“The EU’s strategy towards Russia needs to combine two major objectives: stop the Kremlin’s external aggression and internal repression and, at the same time, engage with the Russians and assist them in building a democratic future”, said Andrius Kubilius MEP, author of a European Parliament Report on the future of political relations with Russia, which will be voted on today in the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Report calls on the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell to prepare a comprehensive strategy for its relations with Russia, consistent with the EU’s fundamental values and principles. “The EU and its Institutions have to change their mind-set and work on the assumption that Russia can be a democracy. We need more courage to take a strong stance vis-à-vis the Kremlin regime on defending human rights and democratic principles. It is about ending domestic repressions, supporting free and independent media, freeing all political prisoners and strengthening the neighbouring Eastern Partnership countries. Having a stable and democratic Russia, instead of an aggressive and expansionist Kremlin will be a benefit to everyone”, added Kubilius. As Chair of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, which groups together six countries of the Eastern Partnership (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), Kubilius points in particular to the importance of the legislative elections in Russia foreseen for September. “If the opposition candidates are not allowed to run, the EU must be prepared to not recognise the parliament of Russia and to consider asking for Russia’s suspension from international parliamentary assemblies”, he concluded.