Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/russia : Ep Wants Courage and Solidarity in Eu's Relations with Russia

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/russia : Ep Wants Courage and Solidarity in Eu's Relations with Russia

Article excerpt

The European Parliament adopted, on 10 May, a resolution on the EU-Russia Summit on 18 May in Samara (Russia), condemning the Kremlin for violating human rights, restricting freedom of expression and using illicit methods of violence in Chechnya. The Parliament also called on all member states to display "unity" in their relations with Russia and show solidarity with Estonia in its disagreement with the Kremlin over the removal of a war memorial and the subsequent riots in Tallinn.

The EP emphasised "that the current situation in Russia gives rise to serious concern in terms of respect for human rights, democracy and freedom of expression". It also expressed "deep concern about the use of force by the Russian authorities against peaceful anti-government demonstrators in Moscow and St Petersburg" and about "social and political polarisation" in the run-up to parliamentary and presidential elections in December 2007 andMarch 2008 respectively.

The resolution urges "the German Presidency to continue to work to enable the negotiating mandate for a new EU-Russia agreement to be adopted as soon as possible and to start negotiations without further delay". Despite the efforts of the Presidency and the Commission, no agreement has yetabeen reached on lifting Russia's ban on imports of Polish meat and plant products. The start of talks on the new agreement with Russia is therefore still being blocked by Poland. Speaking at the EP debate on 9 May preceding the vote on the resolution, Germany's Minister of State for Europe Gunter Gloser said, however, that now "the time has come for Russia to give a date for when the [Polish] embargo will be lifted". …

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