The EU is in need of a new strategy for its relations with Russia following the Russian occupation of Crimea, the continuing military aggression in Eastern Ukraine as well as the blunt violation of international agreements which are putting EU-Russia relations at a crossroads. This is the message in Parliament’s Report on the state of EU-Russia relations, spearheaded by EPP Group MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis. The Report will be voted on tomorrow (Wednesday).
While adopting the Report, the Parliament, on a proposal by the EPP Group, should condemn the recently-announced black list banning EU politicians, including 19 MEPs and officials, from entering Russia as a repetitive breach of international law, violating universal standards and impeding transparency by the Russian leadership. “This not only disrespects the European Parliament, but it is an insult to the EU as a whole, which bases international cooperation on transparent and peaceful dialogue”, said Landsbergis in a plenary debate today.
"The European Union adheres to the very clear principles of the rule of law, transparency and self-determination, therefore numerous different formats and initiatives were offered to Russia in order to guide the Russian people towards the path of democracy and reform", Landsbergis stressed. However, the MEP added: “There will be more and tougher sanctions if the international obligations and the Minsk Agreements are not respected by Moscow and if more people die because the guns keep flowing through the unprotected border”. The MEP also recalled the illegal annexation of Crimea, the shooting down of the MH17 and the recent trends of Russian state-controlled media to rewrite and reinterpret historical events, including the selective use of historical narrative for current political propaganda.
“Europe will speak out when the rules of the internal market are challenged by uncompromising monopoly companies, who have long thought that corrupt deals will keep them above the law. Europe will speak up when the political parties that disagree with the very principles of the European Union, principles like democracy, receive funding from financial institutions linked to those running the Kremlin. Very soon, right here in this House we will hear what they have to say. Because that is how democracy and the rule of law work. European countries will not remain silent and will demand justice to right the wrongs that have befallen the Ukrainian people”, reiterated Landsbergis.
"Today, the European Parliament is sending a clear message to the Russians that if their government keeps its promise and upholds the commitment it promised the world, the sanctions may be lifted. If Crimea is restored to Ukraine, Europe will be ready to start again. And while the Kremlin is deciding which path to take, the EU is in the meantime becoming more united and more resilient to propaganda, trading pressure and energy wars. Europe will stand committed to its principles of democracy, rule of law and peace”, he concluded.