REPORT with a proposal for a European Parliament recommendation to the Council on the new EU-Russia agreement

    16.3.2009 - (2008/2104(INI))

    Committee on Foreign Affairs
    Rapporteur: Janusz Onyszkiewicz

    Procedure : 2008/2104(INI)
    Document stages in plenary
    Document selected :  
    A6-0140/2009
    Texts tabled :
    A6-0140/2009
    Texts adopted :

    PROPOSAL FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RECOMMENDATION TO THE COUNCIL

    on the new EU-Russia agreement

    (2008/2104(INI))

    The European Parliament,

    - having regard to the proposal for a recommendation to the Council by Janusz Onyszkiewicz on behalf of the ALDE Group on relations between the EU and Russia (B6‑0373/2007),

    - having regard to the 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], which entered into force on 1 December 1997 and expired in 2007 but has been automatically prolonged,

    - having regard to the Council decision of 26 May 2008 to open negotiations with the Russian Federation on a new agreement and the resumption of those negotiations in December 2008,

    - having regard to the objective of the EU and Russia, set out in the joint statement issued following the St Petersburg Summit held on 31 May 2003, to set up a common economic space, a common space of freedom, security and justice, a space of cooperation in the field of external security and a space of research and education, including cultural aspects and subsequently adopted road maps,

    - having regard to the 2006 agreement between the Russian Federation and the European Community on visa facilitation and readmission,

    –    having regard to the European Energy Charter signed on 17 December 1991 and the subsequent Energy Charter Treaty (ECT), which was opened for signature on 17 December 1994 and which entered into force in April 1998, and which is legally binding between all Contracting Parties that have ratified the ECT and those which did not opt out of applying the ECT provisionally pending its entry into force, pursuant to Article 45(2), and to the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue instituted at the sixth EU-Russia Summit held in Paris on 30 October 2000,

        having regard to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the 1991 UN/ECE Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (“Espoo Convention”),

    –   having regard to its resolution of 8 July 2008 on the environmental impact of the planned gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea to link up Russia and Germany[2],

       having regard to the unprecedented disruption of supply of Russian gas to the European Union in January 2009,

    - having regard to the EU-Russia human rights consultations and their lack of tangible results,

    –   having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) and the protocols thereto,

    - having regard to ongoing negotiations on the accession of the Russian Federation to the World Trade Organization (WTO),

    - having regard to the many credible reports by Russian and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the continuing grave violations of human rights in Russia, the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights relating to Chechnya and the many such cases pending before the Court,

    - having regard to its previous resolutions on the Russian Federation, including in particular those of 18 December 2008 on attacks on human rights defenders in Russia and the Anna Politkovskaya murder trial[3], of 13 March 2008 on Russia[4], of 10 May 2007 on the EU-Russia Summit to be held in Samara on 18 May 2007[5], of 19 June 2008 on the EU-Russia Summit of 26-27 June 2008 in Khanty-Mansiysk[6], of 25 October 2006 on EU-Russia relations following the murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya[7], of 14 November 2007 on the EU-Russia Summit[8] and of 13 December 2006 on the EU-Russia Summit in Helsinki on 24 November 2006[9],

    - having regard to its resolution of 26 May 2005 on EU-Russia relations[10],

    - having regard to its resolution of 19 June 2007 on EU economic and trade relations with Russia[11], which states that “the human rights situation in Russia should be an integral part of the EU-Russia political agenda” and that “extensive economic cooperation between Russia and the EU must be based on high standards of democracy and free market principles”,

    - having regard to its resolution of 3 September 2008 on the situation in Georgia[12],

    - having regard to its resolution of 26 September 2007 on towards a common European foreign policy on energy[13],

    - having regard to its resolutions of 17 January 2008 on a Black Sea Regional Policy Approach[14] and on a more effective EU policy for the South Caucasus: from promises to actions[15],

    - having regard to the joint statement of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council on Freedom, Security and Justice of 22 November 2007,

    - having regard to the joint statement by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly on the Russian Duma elections held on 2 December 2007,

    - having regard to Rule 114(3) and Rule 83(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

    - having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on International Trade and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (A6-0140/2009),

    A.  whereas EU relations with Russia are of crucial importance for the purposes of pragmatic cooperation; whereas Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a member of the G8, the third largest trading partner of the EU, the fourth largest trading partner of the Eurozone and an essential energy supplier to the EU; whereas the EU shares with Russia not only economic and trade interests but also an objective to act in the international arena, as well as responsibility for global issues and issues concerning the common European neighbourhood; whereas enhanced cooperation and good-neighbourly relations between the EU and Russia should be based on mutual trust and common values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law as well as on cooperation on international issues and are therefore of key importance to the stability, security and prosperity of the whole of Europe; whereas EU relations with Russia should be based on mutual respect but also on the respect by each of the parties of the sovereignty of nations in their neighbourhood,

