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Wednesday, 11 September 2013 - Strasbourg Revised edition

15. Pressure exercised by Russia on countries of the Eastern Partnership (in the context of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius) (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Presidente. − L'ordine del giorno reca la discussione sulla dichiarazione della Commissione sulle pressioni esercitate dalla Russia su paesi del partenariato orientale (nel contesto del prossimo vertice del partenariato orientale a Vilnius) (2013/2826 (RSP)).


  Štefan Füle, Member of the Commission. − Madam President, the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius is fast approaching. It promises to mark a momentous step forward in our political association and economic integration with several of our Eastern European neighbours. Clearly, and wrongly, this is seen in some quarters as a threat. As a result, we have seen enormous pressure being brought to bear upon some of our partners.

The European Union has always been perfectly clear about its policy towards its eastern neighbours. Our common interests dictate that we should work with our eastern neighbours to build a zone of prosperity and stability on our continent.

Already the existing partnership and cooperation agreement signed in 1994 foresaw the development of a free trade area. Feasibility studies launched in 2004 led to the development of so-called ‘deep and comprehensive free trade areas’ (DCFTAs) as an integral part of the new enhanced agreements subsequently known as association agreements proposed in 2006.

The first DCFTA negotiations started with Ukraine in 2008 as soon as it had become a member of the WTO, the World Trade Organization. The Commission’s Communication of 2008 then laid the basis for the offer extended to our eastern partners at the Prague Summit establishing the Eastern Partnership in 2009 and confirming our joint objective of political association and economic integration underpinned by those association agreements/deep and comprehensive free trade areas.

From the beginning Parliament has strongly supported this approach of transforming this part of Europe both politically and trade-wise. It is true that Customs Union membership is not compatible with the DCFTA which we have negotiated with Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, George and Armenia. This is not because of some ideological differences. This is not about a clash of economic blocks or a zero sum game. This is due to legal impossibilities. For instance, you cannot at the same time lower your customs tariffs as per the DCFTA and increase them as a result of Customs Union membership.

The new generation of association agreements will bring enormous transformative benefits through legal approximation, regulatory convergence and market liberalisation. Independent studies indicate that a DCFTA will bring substantial benefits. Exports to the European Union could double over time, leading to an increase in GDP of up to approximately 12%. But in order to implement these our partners must enjoy full sovereignty over their own trade policies, which members of the Customs Union will not.

It may certainly be possible for members of the Eastern Partnership to increase their cooperation with the Customs Union, perhaps as observers, and participation in a DCFTA is of course fully compatible – let me stress that – fully compatible with our partners’ existing free trade agreements with other Commonwealth of Independent States’ organisations.

Let me be clear. The development of the Eurasian Union project must respect our partners’ sovereign decisions. Any threats from Russia linked to the possible signing of agreements with the European Union are unacceptable. This applies to all forms of pressure, including the possible misuse of energy pricing, artificial trade obstacles such as import bans of dubious WTO compatibility and cumbersome customs procedures, military cooperation and security guarantees and the instrumentalisation of protracted conflicts.

This is not how international relations should function in our continent in the 21st century. Such action clearly breached the principle to which all European states have subscribed. In the Helsinki principles of the OSCE we have committed to respect each country’s ‘right freely to define and conduct as it wishes its relations with other states in accordance with international law’. The European Union will support and stand by those who are subject to undue pressure.

Let me emphasise that association agreements/DCFTAs are not conceived at Russia’s expense. On the contrary, Russia will also benefit greatly from the integration of the Eastern Partnership countries into the wider European economy. Our vision is that these agreements should contribute in the long-term to the eventual creation of a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok based on WTO rules.

So we encourage our partners to deepen their ties with Russia, as we do ourselves, but in a way which is compatible with the association agreement and deep and comprehensive free trade areas’ obligations. The European Union is ready to work with its neighbours to find ways to promote greater regulatory convergence between EU Member States and the Customs Union. The last thing we want to see is a protectionist wall cutting our continent in two. In today’s ever more competitive global economy we cannot afford to waste our efforts on a regional geopolitical rivalry.


  Elmar Brok, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Kommissar! Ich danke Ihnen sehr für Ihre Einlassungen in einer außerordentlich schwierigen Situation.

Wir sind stets dafür eingetreten – das Parlament mit einer großen Mehrheit, wie auch die Kommission und der Rat –, dass die Völker Europas eine freie Wahl haben sollen. Eine freie Wahl haben sollen in Bezug darauf, was sie machen wollen, wozu sie gehören wollen, in welcher Weise sie mit anderen Ländern zusammenarbeiten wollen, in welchen Allianzen, Assoziierungen oder wie auch immer das geschehen soll.

