Motion for a resolution - B6-0196/2007Motion for a resolution



to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Inese Vaidere, Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, Konrad Szymański, Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka, Ryszard Czarnecki, Gintaras Didžiokas, Adam Bielan and Michał Tomasz Kamiński
on behalf of the UEN Group
on the EU-Russia Summit to be held in Samara on 18 May 2007

Procedure : 2007/2554(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the EU-Russia Summit to be held in Samara on 18 May 2007

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the European Communities and their Member States and the Russian Federation, which entered into force in 1997 and expires in 2007,

–  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 common space of cooperation in the field of external security and a common space of research and education, including cultural aspects,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its five protocols,

–  having regard to the EU-Russia consultation on human rights,

–  having regard to the many credible reports by Russian and international NGOs on the continuing violations of human rights in Chechnya,

–  having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Council and the European Parliament of 10 January 2007 entitled 'An Energy Policy for Europe' (COM(2007)0001),

–  having regard to its resolution of 23 March 2006 on security of energy supply in the European Union[1],

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia, and in particular

  • -its resolution of 26 April 2007 on the recent repression of demonstrations in Russia[2],
  • -its resolution of 13 December 2006 on the EU-Russia Summit in Helsinki[3],
  • -its resolution of 25 October 2006 on EU-Russia relations following the murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya[4],
  • -its resolution of 15 June 2006 on the EU-Russia Summit in Sochi[5],
  • -its resolution of 19 January 2006 on Chechnya[6],
  • -its resolution of 15 December 2005 on human rights in Russia and the new NGO legislation[7]
  • -and its resolution of 26 May 2005 on EU-Russia relations[8],

–  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the 19th EU-Russia Summit will be held in Samara on 18 May 2007,

B.  whereas relations between the EU and Russia have been steadily developing over the past few years, leading to economic integration and interdependency, which is bound to increase even more in the near future,

C.  whereas EU-Russia relations have enormous economic potential and both parties would benefit from increased economic integration and good-neighbourly relations; whereas cooperation between the EU and Russia is crucial to ensuring stability in all areas of mutual and overlapping interest,

D.  whereas total trade between the EU and Russia amounted to more than EUR 166 billion in 2005; whereas Russia is the EU's third most important trading partner, accounting for 7.3% of the EU's trade, and the EU is Russia's most important trading partner with a 52.9% share of Russia's trade,

E.  whereas the underlying principles governing economic and trade relations between the EU and the Russian Federation should be reciprocity, transparency, predictability, reliability, non-discrimination and good governance,

F.  whereas security of energy supply is one of the biggest challenges for Europe and one of the major fields of cooperation with Russia, and whereas the EU imports approximately a quarter of its gas and oil from Russia and is the most reliable consumer of Russian exports,

G.  whereas the rapid implementation of the four common spaces, aimed at promoting common values, democratic governance, the rule of law and good-neighbourly policies, as well as reciprocity of market access and respect for market rules, should be at the heart of the negotiations on the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement,

H.  whereas the conclusion of a new PCA between the EU and the Russian Federation is of the utmost importance for their future cooperation, in particular with regard to the further development of economic relations, to the further enhancement of security and stability in Europe and to the further strengthening of respect for human rights and democracy,

I.   whereas the Russian Federation is a Member of the Council of Europe and thus has committed itself to the shared values, objectives and commitments of the Council, as laid down in its Statute and conventions, in particular, to promote democracy and consolidate democratic stability in Europe by backing political, legal and constitutional reform at national, regional and local levels,

J.  whereas democracy has been weakened in Russia, in particular by the bringing of all major TV stations and most radio stations under government control, the spread of self-censorship among the print media, new restrictions on the right to organise public demonstrations, the worsening climate for NGOs, harassment of human rights activists, killings of prominent opponents of the Russian Government and increased political control of the judiciary, while serious human rights violations in the form of murder, enforced disappearance, torture, hostage-taking and arbitrary detention are still going on in the Chechen Republic,

K.  whereas so far the EU-Russia human rights consultations have not brought about any substantial progress in this field, which should be a priority in EU-Russia relations,