    B.  whereas the EU is based on common values, such as democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and whereas full respect for these values must be one of the foremost priorities in pursuing enhanced cooperation with any third state,

    C.  whereas cooperation between the EU and Russia is beneficial for international stability; whereas, in addition, Russia has a responsibility to contribute to financial and political stability and sense of security in Europe and in the world, in particular by adopting and maintaining a responsible and peaceful approach to the EU-Russia common neighbourhood; whereas the EU already engages with Russia on Afghanistan, the Middle East and the Balkans and in the UN and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in developing common views and approaches on other key security issues, such as nuclear proliferation, arms control and disarmament, the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime, climate change and the global economic and financial crisis,

    D.  whereas Russia’s disproportionate counter-attack, triggered by the Georgian troops entering South Ossetia, extended to the other Georgian territories with the use of armour and air power, as well as the unprovoked military action in Abkhazia, including attacks and occupation of Georgian seaports, followed by the recognition of the two break-away enclaves, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, puts a question mark on Russia’s readiness to build, together with the EU, a common space of security in Europe; whereas the further development of Europe’s partnership with Russia needs to include a significant dialogue on security, based on the commitments of both partners to their shared values, respect for international law and territorial integrity and commitment to and obligations under the Helsinki Charter,

    E.   whereas the negotiations on a new agreement aimed at enhancing cooperation between the EU and the Russian Federation in no way legitimise the current status quo in Georgia, while the obligation for Russia to implement fully the agreements signed on 12 August and 8 September 2008 with regard to the conflict in South Ossetia and Abkhazia remains valid, since its compliance with those agreements should be a sine qua non for the successful completion of the talks, together with tangible assurances from Russia that it will not resort to the use of force against any of its neighbours,

    F.   whereas, particularly after the events in Georgia, the parties' positions on Kosovo and the common neighbourhood remain farther apart than ever,

    G.  whereas the conclusion of an agreement on future cooperation remains of the utmost importance for further development and intensification of cooperation between the two sides; whereas the EU's policy towards Russia must be based on unity and solidarity and whereas the EU should have a common approach and speak with one voice; whereas the EU Member States should inform and consult in due time with the other Member States potentially concerned by bilateral agreements or disputes with Russia,

    H.  whereas the new comprehensive agreement designed to replace the current PCA must represent an improvement in quality and reflect the whole breadth of the cooperation, the new realities of the 21st century and compliance with the principles of international relations and respect for democratic norms and human rights,

    I.    whereas the most recent parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia were conducted in conditions falling far short of European standards as regards access for international election monitors, the ability of opposition parties to organise and field candidates, the fairness and independence of the media and the neutrality of public bodies, leading to serious departures from Russia’s obligations as a member of the Council of Europe and the OSCE,

    J.   whereas the Russian Federation is a member of the Council of Europe and thus has committed itself to the objectives of the Council, which are, in particular, to promote democracy and respect for human rights and to consolidate democracy and stability in Europe; whereas the EU should strongly defend the principle that respect for the rule of law and existing commitments in that organisation is vital to the success of the EU-Russia partnership,

    K. whereas numerous reports by NGOs and independent experts show that the 2006 law on NGOs and other measures taken by the Russian Government, including the anti-extremism legislation and the extension of State control over significant sections of the media, severely undermine freedom of expression and hamper human rights and civil society activities in Russia,

    L.  whereas the continued incarceration of political prisoners and the treatment of human rights defenders contradict the commitment of the Russian Federation to strengthening the rule of law in Russia and ending “legal nihilism”,

    M. whereas the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and a number of independent human rights organisations have raised serious questions about standards of justice in Russia, including the lack of judicial independence, the denial of fair trials to defendants in politically controversial cases, the harassment and persecution of defence lawyers and the return of the trial and detention of political prisoners within the Russian penal system,

    N.  whereas the Russian Federation has resisted taking effective action to ensure an end to continuing abuses and impunity for crimes, despite the fact that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has, in a growing number of judgments, found Russia responsible for serious systemic human rights abuses, including extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances,

    O. whereas the underlying principles governing economic and trade relations between the EU and the Russian Federation should be reciprocity, sustainability, transparency, predictability, reliability, non-discrimination and good governance; whereas the new agreement should be legally binding and should provide for clear dispute-settlement mechanisms,

    P.  whereas the recent crisis in gas supplies to the European Union, which left millions of citizens in Bulgaria, Slovakia and elsewhere in the EU without heating and hot water in freezing winter temperatures, raises serious concerns over the reliability of Russian energy supplies,

