Motion for a resolution - B7-0150/2014Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the EU-Russia summit

4.2.2014 - (2014/2533(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission
pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Guy Verhofstadt, Kristiina Ojuland, Leonidas Donskis, Graham Watson, Louis Michel, Sophia in ‘t Veld, Marietje Schaake, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Sarah Ludford, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0150/2014

Procedure : 2014/2533(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
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European Parliament resolution on the EU-Russia summit


The European Parliament,

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia, in particular those of 17 February 2011 on the rule of law in Russia[1], of 13 September 2012 on the political use of justice in Russia[2], of 13 December 2012 containing Parliament’s recommendations to the Council, the Commission and the European External Action Service on the negotiations of the new EU-Russia Agreement[3], of 13 June 2013 on the rule of law in Russia[4], of 12 September 2013 on the pressure exerted by Russia on Eastern Partnership countries (in the context of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius)[5], of 12 December 2013 on the outcome of the Vilnius Summit and the future of the Eastern Partnership, in particular as regards Ukraine[6],

–       having regard to the existing Agreement on Partnership and Cooperation establishing a partnership between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Russian Federation, of the other part, and to the ongoing negotiations for a new EU-Russia agreement,

–       having regard to the objectives and commitments of the EU and Russia pursuant to the ‘Partnership for Modernisation’ initiated in Rostov-on-Don on 1 June 2010,

–       having regard to the results of the EU-Russia summit of 28 January 2014,

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

A.     whereas the EU remains committed to further deepening and developing its relations with Russia, and whereas the EU and Russia have already 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 EU-Russia summit of 28 January 2014 was reduced to a three-hour restricted meeting that focused on a limited number of issues, reflecting the deterioration in EU-Russia relations, mostly as a result of Russia’s pressure on Eastern Partners;

C.     whereas the EU 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 sharing and upholding democratic principles, the rule of law and respect for fundamental values;

D.     whereas similar commitments and obligations stem from Russia’s membership of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and whereas Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is based on the assumption that the rule of law is upheld in the country;

E.     whereas, as of 1 December 2013, Advanced Passenger Information (API) data is being transferred by air carriers to the Russian authorities, and whereas from 1 July 2014 full passenger and crew data will be required by the Russian authorities for overflights; whereas the Russian authorities are aiming to establish a fully fledged Passenger Name Record collection system; whereas the API data can be used by the Russian authorities to identify EU citizens who may criticise the Russian authorities during the Sochi Olympic Games;

F.     whereas there are serious concerns about developments in the Russian Federation with regard to respect for and protection of human rights, the rule of law, respect for basic democratic principles and the fairness of elections, freedom of the press and media, and freedom of assembly;

G.     whereas EU citizens participating in or watching the Olympic Games are subject to blanket surveillance through the interception and retention of all communications; whereas the Commission considers that each Member State should inform its own citizens of the mass surveillance programmes surrounding Sochi, but whereas no Member State seems to have done so;

H.     whereas Russia imposed a series of targeted sanctions against neighbouring countries prior to the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November 2013, designed to undermine the commitment of these countries to signing or proceeding towards association agreements and free trade regimes with the EU;

I.      whereas the adoption of laws on the registration of political parties and NGO financing, of the discriminatory anti-LGBTI law banning ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations’, which equates homosexuality with paedophilia, of laws on the right of assembly, extremism and defamation, and of internet filtering restrictions, has made a significant contribution to a deterioration in the climate as regards the development of a genuine civil society in Russia and has been used to harass NGOs, the democratic opposition and the media;

J.      whereas the Russian authorities have increased mass surveillance activities in view of the Sochi Olympic Games through the reinforcement of the SORM (System of Operative-Investigative Measures) surveillance programme; whereas there is no effective democratic or judicial oversight in place vis‑à-vis surveillance activities by the Russian authorities; whereas it has been confirmed by the Russian Supreme Court that the SORM programme can be used to eavesdrop on individuals criticising the government, as if they were participating in ‘extremist actions’;

1.      Notes that the reduced format of the EU-Russia summit is an appropriate reflection of the current state of affairs in EU-Russia relations, which allows for a pragmatic exchange on topical issues while also symbolising the challenges EU-Russia cooperation currently faces; suggests that EU-Russia summits be held once a year instead of the current biannual format;