Dies – die Seele und der Inhalt des Helsinki-Abkommens und des internationalen Rechts, dies ist die souveräne Entscheidung eines jeden Staates. Diese Entscheidungen sind nicht in Brüssel und nicht in Russland zu fällen, sie sind in Tiflis und in Kiew und an solchen Orten zu treffen, so wie es dem Interesse des jeweiligen Landes entspricht.

Dafür haben wir die Angebote zu machen. Deswegen ist es nicht akzeptabel, wenn ein Land wie Russland Instrumente der Handelspolitik, der Energiepreise oder was auch immer benutzt, um diese Entscheidung so zu beeinflussen, dass es keine freie Entscheidung mehr ist, oder wenn im Fall von Armenien sogar sicherheitspolitische Argumente und Druckinstrumente eingeführt werden.

Und ich meine aus diesem Grund ist dies auch eine Frage der zukünftigen Gestaltung dieses Europas, eines Europas des Zusammenschlusses freier Nationen, die dies möglich machen müssen. Deswegen halte ich es für richtig, dass wir diese Position klären, dass wir auf einen Erfolg von Vilnius hinarbeiten, dass, wenn Bedingungen erfüllt sind, von Seiten der Europäischen Union und der Länder entsprechend des jeweiligen Entwicklungsgrads, wir zu initializing oder zu der Möglichkeit der Unterschrift kommen, dass dies in den Ländern auch gesehen wird. Und ich sehe, dass es in einer Reihe von Ländern Perspektiven gibt, dass man das für Vilnius hinbekommen wird.

Wir sollten diese Länder auch ermutigen, diese letzten Schritte zu machen. Herr Kommissar, in Ihren Darlegungen ist deutlich geworden, der Nutzen für diese Länder ist sicher nicht nur eine Frage von Freiheit und Unabhängigkeit, sondern es ist auch eindeutig ein ökonomischer Nutzen für diese Länder. Aber ich glaube, auch dies haben wir zu untermauern und deutlich zu machen, dass die Bereitschaft bei uns vorhanden ist, dies zu ermöglichen.

Deswegen möchte ich uns bitten, dass wir in den nächsten vier bis acht Wochen hier eine besondere Präzision an den Tag legen, um Vilnius zum Erfolg zu machen.


  Libor Rouček, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, it is more than 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the east-west divide. In those 20 years we have made huge progress. There is peace in Europe, there is a zone of stability, cooperation and, we can also say, prosperity. We overcame the thinking of the zero-sum game which meant that, if somebody gained something, the other one was the loser. We do not want a new iron curtain and a new division of Europe between the so-called west and the so-called east, namely Russia and its mainly southern and eastern neighbours.

Mr Brok was talking about choice. Yes, that is the basic rule in democracy and international law that not only individuals, but also the people in the states have the right to choose which way they want to go. The people in the Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia want to join our Eastern Partnership. They are working hard on their domestic reforms and to fulfil the conditions that are needed for the Association Agreement and the DCFTA. In Vilnius, this process should be finalised at this stage by signing the agreement with the Ukraine and initiating negotiations with Georgia and Moldova. We do not want, and neither do the Ukrainians, Moldovans, Georgians and others, a new Cold War in Europe, so we deplore – unfortunately, we have to say so – the behaviour of Russia in pressing these people, following the mentality of the Cold War and the east-west divide, into not signing this agreement and not exercising their free choice.


  Kristiina Ojuland, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Madam President, the upcoming Vilnius Summit is by far one of the most important meetings regarding our relations with our Eastern Partnership countries. The initiative that was created nearly four years ago is reaching a crucial milestone. Unfortunately, that seems to be an unwanted step by the Russian side and it has been clearly evident they are now exerting pressure on the countries that Russia believes to have under its own sphere of influence.

Already the terminology relates to a cold war mindset. The actions are even more illustrative. The targeted sanctions against Ukraine’s exports, the export ban on the Moldovan wine industry and security-related threats with respect to Armenia are all direct attacks against these countries’ sovereignty to freely choose the nature of their relations with their partners.

I believe that Europe must respond. Solidarity and unity are the key words for us in our actions in these upcoming months. We must stand together against the Kremlin’s pressure, sabotage and provocations. We must not be frightened by their warnings. We must support and defend our eastern partners. We must open our markets to Moldovan wines. We must show Putin that his KGB methods are unacceptable to the European Union. Ukraine is especially sensitive because, without Ukraine, the Eurasian Union will be simply a paper tiger. We must defreeze the financial assets and support Ukraine in this very historic choice.

I call on the Commission to maintain a very pragmatic and realistic view of this enormous political and economic pressure that the Kremlin is putting on its partners, but also on us, the European Union. We must reaffirm the necessity to show our support clearly and powerfully to our eastern neighbours.