    Q.  whereas, in terms of energy security, relations between the EU and Russia offer great potential for positive and constructive mutual interdependence, provided that the partnership is based on the principle of non-discrimination and fair treatment, and on equal market conditions, as provided for in the ECT; whereas the recent gas crisis proved the need for the adoption of, and compliance with, a set of rules based, as a minimum, on the current ECT; whereas a secure energy relationship between the EU and Russia equally rests on transparency of energy trading in transit countries; whereas, in terms of energy security, relations between the EU and Russia offer great potential for positive and constructive mutual interdependence, provided that the partnership is based on the principle of non-discrimination and fair treatment, and on equal market conditions; whereas Russia’s energy policies in practice have featured examples of monopolistic and coercive abuse, particularly the denial of third country transit rights, supply interruptions and the violation of property rights,

    R.  whereas the Brussels European Council of 15-16 June 2006 recommended that the negotiation of the European Energy Charter Transit Protocol be concluded, that ratification of the ECT by all signatories to the Charter be secured and that the Commission be invited, especially in view of the recent gas crisis, to set out elements for an agreement with Russia on energy completing the existing and binding PCA or within the framework of the successor to the PCA; whereas the ECT is already legally binding on all EU Member States and on Russia as a signatory pursuant to Article 45,

    S.  whereas close collaboration in the field of energy policy and the definition of a long-term energy strategy are preconditions for balanced development of the EU and Russian economies alike,

    T.  whereas the EU has often failed to speak with a common voice in its relations with Russia; whereas a functioning mechanism should exist within the Council, under the responsibility of the High Representative, which would enable Member States to consult each other sufficiently in advance on every bilateral issue with Russia which could have repercussions on other Member States and the EU as a whole,

    U. whereas the ongoing economic crisis that is deeply affecting both Russia and the EU offers an opportunity for a new start for bilateral relations based on a better and franker mutual understanding that avoids the suspicions and the shortfalls of the past and provides the basis for the definition and enhancement of real shared common values,

    1.   Addresses the following recommendations to the Council and the Commission and asks them to take them into account when pursuing the negotiations:

    a)   continue to insist on a broad, wide-ranging and legally binding agreement based on a shared commitment to human rights, covering the whole range of cooperation between the parties and representing a step up from the current PCA, both in terms of the depth of the commitments and the subjects covered; insist that the agreement should comprise enforcement mechanisms for its relevant parts;

    b)  insist on the fact that the violation by Russia of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and its role in the gas dispute at the beginning of 2009 have seriously endangered relations between the EU and Russia and the negotiations on the new agreement;

    c)   insist that the EU’s relationship with Russia must be based on respect for the rule of international law and all binding agreements and treaties to which Russia and EU Member States adhere, including the UN Charter, the ECHR and the ECT, as well as the rules and commitments incumbent on members of the OSCE and Council of Europe;

    d)   put in place a consultation mechanism, under the responsibility of the High Representative, which would enable Member States to consult each other sufficiently in advance on every bilateral issue – whether an agreement or a dispute – with Russia which could have repercussions on other Member States and the EU as a whole, thereby allowing for the adoption by the EU of a position which is as coherent as possible by ensuring that the concerns of every Member State are fully taken into account and preventing any one Member State from blocking the negotiations at a later stage;

    e)   insist on reinforcing the role of the Parliamentary Cooperation Committee in the new agreement, so as to strengthen the parliamentary dimension of the cooperation between the EU and Russia;

    f)    reiterate the commitments agreed upon at international level by both the EU Member States and Russia, notably as members of the Council of Europe and the OSCE, and raise with the Russian Government concerns about the human rights situation and the shrinking space for Russia's civil society, urging it to uphold freedom of expression and association by bringing legislation regulating civil society into line with Russia's European and international commitments, to take prompt and effective steps to foster a favourable working climate for human rights organisations and independent charitable organisations engaged in the promotion of cultural links between Russia and EU Member States, and to stop intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders and refrain from harsh administrative measures against those organisations;

    g)   call on the Russian Government to fully respect media freedom and guarantee the enjoyment by independent media of political and economic conditions enabling them to function normally; urge the Russian Government to put an end to the continuous violence and persecution perpetrated against journalists;

    h)   take the view that the regular six-monthly EU-Russia human rights consultation has failed to produce any tangible results since its establishment in 2005 and needs to be revised, in order to allow for a substantial and result-oriented dialogue on human rights issues in Russia and the EU and on EU-Russian cooperation on human rights issues in international forums;

