Following the visit by High Representative Josep Borrell to Moscow, the S&D Group calls today in the plenary for a firm and united EU reaction towards Russia, including new targeted sanctions against those who trample human rights or enable Putin’s kleptocracy.

S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs, Kati Piri MEP, said:

“What has become absolutely clear is that there is no genuine interest in Moscow for a more constructive dialogue with the EU.                                                                     “We should have no illusions: Moscow abused the visit of High Representative Borrell to humiliate and offend the EU. It was an act of insolence towards the whole of the EU, a project that Putin despises and wants to undermine. The EU can only counter the threats posed by Russia to our security by being united and firm. While Moscow tries to divide us. “What we need is a united strategy on Russia. That can only happen in the EU capitals. There can be no appeasement. This means that the Council will have to come up with clear and tough sanctions against Putin and his enablers. I believe HR Borrell has drawn the same conclusion.”

Tonino Picula MEP, the S&D spokesperson on foreign affairs, added:

  • “As we witnessed last week, Russia is not open to hearing the facts being raised directly, neither by their citizens, nor by foreign representatives. The poisoning, arrest and sentencing of Alexei Navalny, as well as the authorities’ violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in his support, must be addressed at the Foreign Affairs Council. They should finally make use of the new global human-rights sanctions regime and adopt additional, targeted sanctions, while continuing to look for options to better assist civil society organisations in Russia.                                                                                                                “Global conflicts and urgent challenges require effective multilateral co-operation, eg: in the UN Security Council, and selective engagement even with those neighbours and international actors that defy the very principles of international co-operation, such as Russia. We are aware of it. That is why Europe needs a new smart and strategic approach towards Russia. While working on it, the EU should not keep falling into political traps further narrowing space for our political actions, but rather strengthen common foreign and security policy.”