  Werner Schulz, im Namen der Verts/ALE-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, meine Damen und Herren! Herr Kommissar Füle, ich teile voll und ganz Ihre Situationsbeschreibung, die Sie hier abgegeben haben, und auch die Position, die Sie in diesem Konflikt beziehen. Bisher hat sich ja Präsident Putin große Mühe gegeben, sein politisches Projekt einer Eurasischen Union so darzustellen, als ob er die Erfahrung, die Maßstäbe, die Wertvorstellungen der EU übernehmen würde, und die Befürchtung, dass hier eine neuartige Sowjetunion entstehen würde, also dass es um die Reintegration der ehemaligen Sowjetrepubliken gehen würde, nicht begründet sei.

Und jetzt erleben wir einen unverhohlenen und unverschämten Druck und Erpressung gegenüber diesen Staaten, die bislang eben nicht dieser Zollunion oder Eurasischen Union beigetreten sind. Und man müsste sich normalerweise in Moskau fragen, warum denn das nicht geschehen ist, warum diese Eurasische Union nicht so attraktiv ist. Weil man eben nicht mehr diese Hegemonie Russlands spüren möchte, die man jetzt durch diese Zollbarrieren und all diese Schikanen, die dort ergriffen worden sind, erfährt.

Ich glaube, wir müssen uns einerseits deutlich dagegen verwehren, und wir müssen auf der anderen Seite dort weitermachen, wo wir bei der Östlichen Partnerschaft bisher angelangt sind. Da gibt es durchaus positive Entwicklungen – einige Assoziierungsverträge stehen kurz vor dem Abschluss, bzw. bei der Ukraine haben wir ein fertiges Assoziierungsabkommen. Ich möchte nur sagen, dass diese Erpressung und der Druck Moskaus allerdings auch kein Freibrief dafür sein sollten, dass man dort mit den Bemühungen nachlässt und dass man glaubt, dass man die Bedingungen, die wir aufgestellt haben, jetzt nicht erfüllen müsste. Also ich glaube, wir schauen Vilnius positiv entgegen!


  Charles Tannock, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Madam President, along with my group, the ECR, I have long taken an interest in the Eastern Partnership countries. Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia, in particular, are countries I have come to know well during the last few years as they work hard to build strong, accountable democracies from the wreckage of their Soviet past.

It is therefore particularly distressing to witness what has happened this month in Armenia, which spent so long negotiating an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the European Union – agreements that would have offered real benefits to the Armenian people and economy – and to see President Sargsyan and his government coming under intolerable pressure from Moscow to reject that avenue and opt instead to join the Eurasian Customs Union.

President Putin, whose crackdown on civil rights is plain for all to see, seems determined to bribe and bully his immediate neighbours in a calculated bid to spite Europe and resurrect Russia’s so-called ‘near abroad’, both politically and economically, as a zone of influence. For Armenia this is tragic, but the Russian threats to supply arms to Azerbaijan and destabilise the fragile peace in Nagorno-Karabakh, and to raise energy prices, left this small country with little choice.

We can only hope that yesterday’s announcement of a ban on Moldovan wine, which I believe is against World Trade Organization rules, will not compel Chisinau to follow Yerevan; and, even more importantly, that Tbilisi and Kiev – and of course Ukraine is the big prize for the Russians – will not also succumb to Russian pressure. I am confident, however, that Ukraine, being a much bigger country, will be able to resist. Of course, the Russians have this ridiculous outdated zero-sum game as their world view.

In the meantime, let us do all we can in the European Union to extend the hand of friendship to the Eastern Partnership countries in the true spirit of partnership, and work with them to build political and cultural links, whatever they decide for the future.


  Helmut Scholz, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin, Herr Kommissar! Im Entschließungsentwurf des Europäischen Parlaments gibt es einen zentralen Satz, der das ganze Dilemma der Politik der östlichen Nachbarschaft verdeutlicht: Die Europäische Union müsse die betreffenden Länder gegen Russland verteidigen. In welchem Kampf eigentlich? Wie ist eigentlich die Lage?

Die Nachbarschaftspolitik ist bei weitem keine Erfolgsstory: Armenien, Belarus, Aserbaidschan, Georgien, Ukraine. Interessenunterschiede in internationalen Beziehungen sind normal, nicht jedoch Interessenkonflikte. Und der, über den wir heute reden, ist hausgemacht. Die östliche Nachbarschaftspolitik ist geostrategisch gegen Russland gerichtet, und dieser Ansatz wird auch vor Vilnius nur die Spirale weiterdrehen. Ja, Herr Brok, Herr Kommissar, Russland muss einhalten, Druck auf die gemeinsamen Nachbarn auszuüben, denn der eigentliche Adressat ist ja die Europäische Union, und der Druck hat zudem innenpolitische Ursachen!