    i)    insist, therefore, on a thorough overhaul of the EU-Russia human rights consultations, including the creation of a formal role for independent NGOs from Russia and the EU, the involvement of officials from all relevant departments of the Russian Government and an end to the issuing of separate communiqués by the Russian Government;

    j)    appeal to the authorities of the Russian Federation to guarantee the existence and sustainable development of the traditional lifestyle, culture and language of indigenous people living within its borders;

    k)    urge the Russian Government to implement fully the decisions of the ECHR, providing an opportunity to promote accountability for past abuses and ensure an end to ongoing violations;

    l)    stress that the programme for the support of Russian compatriots, supported by the Russian authorities, should not be misused as an instrument aimed at reinforcing political influence in certain EU Member States;

    m)     continue to maintain support for Russia’s accession to the WTO and support the further opening-up of the Russian economy; regard full compliance by Russia with the WTO rules as a necessary precondition and a minimum standard for the creation of a free-trade zone between the EU and Russia, which continues to be a long-term objective;

    n)      while welcoming the recent changes, calls for further improvements to be made in legislation and law enforcement as regards the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights in order to increase competitiveness and make the investment climate attractive by approximating regulatory systems with the highest international standards and norms; urges the Russian authorities, ahead of and preceding Russia’s forthcoming membership of the WTO, to align Part IV of Russia's Civil Code on Intellectual Property Rights and relevant procedural enforcement rules with WTO rules and international agreements, particularly the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and to ensure full implementation thereof, so that counterfeiting and piracy can be effectively combated;

    o)     insist that the ECT, as an existing treaty which is legally binding on Russia and all EU Member States, should be the basis for relations in the field of energy and that the principles of the ECT and the Transit Protocol thereto should be incorporated in the new agreement, while reiterating its call on Russia to strengthen its commitment to a rules-based approach by ratifying the ECT and signing and ratifying the Transit Protocol, bearing in mind Parliament’s opinion that the partners should be free to negotiate wording that goes beyond that of the ECT, as to the depth of cooperation and the areas covered by it, but that the agreement should in no circumstances be less comprehensive than that already subscribed to by the parties within the framework of the current PCA;

    p)     within the framework of the negotiations for the new agreement, finalise negotiations on the Transit Protocol and call on Russia to sign it in order to put in place a legal framework governing the transit of energy supplies between the parties which follows on from that already in place under the ECT;

    q)     underline the need for proper environmental impact assessments for all energy-related infrastructure projects, in order to guarantee that international standards of environmental protection are met; in this regard, urge the Russian Federation to ratify the Espoo Convention and the protocol thereto on Strategic Environmental Assessment;

    r)      call for a strengthening of the efficiency and crisis-response capacity of the EU-Russia energy dialogue, for increased transparency, reciprocity and security of investment and for a consequent enhancement of security of energy supply, and underline the need to establish mechanisms for a transparent rules-based system and dispute settlement mechanism in the field of energy;

    s)      draw attention to the dispute settlement mechanism contained in the ECT, already signed by Russia and Ukraine;

    t)      establish a clear code of conduct governing relations between the EU, Russia and the countries of the shared neighbourhood, including provisions relating to respect for the sovereign independence of all European states, a commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes and a determination to resolve frozen conflicts;

    u)      upgrade the existing political dialogue so as to encourage discussion of “hard security issues”, which are often at the core of the disagreements between the EU and Russia but which indubitably affect European and global security, stressing the need for multilateral arms control and reduction, as well as for non-proliferation regimes;

    v)      call on the Russian Government to make – together with the EU and the other members of the Contact Group for Kosovo – a positive contribution to finding a sustainable political solution for the future of Kosovo and for the further enhancement of the stability of the Western Balkans;

    w)     call on the Russian Government to demonstrate its commitment to resolving in a constructive and peaceful manner, together with Georgia and the EU, the “modalities of security and stability in Abkhazia and South Ossetia” as agreed in the agreement of 8 August 2008; call on the Russian Government to provide tangible assurances that Russia will not resort to the use of force against any of its neighbours;

    x)      raise concerns with the Russian Government regarding its decision to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign states, to sign military-assistance and cooperation agreements with the de facto authorities of those two Georgian provinces and to establish military bases there, since these steps undermine the territorial integrity of Georgia as insisted upon by the relevant UN resolutions; call on Russia once again to reverse its decision and maintain that Russia cannot be regarded as an impartial moderator in the peace process; urge the Russian Government to ensure that EU monitors are granted full access to all areas affected by the conflict, in compliance with the mandate of the EU Monitoring Mission;