L.  whereas the last EU-Russia Summit of 24 November 2006 in Helsinki was intended to mark the start of a new phase in EU-Russia relations and, in particular, to launch negotiations on a new framework agreement between the EU and Russia to replace the current PCA which expires in 2007,

M.  whereas the Russian Government does not respect the principles of free trade, imposing long-term import bans without justification on neighbouring countries, including EU Member States, and is still banning imports of agricultural products (wine, fruit and vegetables) from Moldova and Georgia, which is particularly harmful to the economic development of both countries,

N.  whereas Poland has blocked the start of the negotiations on the new framework agreement, making the start of the negotiations conditional upon Moscow lifting a ban on Polish meat imports introduced in 2005 and extended in 2006,

O.  whereas the talks on 21 April between Markos Kyprianou, EU health Commissioner, and Alexei Gordeyev, Russian agriculture minister, to improve relations between Russia and the EU by lifting the ban ended in deadlock, casting a shadow over the EU-Russia summit to be held in Samara on 18 May,

P.  whereas, according to trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, EU-Russia relations have today reached 'a level of misunderstanding or even mistrust we have not seen since the end of the cold war', hindering efforts to build closer links between the two sides,

Q.  whereas the Estonian Parliament last year passed laws allowing the removal of Soviet monuments and the exhumation of Soviet soldiers and whereas Estonia and its Baltic neighbours were forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union at the close of World War II and only regained independence in 1991,

R.  whereas the recent removal from its previous location of a Red Army war memorial which symbolises Soviet repression and occupation for ethnic Estonians has triggered massive protests and violence, aggravating the tensions which have existed between ethnic Estonians and Russians since the break-up of the Soviet Union,

S.  whereas Russia's Upper House of Parliament called for the breaking-off of diplomatic relations with Estonia over the removal, while the Lower House urged that economic sanctions be imposed on the Baltic country,

T.  whereas it is important that the EU speaks with one voice, shows solidarity and displays unity in its relations with the Russian Federation,

1.  Reconfirms its conviction that Russia remains an important partner for pragmatic cooperation with which the EU shares not only economic and trade interests but also the objective of cooperating closely in the international arena as well as in the common neighbourhood;

2.  Stresses the importance of unity and solidarity among the EU Member States in their relations with Russia and underlines that the EU common policy and Member States' bilateral relations with Russia should be guided by jointly agreed principles; welcomes, therefore, the common line taken by the EU in the negotiations with Moscow on the lifting of Russia's ban on Polish meat exports; highlights the fact that this sanction was based on forged and manipulated veterinary documents, since, according to investigations carried out by EU departments, Polish meat meets EU standards;

3.  Regrets the breakdown of these negotiations and the subsequent failure to launch negotiations on a new framework agreement between the EU and Russia and encourages the German Presidency to continue to work to enable the negotiating mandate for a new agreement to be adopted as soon as possible and to start negotiations without further delay;

4.  Calls on the European Union to demonstrate full support for Estonia in the context of recent events regarding the removal of a Soviet war memorial from its central location in Tallinn to the military cemetery, and underlines that it was carried out in accordance with international legal norms and procedures and with due respect paid to those buried;

5.  Points out that the issue of the Red Army war memorial is a domestic Estonian matter and that the subsequent reaction by Russia, for example the call by the Duma delegation for the Estonian Government to resign, is a clear intervention in Estonia's domestic affairs; stresses that the EU must make it very clear that the economic threats and diplomatic actions against Estonia currently proposed in Moscow are not acceptable to the EU and will severely damage EU-Russia relations;

6.  Calls on Russia to immediately lift the blockade of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow and halt the riots around it, and to ensure that the embassy can resume its work in accordance with the Vienna Convention;

7.  Stresses that during the years of Soviet occupation after World War II, tens of thousands of Estonians were killed in deportations and other forms of repression, and again encourages Russia, which claimed and received the status of legal successor state to the USSR, to recognise these facts and the occupation of the Baltic States and to take full responsibility for the damage and losses caused by it;

