Procedure : 2015/3032(RSP)
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Document selected : B8-0080/2016

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PV 21/01/2016 - 8.3
CRE 21/01/2016 - 8.3
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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 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine (2015/3032(RSP))

Helmut Scholz, Barbara Spinelli, Stelios Kouloglou, Kateřina Konečná, Jiří Maštálka on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

European Parliament resolution on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine (2015/3032(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

General aspects

A.  whereas the EU has pursued a policy of extending its economic and political sphere of influence to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, with the signing of Association Agreements including Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements, without properly considering the intensity of trade relations and the historical interdependence of the economies of those countries with the economies of other countries in the region, including Russia; whereas this policy, together with internal problems, has resulted in increased political instability, violence and war in Ukraine;

B.  whereas the DCFTAs have paved the way for an offensive of corporate interests on the natural resources of the three countries, and especially on Ukraine’s well-known potential in terms of agricultural and extractive resources, at the expense of the wellbeing of the local population;

C.  whereas peace and stability are endangered at European and international level by the continuing tensions between the EU, Ukraine, the US and other Western countries, and the Russian Federation; whereas there has been an extremely dangerous political and military escalation between Russia and the West, with the involvement, in the last few years, of NATO member states, coming close to triggering hostilities;


D.  whereas the EU-Ukraine DCFTA provisionally entered into force on 1 January 2016, after being postponed for one year at the request of Ukraine, and despite the failure of the talks on trade issues between Russia, the EU and Ukraine, which were conducted with a view to resolving the problems linked to the entry into force of the DCFTA and its compatibility with trading with the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) trading zone;

E.  whereas the problems which led to the unrest in Ukraine in 2013 remain unresolved, including corruption, the economic and social crisis, distrust in politics and disillusionment with the political system of Ukraine owing to the continued political influence of the oligarchic structures; whereas the failure of the government and parliament to the fight against corruption has undermined the trust of the people of Ukraine and the international community; whereas the current government has added to those problems the imposition of a neoliberal corporate and nationalistic agenda, with the help of paramilitary groups;

F.  whereas Ukraine is on the brink of an economic and social collapse which virtually makes it a failed state; whereas Ukraine’s external debt has more than doubled in two years, and the country has declared a default on its debt to Russia, while inflation rose between December 2014 and December 2015 to 43.3 %, the highest level in 20 years; whereas according to the UN, 80 % of Ukrainians are living below the poverty line; whereas despite the wealth of this country, the minimum wage is about EUR 50 per month, the lowest in Europe;

G.  whereas the Communist Party of Ukraine has been banned;

H.  whereas trade unionists and political parties are facing repression, and basic democratic and civic rights such as freedom of expression and freedom of association are not being respected, in clear contradiction of the Association Agreement signed by Ukraine with the EU;

I.  whereas the Minsk agreements have not been fully implemented, while their implementation presupposes the political will of all sides to develop political and technical solutions on all twelve points of the agreements on the basis of a mutually agreed compromise between the parties;


J.  whereas no-one has so far been held responsible for the disappearance from the Moldovan budget of EUR 1 billion, or more than 15 % of the country’s GDP; whereas the DCFTA between the EU and Moldova has entered into force despite the high levels of corruption among the political elite and the lack of reform of the judicial and banking systems that allow it;

K.  whereas in 2015 Moldova saw the biggest mass protests in decades;

L.  whereas the government has ordered the detention of the leader of one of the opposition parties, Grigory Petrenko, as well as of many other political opponents, and is attempting to prevent political expression of any opposition to it; whereas 32 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), representing all political tendencies and 20 member states, have signed a written declaration on the ‘Petrenko case’, which calls unambiguously on Moldova to ensure the ‘immediate release of all political prisoners’;

M.  whereas the austerity policy combined with the widespread corruption have resulted in the selling-off of Moldova’s industry and resources and the devastation of its citizens’ livelihoods, deepening the loss of trust in Moldova’s political leadership on the part of the younger generation and giving rise to continuing mass emigration;


N.  whereas the geopolitical battle for influence over Georgia has proved to be counterproductive for the country;

O.  whereas the last three years have seen a worsening of key economic indicators in Georgia, with reference to inflation, the state debt, the economic growth rate, exports, imports, national income per capita, pensions and the subsistence minimum; whereas these are unfavourable conditions for the entry into force of the DCFTA;

P.  whereas trade with Russia has proved to be an important tool for the economic stability of Georgia: whereas Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, recently affirmed Russia’s readiness to restore relations with ex-Soviet Georgia, interrupted following the war in August 2008, and offered to lift visa requirements for Georgian nationals;