2.      Underlines the fact that medium- and long-term political and economic stability and development in Russia are dependent on the emergence of true democracy and stresses that the future development of EU-Russia relations will depend on the efforts made to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights inside Russia;

3.      Considers it regrettable, at the same time, that the Russian leadership regards the EU’s Eastern Partnership as a threat to its own political and economic interests; underlines the fact that, on the contrary, Russia will gain from increased trade and economic activities, while its security will be enhanced by a stable and predictable neighbourhood;

4.      Underlines the fact that Russia’s systematic failure to respect democratic principles, the rule of law and fundamental rights must be better reflected in the EU’s policy positions and in all aspects of EU-Russia relations, in particular as regards the work on a new Cooperation Agreement; reiterates its support for a comprehensive, legally binding agreement that covers political, economic and social issues and 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; expresses its concern over the current collection and use of API data and the aim of the Russian authorities to collect PNR data in the near future without any legal basis for such data transfers;

5.      Calls on the Commission to consider possible counter-measures which the EU could evoke if Russia breaks WTO trade rules for short-sighted political ends; emphasises that, while Russia should not be given the chance to veto the political choices of the Eastern Partnership countries, the EU must be ready and willing to engage over Russia’s legitimate concerns and interests, in particular as regards trade and commercial interests; reiterates, however, that, unlike the Customs Union championed by Russia, the EU’s agreements with the Eastern Partner countries on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) do not prohibit the latter from engaging in free trade with third countries; points out, therefore, that following the signing of an association agreement including a DCFTA, Eastern Partners will still be able to conduct free trade with Russia under the free trade agreements currently signed as part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); states, therefore, that Russia must drop its ‘us or them’ rhetoric in intimidating the Eastern Partners from seeking closer relationships with the EU;

6.      Welcomes the presidential amnesty and the release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, of the two ‘Pussy Riot’ activists and of the Greenpeace members, but notes that it appears that these moves are mere cosmetic gestures aimed at boosting Russia’s image before the Sochi Olympic Games; calls on EU political leaders and public figures who will be attending the Sochi Olympics to raise human rights and democracy issues and to refrain from taking part in publicity stunts with the Russian leadership; expresses its concern over the Russian blanket surveillance programme SORM; questions the three-year retention of all data collected during the Sochi Olympic Games by Russian secret services; calls on the Russian Government to stop the persecution against environmental activists Suren Gazoryan, Evgeniy Vitishko and Andrei Rudomakha over their allegations regarding state corruption and environmental concerns in connection with the preparations for the Winter Olympic Games;

7.      Notes the widespread protests and demonstrations in Russia following the presidential elections in March 2012, which continued for several months; regrets the fact that the Russian leadership ignored and suppressed this popular movement, which was a sign of a deep attachment to democracy among Russian citizens; calls on the Russian authorities to release the remaining imprisoned protesters and to engage with civil society and the democratic opposition;

8.      Is alarmed by President Putin’s recent attempts to reassure gay visitors to Sochi that they should not fear ‘being rounded up or criminal punishment, but warning them to ‘leave children alone’;

9.      States that although the ban on protest rallies during the Olympic Games has been eased, the measures in place disproportionately target groups campaigning for gay rights and political reform, limit the number of demonstrators and only allow protests in certain pre-approved areas, thus undermining freedom of assembly;

10.    Welcomes Russia’s efforts, together with the USA and the international community, to approve a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution regarding the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons and the launch of the Geneva II talks; urges Russia, nevertheless, as a permanent member of the Security Council, to face up to its responsibilities in the Syrian crisis and to facilitate the approval of a UNSC binding humanitarian resolution and the referral of the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court;

11.    Recalls its recommendation on common visa restrictions for Russian officials involved in the Sergei Magnitsky case, and asks the Council and the Commission to implement an EU-wide visa ban and to freeze the financial assets in the EU of all officials involved in the death of Magnitsky, who is being prosecuted posthumously, and of other serious human rights violators in Russia; stresses that those individuals must not benefit from any EU-Russia visa facilitation agreement; expresses deep concern over the plans to include a large number of Russian officials with so-called ‘service passports’ in the visa facilitation agreement currently under discussion;

12.    Calls for a centralisation of EU policy responsibility towards Russia in the next term of the European Commission, with a clear and central role for the High Representative / Vice-President and with the Member States committed to speaking to Russia with one voice;

13.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the European External Action Service, the Member States and the Government, the Parliament and President of the Russian Federation.