    y)      insist that the goal of visa-free travel vis-à-vis Russia be pursued in the light of Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001[16], which states that exemption from a visa requirement should be subject to a considered assessment of a variety of criteria relating inter alia to illegal immigration, public policy and security and the EU's external relations with third countries, consideration being also given to the implications of regional coherence and reciprocity, bearing in mind that relations between the EU and white-listed third countries are typified by a special political dimension requiring those third countries to attain an appropriate level in terms of democratic values and fundamental rights;

    z)      insist that visa facilitation for students, researchers and businessmen should be a priority in order to promote people-to-people contacts; insist, however, that any further liberalisation of the visa regime vis-à-vis Russia will be conditional on a corresponding liberalisation of the visa arrangements vis-à-vis European Neighbourhood Policy countries, in order to avoid any discrepancies;

    aa)    in accordance with the EU-Russia agreement on facilitation of short-stay visas, request from the Russian authorities a clear commitment to reduce bureaucratic obstacles applied in a non-reciprocal manner with respect to all travellers, such as the need to have an invitation and to register upon arrival; bear in mind that the changes made in Russian visa rules in recent years and its ceasing to issue multiple-entry business visas may have negative consequences on business and commercial links between the EU and Russia; also bear in mind Parliament's view that facilitated travel for Russian passport holders should be limited to Russian residents only;

    ab)    urgently address the Kaliningrad transit and visa problem, possibly by providing for the whole of the Kaliningrad Oblast to be covered by the local border traffic regime;

    ac)    insist that the EU-Russia relationship be based on the principles of liberalised and open markets and reciprocity of investment rights between the partners, and therefore demand that, in exchange for close and beneficial economic ties, the Russian Government guarantee the property rights of foreign investors and review the 2008 Strategic Sectors Law, which gives the Russian State broad discretion to discriminate against foreign investors, whereas the EU internal market is freely open to Russian investors; demand that the law on investment in strategic sectors must be compatible with Russia's current and future obligations under the WTO as well as the current PCA;

    ad)    within the framework of the ongoing WTO accession negotiations, call on the Russian authorities not to suspend certain already negotiated and agreed commitments and to fully respect the 2004 EU-Russia agreement on WTO accession by eliminating all discriminatory charges, in particular for railway cargo, as well as to abolish export duties on untreated timber;

    ae)    call on Russia to honour its commitment to phase out Siberian overflight payments and to sign the agreement reached on this issue at the summit in Samara;

    af)     address with the Russian Government its plans to develop free trade agreements with certain countries, which may affect the creation of a common economic space with Russia;

    ag)    while welcoming the recent changes, call for further improvements to be made in legislation and law enforcement as regards the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights, in order to increase competitiveness and make the investment climate attractive by approximating regulatory systems with the highest international standards and norms; urge the Russian authorities, ahead of and preceding Russia’s forthcoming membership of the WTO, to align Part IV of Russia's Civil Code on Intellectual Property Rights and relevant procedural enforcement rules with WTO rules and international agreements, particularly the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and to ensure full implementation thereof, so that counterfeiting and piracy can be effectively combated;

    ah)    address a number of shipping-related concerns with the Russian Government, including free passage through the Pilawa strait, access for EU shipping to the passage to Asia along the Northern Russian territory, and the potential environmental hazards resulting from, inter alia, the growth of tanker traffic in the Baltic Sea;

    ai)     address with the Russian Government the issue of congestion on the EU common border, which remains a serious obstacle to EU-Russia trade and economic relations;

    aj)     ask the Russian Federation to cooperate constructively with the EU with a view to resolving the status of break-away territories, including Transnistria, and to contribute to the strengthening of the sovereignty of the Moldovan Government, as a sine qua non for the stability of a key border region of the EU; stress that progress on this issue hinges upon the withdrawal of the Russian troops stationed inside Moldova, as pledged by Russia inter alia at the 1999 OSCE Istanbul Summit;

    ak)    while recognising the positive aspects of the intensification of scientific cooperation between EU and Russia, call for further comprehensive analyses of the (security-related) impacts of Russia’s possible association with the Seventh Framework Programme;

    al)     develop informal guidelines as to how the principles of solidarity and mutual accountability could underpin EU-Russia relations, with the aim of developing a more united and consistent policy vis-à-vis Russia;

    2.  Asks the Council and the Commission to keep Parliament and its Committee on Foreign Affairs regularly and fully informed of the progress of the negotiations and reminds them that the PCA will need Parliament's approval;

    3.  Considers it important that mutual legal obligations should be strengthened through the early conclusion of the PCA and Russian accession to the WTO;

    4.  Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council and the Commission and, for information, to the State Duma, as well as to the Government and the President of the Russian Federation.

