Procedure : 2011/2752(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B7-0450/2011

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 06/07/2011 - 15
CRE 06/07/2011 - 15

Votes :

OJ 07/07/2011 - 161

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0396/2011

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the preparations for the Russian State Duma elections in December

Kristiina Ojuland, Marielle De Sarnez, Leonidas Donskis, Marietje Schaake, Graham Watson, Guy Verhofstadt, Fiona Hall, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, Edward McMillan-Scott on behalf of the ALDE Group

European Parliament resolution on the preparations for the Russian State Duma elections in December  

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Russian Federation, of the other part(1), and the negotiations initiated in 2008 on a new EU-Russia agreement, as well as to the ‘Partnership for Modernisation’ initiated in 2010,

–   having regard to its previous reports and resolutions on Russia and on EU-Russia relations, in particular its resolutions of 17 February 2011(2) on the rule of law, of 17 June 2010(3) on the EU/Russia Summit, of 12 November 2009(4) on the preparations for the EU-Russia Summit in Stockholm on 18 November 2009, of 17 September 2009(5) on the murder of human rights activists in Russia, of 17 September 2009(6) on external aspects of energy security and the resolution on the EU-Russia summit in Nizhny-Novgorod,

–   having regard to the EU-Russia human rights consultations and the latest meeting held in this context on 4 May 2011,

–   having regard to the decision of the Russian Ministry of Justice on 22 June to refuse the application for official registration of the People's Freedom Party (PARNAS), which will render the party unable to field candidates and take part in the December State Duma elections, and, most likely, unable to take part in the Russian Presidential elections in March 2012,

–   having regard to the obligation to uphold democratic principles entailed by Russia's membership in the Council of Europe and as a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights,

–   having regard to the serious concern expressed by the European Court of Human Rights over the cumbersome registration procedures for political parties in Russia, delivered on 12 April 2011,

–   having regard to the concern expressed over this decision by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on 22 June 2011,

–   having regard to the outcome of the EU-Russia Summit held in Nizhny-Novgorod on 9-10 June 2011,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas the European Union remains committed to further deepening and developing the relations between EU and Russia, which is shown by the Union's commitment to seriously engage in negotiating a new framework agreement for the further development of EU-Russia relations and whereas the European Union and Russia have established deep and comprehensive relations, particularly in the energy, economic and business sectors and have become intertwined and mutually interdependent in the global economy,

B.  whereas the European Union and its Member States must remain vigilant in safeguarding democratic principles and the rule of law in the world, in particular with an important neighbouring country like Russia, which, through its membership of the Council of Europe, has committed itself to share and uphold democratic principles, the rule of law and respect for fundamental values,

C. whereas similar commitments and obligations stem from Russia's membership of the OSCE and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council,

D. whereas the European Court of Human Rights has condemned the Russian Federation for serious human rights violations in many cases and judgments and the implementation of the judgments remains insufficient,

E.  whereas the European Parliament and other EU institutions and high officials have repeatedly criticised Russia on a number of serious breeches of democratic standards, human rights violations and failures to uphold the rule of law,

1.  Stresses that the future development of EU-Russia relations will be dependent on the efforts to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and the respect for fundamental rights inside Russia;

2.  Expresses its profound disappointment over the refusal to register the People's Freedom Party as well as several other parties, which seriously undermines the principle of political pluralism and freedom of association, which are indispensible elements of genuine democracy;

3.  Deplores that this decision jeopardizes the legitimacy of the forthcoming State Duma elections in December and the Presidential elections in March next year, as the citizens of Russia are denied the possibility to follow and take part in a normal election campaign and instead will be presented with a stage-managed campaign between political forces loyal to the Kremlin;

4.  Notes that the regional authorities in Saint Petersburg and Murmansk recently decided to increase the number of signatures required for non-parliamentary parties to field candidates for the regional parliament; deplores that the Russian electoral code seems arbitrarily applied;

5.  Expresses particular concern about the rule of law in Russia and the evident weaknesses in the judicial system in the country; but hopes that an eventual judicial appeal could allow opposition parties to register and take part in the election campaign; reiterates its often repeated concern over the many judicial shortcomings in Russia and calls on the Russian authorities to engage in judicial and administrative reforms to strengthen the rule of law in Russia and to end political interference in the judiciary;

6.  Underlines that the State Duma elections should be free and fair and based on the implementation of election standards set by the Council of Europe and OSCE; points out that the registration procedures for political parties and candidate lists have proved to be unjustifiably cumbersome and therefore an obstacle to free and fair elections; expresses its disagreement with any restriction of the scope for opposition parties to register for the elections and calls on Russia to take action to implement election standards set by the Council of Europe and the OSCE; urges the Russian authorities to allow OSCE/Council of Europe long-term election observation at the earliest stage and calls on the HR/VP to insist on the establishment of a mission for this purpose;

7.  Encourages the Council of Europe to consider whether this latest decision limiting the freedom of association and political expression is in line with Russia's obligations and to examine whether the legislation, and its practical implementation, comply with Council of Europe standards; recalls that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe holds the right to withhold verification of the credentials of parliamentarians elected through elections deemed in breech with European standards;

8.  Reiterates its calls on the Russian authorities to ensure that all political forces can take part in the December elections to the State Duma on a fair basis and that a competitive, free and fair election campaign can be held, with equal access to media and no undue interference from state authorities; underlines that it is unacceptable to exert any pressure on candidates or potential candidates or in any other way hinder the free democratic process;

9.  Underlines that the systematic failure of Russia to respect democratic principles, the rule of law and fundamental rights must be reflected in the negotiating position of the European Union as regards the work on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement; reiterates its support for a comprehensive, legally binding agreement that covers political, economic and social issues and which includes all areas related to democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, particularly fundamental rights, provided that Russia is ready to take steps to enhance the rule of law and respect for human rights;

10. Equally reiterates its support for the Partnership for Modernisation, but underlines that Russia must abide to and implement fundamental principles of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and media freedom as a basis for strengthened and enhanced cooperation with the European Union; beyond the immediate concerns over the registration of political parties and over the imperilled legitimacy of the forthcoming elections, calls on Russia to take concrete action to improve its human rights record and to protect journalists, human rights activists, minorities and opposition representatives from violence and intimidation;

11. Calls on the Polish Council President, on the President of the European Council and on the High Representative to proceed with caution in the negotiations on a new agreement with Russia during the coming months, as any major developments should wait until the Duma election process and the conduct of the March 2012 Presidential elections have been duly analysed, recommends the EU-Russia Summit scheduled to be held in December in Brussels be postponed;

12. Reminds the Commission of the proposal, adopted by the European Parliament in the 2011 budget, to set up an EU-Russia civil society dialogue in connection with the biennial EU-Russia Summits and reiterates that the EU is prepared to contribute in every possible way to improve the effectiveness of an independent rule-of-law system in Russia and that the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the Venice Commission can offer the Russian authorities increased support and expertise, if needed;

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.


OJ L 327, 28.11.1997, p. 1.


Texts adopted, P7_TA-PROV(2011)0066.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2010)0234.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0064.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0022.


Texts adopted, P7_TA(2009)0021.

Last updated: 5 July 2011Legal notice