8.  Considers that the lack of recognition of the totalitarian crimes committed in the past is one of the major reasons for the violations of human rights that are being perpetrated in today's Russia and therefore urges the Russian Government to clearly and openly condemn the crimes of the Communist totalitarian regime and especially the Stalinist crimes carried out under that regime;

9.  Again emphasises that the current situation with regard to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as the situation of ethnic minorities in Russia, remains of serious concern; regrets therefore that the EU-Russia human rights dialogue has brought about no progress in this field and calls on the Russian Government to contribute to the intensification of these consultations as an essential part of the EU-Russia partnership;

10.  Reiterates its view that a firm defence of human rights and democratic values should be a core principle of any EU engagement with Russia; urges the Commission to ensure that these values will not have a subsidiary status in the EU-Russia negotiating package and to set down in the new EU-Russia PCA clearer obligations and more efficient monitoring mechanisms, in addition to the human rights clause; also urges the Commission to ensure that any financial assistance granted to Russia is linked to the development of democratic standards in that country; notes that Russia still needs to make progress towards becoming a more democratic country and fully respecting human rights;

11.  Expresses its deep concern at the continuing reports from Russian and international human rights organisations about the use of torture and inhumane and degrading acts in prisons, police stations and secret detention centres in Chechnya; strongly condemns such practices and calls on the Russian authorities to ensure that the rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Russia is a signatory, are fully respected in the Chechen Republic and that all those who violate those rights are brought to justice;

12.  Encourages Russia to refrain from unjustified imperial ambitions; calls on Russia to withdraw its support for separatist forces in Georgia and to engage constructively in peaceful resolution of the conflicts, particularly by establishing normal relations with Georgia with full respect for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity;

13.  Emphasises the need to work together with Russia as a necessary and important partner to ensure peace, stability and security and fight international terrorism and violent extremism, as well as address other security issues such as environmental and nuclear hazards, drugs, trafficking in arms and human beings and cross-border organised crime in the European neighbourhood;

14.  Calls on the EU and Russia to assume their responsibility for the Iranian nuclear issue and as members of the Quartet for the resolution of the Middle East conflict and to promote efforts to hold an international peace conference on a regional Middle East peace;

15.  Emphasises the importance of Russia's accession to the WTO and is convinced that WTO membership will send an important signal to foreign investors, drive economic growth in Russia and enhance trade exchanges with the EU; underlines, however, that the discriminatory economic policy pursued towards the EU and its Member States, for example double tariffs applied by the Russian railway authorities to the transportation of freight to EU seaports, violates WTO principles;

16.  Considers that the bill recently introduced in the Russian Federation, which allows the government to reject foreign bids for majority stakes in Russian companies, thus prohibiting more than 49% foreign ownership of companies in 39 strategic industries, will do nothing to improve the investment climate and raises fundamental questions regarding the role of the State in a market economy and competition in key sectors of economy;

17.  Reiterates furthermore the importance of setting up the Common Economic Space (CES) and further developing the objectives agreed upon in the CES Road Map, especially as regards the creation of an open and integrated market between the EU and Russia;

18.  Stresses the importance of improving the investment climate in Russia, which can only be achieved by promoting and facilitating non-discriminatory and transparent business conditions, less bureaucracy and two-way investments; is concerned about the lack of predictability in the application of rules by authorities;

19.  Emphasises the importance of enhanced dialogue with Russia on energy issues with a view to ensuring both security of supply and security of demand in the context of increased energy interdependency; stresses that this cooperation must be based on the principles laid down in the Energy Charter Treaty and on reciprocity concerning investment, market and infrastructure access; calls for the European Union to speak to Russia with one voice in these sensitive matters;

20.  Advocates the exchange of information on advanced energy technologies and encourages contacts between EU and Russian energy sector actors, as well as the efforts necessary to improve energy efficiency and to develop non-CO2-emitting technologies, which present significant opportunities for cooperation, particularly industrial cooperation, with the exchange of best practices and technologies between Russian and EU companies;

21.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States and of the Russian Federation and the Council of Europe.