    • [1]  OJ L 327, 28.11.1997, p. 1.
    • [2]  Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0336.
    • [3]  Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0642.
    • [4]  Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0105.
    • [5]  OJ C 76 E, 27.3.2008, p. 95.
    • [6]  Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0309.
    • [7]  OJ C 313 E, 20.12.2006, p. 271.
    • [8]  OJ C 282 E, 6.11.2008, p. 329.
    • [9]  OJ C 317 E, 23.12.2006, p. 474.
    • [10]  OJ C 117 E, 18.5.2006, p. 235.
    • [11]  OJ C 146 E, 12.6.2008, p. 95.
    • [12]  Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0396.
    • [13]  OJ C 219 E, 28.8.2008, p. 206.
    • [14]  OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 64.
    • [15]  OJ C 41 E, 19.2.2009, p. 53.
    • [16]  Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of 15 March 2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (OJ L 81, 21.3.2001, p. 1).

    PROPOSAL FOR A RECOMMENDATION (B6‑0373/2007) (1.10.2007)

    under Rule 114(1) of the Rules of Procedure

    by Janusz Onyszkiewicz, on behalf of the ALDE Group

    on relations between the European Union and Russia

    The European Parliament,

    –    having regard to the negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and Russia,

    –    having regard to the forthcoming general elections in December 2007 and the presidential elections in spring 2008 in Russia,

    –    having regard to the considerable challenges facing EU-Russia relations and the increasing authoritarian tendencies that are manifest not only within Russia but also in terms of its external relations,

    –    having regard to Rule 114(1) of its Rules of Procedure,

    A.  having regard to the huge importance of Russia to European and world stability and prosperity,

    B.   whereas the EU has repeatedly underlined its commitment to achieving a strategic partnership with Russia based on democratic values,

    C.  having regard to the increasing need for a firm, robust and comprehensive EU policy on Russia,

    1.   Addresses the following recommendations to the Council:

          (a)  to continue to work on a solution to the trade issues that are currently blocking the start of the negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and Russia;

          (b)  to devise a clear strategy on how to increase Russia's implementation of democratic rules and respect for fundamental values – the common values that must form the base for future relations;

          (c)  to continue to work for Russia's accession to the WTO and its acceptance of modern investment and business rules as guiding principles in a truly independent private sector;

          (d)  to continue to work on the prospect of Russia's adherence to the Energy Charter and the positive outcome of the ratification process;

    2.   Instructs its President to forward this recommendation to the Council and, for information, to the Commission, the Member States and the State Duma and Government of Russia.

    OPINION of the Committee on International Trade (17.7.2008)

    for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

    on Relations between the EU and Russia
    (2008/2104(INI))

    Rapporteur: Eugenijus Maldeikis

    SUGGESTIONS

    The Committee on International Trade calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

    1.  Points out that relations between the EU and Russia have great economic potential, that both sides would benefit from greater economic integration and good neighbourly relations and that cooperation between the EU and Russia contributes decisively to ensuring stability in all areas in which they have mutual and overlapping interests;

    2.  Points out that, with 7.3% of EU trade, Russia is the EU's third most important trading party and that, with a 52.9% share of Russian trade, the EU is Russia's most important trading partner;

    3.  Welcomes the conclusion of a negotiating mandate, and considers the conclusion of a new agreement as a high priority; recalls that the EU and Russia should seek a strategically sustainable and longstanding partnership relationship based on shared values, democracy and human rights and on the principles of reciprocity, transparency, predictability, reliability, non-discrimination and responsible actions by the State, and should strengthen their cooperation notably in the areas of energy and trade;

    4.  Reiterates the importance that ofthe EU and its Member States acting together to develop a uniform and coherent position regarding economic and trade relations between the EU and Russia, notably in the sensitive issue of energy, avoiding any unilateral and privileged approach; and that the individual agreements between the EU Member States and Russia must contribute to achieving the overall objective of energy security for the EU;

    5.  Considers that the new agreement should review in a pragmatic manner the principles and objectives, the goals, means and policies for the development of relations between Russia and the EU in order to promote the rule of law, human rights, dialogue and mutual interests;

    6.  Believes that in parallel to negotiations for a new EU-Russia Agreement, Russian accession to the WTO should continue to be a priority for the EU;

    7.  Believes that the future Russian accession to the WTO is of major importance for future EU-Russia economic relations as it opens the possibility for deeper economic integration between the EU and Russia; calls on the Commission to pursue the aim of negotiating a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement following Russia's accession to the WTO, covering all relevant issues related to trade in goods, services and investments, including in the field of energy, that further develops previously agreed objectives; calls for any trade agreement with Russia to incorporate social and environmental clauses including the ratification and enforcement of core International Labour Organisation standards;