General aspects

1.  Expresses its deep concern at the devastating effects of the DCFTAs for Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine as regards the wellbeing of the local population and peace in the region, and calls for their provisional suspension;

2.  Calls for work to be started on new forms of cooperation and relationship between the EU and the Eurasian Economic area;

3.  Rejects the current Eastern Neighbourhood Policy of the EU; reiterates that any eastern neighbourhood policy which does not take into account the interests of all actors concerned, including Russia, is condemned to fail; underlines the need to develop a neighbourhood policy promoting regional cooperation without excluding any country interested in taking part; invites Russia to participate proactively in such a process;

4.  Condemns the enlargement of NATO and the fact that as a result of that enlargement and of the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood Policy, a new iron curtain has been put up at the border with Russia; warns that failure to reopen a results-oriented dialogue with Russia could have dangerous consequences for peace and security in Europe and the world;

5.  Calls on the EU to relaunch a goal-oriented political dialogue with Russia with a view to rebuilding trust and finding solutions to all pending issues and controversial questions; calls for the reinstatement of the dialogue formats which existed between the EU and Russia before the start of the Ukrainian crisis, at all levels of the EU institutions; urges the EU to end its policy of sanctions against Russia, which has resulted in a trade war and which has proved, above all, to be politically ineffective and counterproductive;


6.  Deeply deplores the fact that the Commission is blind to the realities in Ukraine and the failure of the Ukrainian Government to implement basic reforms in line with its obligations under the Association Agreement and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), such as:

Øconsistent eradication of corruption;

Øestablishment of the rule of law;

Ødecentralisation and profound guarantees as regards the democratic participation of the people of Ukraine’s regions in all important decision-making processes, in particular in the field of social and economic development;

Ødefinitive decoupling of the oligarchs from politics, under democratic control;

Ørespect for human and democratic rights, including language rights;

Ødissolution of the paramilitary units and restoration of strict state control over the police and army;

Øimmediate transparent, democratic and legal parliamentary control over all security forces in the country and disarmament of all paramilitary and private so-called security forces;

Øan end to austerity policy.

7.  Reject any financial support for Ukraine without the implementation of these reforms; calls on the Commission and the EEAS to link any further cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities to the objectives of guaranteeing the activities of trade unions and social movements, as well as the freedoms of association and expression;

8.  Condemns in the strongest possible terms the banning of the Communist Party of Ukraine, and calls for the immediate lifting of the ban; expresses deep concern at this attack on freedom of expression and the existence of a democratic political party in Ukraine, and calls on the EU institutions, as well as on other democratic European and international bodies, to take a firm stand and to strongly condemn this serious attack on democracy in Ukraine;

9.  Strongly supports the Minsk process, including its trade-related commitments, and urges the parties to adhere to the agreements already reached and to develop them in new negotiations into a more transparent and clearer roadmap, with concrete benchmarks to be fulfilled by all negotiating parties;

10.  Opposes the policy of a huge increase in Ukraine’s external debt of being operated by the Commission in coordination with the IMF, which is leading to Ukraine becoming dependent on international financial institutions;

11.  Expresses its deep concern at the huge influence of the far right on Ukrainian politics; stresses that allowing people with extreme-right views control over positions with significant law enforcement resources poses an obvious danger to democracy; calls urgently on the Ukrainian Government to dismantle the violent extreme-right groups, in application of the Association Agreement and the UN convention on human rights;


12.  Expresses its deep concern at Moldova’s failure to establish the rule of law: call for an end to impunity over the disappearance of EUR 1 billion euro from the Moldovan budget, as well as other cases of corruption; notes the failure to establish an independent judiciary as called for under the EU-Moldova Association Agreement;

13.  Demands the immediate release of all political prisoners in Moldova, including Grigory Petrenko and his seven opposition supporters, and an immediate and full end to judicial arbitrariness; calls on the Government of Moldova to meet the country’s obligations as a member state of the Council of Europe and as a party to the ECHR;

14.  Calls on the Government of Moldova to revise its austerity policy, to act to empower national industry, and to consider the urgent social needs of the population, in particular as regards healthcare, heating and education;

15.  Calls for a peaceful resolution of the Transnistria conflict through a renovation of the legal status negotiations, under the 5+2 format and using all means of the OSCE mechanism on the basis of the Dublin declaration of 2012 recognising the territorial integrity of Moldova, while also taking account of the interests of all actors concerned, including Ukraine and Russia;


16.  Calls on the EU to support the process of normalisation of relations between Georgia and Russia;

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the Governments and Parliaments of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, the IMF, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

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