkok about this matter in late January 2013.
The EU attaches great importance to including provisions on Trade and Sustainable Development in the recently launched Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with Thailand. Promoting the effective implementation of core labour standards form part of this objective. The trade and sustainable development provisions in the FTA could also provide a framework for dialogue in this area, including with relevant stakeholders.
Regarding the Finnwatch study, the HR/VP would also like to draw the Honourable Member's attention to the reply already given to previous Written Question E-000618/2013 by the Commissioner responsible for Trade on behalf of the Commission.