    8.  Urges Russia to find solutions for outstanding issues to be discussed bilaterally and in the multilateral framework, including the implementation of bilateral agreements already reached such as the agreement with the EC of 21 May 2004 concluding the bilateral market access negotiations for the accession of the Russian Federation to the WTO;

    9.  Urges the Russian authorities to improve the investment and business climate, and conditions for competition in Russia; stresses the importance, in this connection, of promoting non-discriminatory, transparent and predictable framework conditions, perfecting foreign investment protection in accordance with internationally recognised OECD standards, improving legal provisions and enforcement procedures regarding protection of intellectual, business and commercial property rights and bringing about legal reforms so as to ensure genuine protection for intellectual property rights and more rapid criminal proceedings; urges the Russian Government to further streamline, standardise and automate its customs procedures;

    10. Stresses that the establishment and operations of companies should be facilitated on a reciprocal basis; points out that the EU is open to investment from Russia, as clearly evidenced by the increased presence of Russian undertakings, particularly in the energy and steel sectors; accordingly urges that foreign undertakings operating in the Russian raw material sector be given the same access as domestic undertakings;

    11. Recalls that the key outstanding issues for the EU concern export duties and railway feesbut also relate to the future stability and predictability of the system ; underlines the importance of expanding agricultural and food trade between Russia and the EU; stresses, in this respect, that progress should be made on both sides on compliance with requirements for rationalised standards and computerised customs formalities in order to facilitate mutual trade and cross border traffic; stresses the need for Russia to harmonise the sanitary and phyto-sanitary requirements for dairy, grain and meat products.

    RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

    Date adopted

    15.7.2008

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    24

    3

    0

    Members present for the final vote

    Graham Booth, Daniel Caspary, Françoise Castex, Christofer Fjellner, Béla Glattfelder, Ignasi Guardans Cambó, Jacky Hénin, Syed Kamall, Caroline Lucas, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva, Erika Mann, Helmuth Markov, Georgios Papastamkos, Tokia Saïfi, Peter Šťastný, Robert Sturdy, Daniel Varela Suanzes-Carpegna, Iuliu Winkler, Corien Wortmann-Kool

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Jean-Pierre Audy, Eugenijus Maldeikis, Rovana Plumb, Salvador Domingo Sanz Palacio, Carl Schlyter, Zbigniew Zaleski

    Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

    Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Francesco Ferrari

    OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (12.2.2009)

    for the Committee on Foreign Affairs

    on Relations between the EU and Russia
    (2008/2104(INI))

    Rapporteur: Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines

    SUGGESTIONS

    The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

    1.   Underlines the need for enhanced cooperation and good neighbourly relations in the context of a strategic relationship between the EU and Russia, built on stability, cooperation and good commercial practice, including transparency, to be expressed in the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that is currently being negotiated - particularly with regard to energy, research and innovation, environment and quality of life issues;

    2.   Stresses the importance of democracy, civil, human and ethnic minority rights and freedom of speech for the future of Russia; asks the European Commission to ensure that these are in the core of any future agreement with the Russian Federation;

    3.   Calls on the Commission and Member States to ensure that all European Union undertakings which have commercial relations with undertakings in the Russian Federation or operate on its territory promote European principles and values;

    4.   Emphasises that Russia is a large dynamic market for EU goods and services - there are many investment opportunities all the way along the energy value chain in the Russian Energy sector; emphasises therefore that it is very important to continue the enhanced dialogue with Russia on energy in the context of the established Energy Dialogue, in the light of increased interdependence, as Russia provides 25% of the EU's oil and gas supplies and the EU accounts for over 50% of Russia's oil and gas exports;

    5.   Stresses that cooperation on energy should be based on the principles in the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) - in particular global energy security, balance of interests of consuming and producing countries, reciprocity on access to investments, markets and infrastructure- as well as non-discrimination, transparency and good governance; calls on the Commission to make Russian ratification of the ECT one of its key aims in negotiations on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement; encourages the Commission to continue working towards Russia’s accession to the WTO; beyond this, underlines the need to work towards an international legal framework of rules which would place obligations on both gas producers and suppliers to ensure reliable, predictable supplies;

    6.   Calls on Russia and the Ukraine to work together to urgently find a fair, long term solution to the recent disputes that have had serious and substantial negative impacts on gas supplies to the EU; stresses the need for the Council and the Commission to continue mediating between the two parties, in order to reach a speedy resolution; believes that access to energy is a human right and that energy supplies should not be used as a political weapon;

