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Parliamentary questions
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18 February 2011
Question for written answer E-001509/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
François Alfonsi (Verts/ALE)

 Subject: Ban on regionalist parties in Algeria and Morocco
 Answer in writing 

The EU maintains close relations with the countries of North Africa, particularly with Algeria and Morocco. Through the neighbourhood policy launched in 2004, it has deepened the Euro-Mediterranean partnership with a view to closer political relations and further economic integration. This relationship is based on a mutual commitment to promoting common values, such as respect for human rights, democratic principles and fundamental rights.

In this context, there is a convention with Algeria (Euro-Mediterranean Agreement of 10 October 2005 establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, of the other part). Article 2 of the convention refers to ‘respect for the democratic principles and fundamental human rights established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. There is also an agreement with Morocco (Euro-Mediterranean Agreement of 18 March 2000 establishing an association between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Kingdom of Morocco, of the other part). Article 2 of this agreement also refers to ‘respect for the democratic principles and fundamental human rights established by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.

But these principles are not being respected in these countries, where a ban on setting up political parties on a regional basis infringes the right to political expression.

Article 9 of the Algerian Constitution lays down that institutions may not espouse feudal, regionalist or nepotistic practices. Article 42 guarantees the right to create political parties, but stipulates that the political parties cannot be founded on a religious, linguistic, racial, sexual, corporatist or regional basis.

In Morocco, Article 4 of the Law of 14 February 2006 declares null and void any establishment of a political party on a religious, linguistic, ethnic or regional basis, or in general on any basis that is discriminatory or contrary to human rights.

If they were to be applied in Europe, such constitutional and legal provisions would lead to a ban on all the ‘regional’ parties such as the Corsican, Scottish, Catalan, Flemish, Welsh and other parties. This is clearly an unacceptable restriction of the democratic principles intended to be enshrined in the agreements with the European Union. These measures particularly penalise the political expression of the Berber/Amazigh peoples.

What initiatives does the Commission intend to take to re-establish the democratic rights of minorities in these two countries?

Original language of question: FROJ C 294 E, 06/10/2011
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