    7.   In this context, underlines the need to secure access to diversified sources of energy supply and to enhance energy security and efficiency; stresses the importance of EU competition rules as a base for investments and trade; underlines the necessity to use the private sector to secure and maintain the energy supply; calls on the Commission and the Council to emphasise in negotiations with Russia the importance of the planned Nabucco gas pipeline for the EU, and the EU's opposition to activities that might jeopardise it; considers that, in the current situation, it is vital for the EU to accelerate progress towards putting all new pipeline projects, such as Nabucco, South Stream and TGI in place; stresses the need for the EU to strongly factor energy security considerations into its approach to the aftermath of the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict;

    8.   Notes that Russia has already passed a federal law on renewable energy sources; calls on the Russian Federation to provide support for the development of its renewable energy industry, in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way, and to make use of the environmentally sustainable resources that are available;

    9.   Notes that exploitation of energy reserves and related infrastructure will have a major impact on local environments and inhabitants; calls on the Commission to ask Russia to continue to ensure that exploitation is accompanied by environmental impact assessments and evaluations of the impact on the population living in the areas concerned, and to guarantee the right of those individuals to maintain their traditional relationship with the land; encourages the Commission to pursue energy cooperation with a view to securing fair and accessible energy for the peoples of both sides; calls on the Russian Federation to guarantee compliance with high environmental standards for all the oil and gas projects which are in progress or planned on its territory;

    10. Calls on the Commission to co-operate with Russia to improve the management of its nuclear waste and nuclear safety; encourages the Commission to also pursue close cooperation with Russia regarding nuclear security standards;

    11. Underlines that in the course of negotiations between the EU and Russia special attention has to be paid to the ecological impacts of the Nord Stream gas pipeline;

    12. Calls on the Commission and Member States, in view of the impact of climate change and the immense costs of failure to act, to step up dialogue with the authorities of the Russian Federation in preparation for the 2009 Copenhagen Conference with a view to negotiating and concluding a post-Kyoto agreement;

    13. Calls on Russia to play an active role in future international negotiations and to facilitate a swift agreement by 2009 at the latest, to ensure continuity of the global carbon market;

    14. Welcomes the participation of the Russian Federation in the European Union framework programmes; considers that this is opening the way for the efficient use and development of major Russian human and financial resources in the fields of research, development and innovation, which is to the advantage of both Europe and Russia; urges the Commission to find ways to encourage young researchers and young entrepreneurs from the Russian Federation to take part in European research programmes and the Erasmus programme for young entrepreneurs.

    RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

    Date adopted

    12.2.2009

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    41

    0

    0

    Members present for the final vote

    Šarūnas Birutis, Jan Březina, Jerzy Buzek, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Giles Chichester, Dragoş Florin David, Pilar del Castillo Vera, Den Dover, Lena Ek, Nicole Fontaine, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, András Gyürk, Fiona Hall, David Hammerstein, Rebecca Harms, Ján Hudacký, Romana Jordan Cizelj, Pia Elda Locatelli, Eluned Morgan, Antonio Mussa, Angelika Niebler, Anni Podimata, Miloslav Ransdorf, Vladimír Remek, Herbert Reul, Teresa Riera Madurell, Paul Rübig, Andres Tarand, Britta Thomsen, Patrizia Toia, Catherine Trautmann, Nikolaos Vakalis, Alejo Vidal-Quadras, Dominique Vlasto

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Alexander Alvaro, Juan Fraile Cantón, Cristina Gutiérrez-Cortines, Eija-Riitta Korhola, John Purvis, Vladimir Urutchev

    RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

    Date adopted

    9.3.2009

     

     

     

    Result of final vote

    +:

    –:

    0:

    35

    16

    0

    Members present for the final vote

    Vittorio Agnoletto, Christopher Beazley, André Brie, Elmar Brok, Marco Cappato, Véronique De Keyser, Jas Gawronski, Ana Maria Gomes, Klaus Hänsch, Jelko Kacin, Ioannis Kasoulides, Metin Kazak, Maria Eleni Koppa, Johannes Lebech, Francisco José Millán Mon, Philippe Morillon, Pasqualina Napoletano, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, Raimon Obiols i Germà, Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Alojz Peterle, Samuli Pohjamo, Bernd Posselt, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Christian Rovsing, Flaviu Călin Rus, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, György Schöpflin, Hannes Swoboda, Konrad Szymański, Charles Tannock, Geoffrey Van Orden, Ari Vatanen, Marcello Vernola, Andrzej Wielowieyski, Jan Marinus Wiersma, Josef Zieleniec

    Substitute(s) present for the final vote

    Giulietto Chiesa, Árpád Duka-Zólyomi, Glyn Ford, Marie Anne Isler Béguin, Gisela Kallenbach, Tunne Kelam, Evgeni Kirilov, Alexandru Nazare, Wojciech Roszkowski, Adrian Severin, Csaba Sándor Tabajdi

    Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

    Mieczysław Edmund Janowski, Ewa Tomaszewska