Die Nachbarschaftspolitik muss dorthin gebracht werden, wo sie hingehört: Kooperation, dort wo es gemeinsame Interessen und Herausforderungen gibt, und dann selbstverständlich auch mit Russland. Wer das nicht will, soll heute schon den Bürgerinnen und Bürgern in den Nachbarstaaten, in den EU-Mitgliedstaaten, aber auch in Russland sagen, dass sie am Ende die Zeche zahlen werden!

(Der Redner ist damit einverstanden, eine Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“ gemäß Artikel 149 Absatz 8 der Geschäftsordnung zu beantworten.)


  Marek Siwiec (S&D), blue-card question. – Mr Scholz, I have a question. Do you realise that the Russians have ignored the neighbourhood policy since the beginning?

Russia has been totally outside it and has never cooperated with us. The possibility of involvement in this policy has been offered many times. So you totally misunderstand who initiated the aggression in this particular case. Do you appreciate that?


  Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL), blue-card answer. – I fully understand that, but that means that we have to intend in our policy nevertheless to try to find ways to build bridges with the Russian Federation and to show that our policy towards the Eastern Neighbourhood countries is not aimed or directed against the Russian Federation but must help overcome this strategic game and play then in the interests of the people and the citizens in all the countries affected.


  Jaroslav Paška, za skupinu EFD Očakávaný podpis asociačnej dohody medzi Európskou úniou a Ukrajinou počas novembrového samitu vo Vilniuse je výsledkom dlhoročného zbližovania sa Ukrajiny a Únie.

Som presvedčený o tom, že ukrajinský politickí lídri majú vo svojej proeurópskej politickej orientácii dostatočne jasno, a preto si nemyslím, že by sa nepripravili na možné zmeny v cezhraničnej spolupráci so svojím východným partnerom.

Vyhlásenie, že členovia colnej Únie tvorenej Ruskom, Bieloruskom a Kazachstanom budú po podpise asociačnej dohody chcieť aktualizovať niektoré obchodné zmluvy, vnímam len ako konštatovanie, že v Moskve si uvedomujú novú politickú realitu a k Ukrajine sa budú po podpise dohody musieť správať ako ku krajine, ktorá je ekonomicky tesnejšie naviazaná na európsky hospodársky priestor.

Preto si nemyslím, že by bolo potrebné preceňovať tieto vyhlásenia ruských predstaviteľov. Veď Ukrajinci dnes už iste dobre vedia, s kým a prečo chcú v budúcnosti pri rozvoji svojej krajiny intenzívnejšie spolupracovať.


  Adrian Severin (NI). - Madam President, the fact that Russia wants to attract its neighbours to come under its leadership in the Eurasian Union is understandable. The EU also likes to have its neighbours together with it.

The real question is why, after experiencing the European Union Eastern Partnership, countries like Armenia opt for the Eurasian Union. It is not only to do with pressure from the others. It is to do with our own weaknesses. The Georgian Prime Minister apparently considered the same option. Belarus was lost because of the dogmatic shortcomings of some of our policies. Azerbaijan will be lost because the EU is not able to see the strategic importance of that country, which is not looking for money but for a serious political partnership and its territorial integrity.

When Russia puts pressure on Ukraine for not signing the Association Agreement with us, it knows something that we apparently do not know, namely that Ukraine is strategically crucial and that values follow the settlement of the geostrategic gain, not the other way round. How long do we think that rejecting and harassing the Ukraine, Ukraine could remain neutral? Thus we put in jeopardy both the promotion of our values and the geopolitical security of our citizens. It is useless to blame Russia. Instead we must be more robust and pragmatic in our policy. The European Union summit in Vilnius will offer an opportunity which should not be missed.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))


  Elmar Brok (PPE), Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. – (Der Redner spricht ohne Mikrofon.) [...] Herr Kollege, habe ich es gerade richtig verstanden, dass es sich bei den dogmatic shortcomings der Europäischen Union um die Frage von Rechtsstaatlichkeit, Demokratie, die Einhaltung der Justizreform und von Wahlrechtsreform und um selective justice handelt?

Ich glaube, auch in dieser Krise sollten das requirements sein, die wir klar aufgestellt haben, um unser gemeinsames Ziel zu erreichen. Halten Sie das für dogmatic shortcomings?


  Adrian Severin (NI), blue-card answer. – I think that I was quite clear. I think that all our history shows that we have to be pragmatic and bear in mind the need to win the strategic game and this will bring us the opportunities to move ahead with our values.

If we are always raising all kinds of conditionalities instead of trying to bring these countries together in our camp, certainly the other pressures will be fruitful. This is our fault and we have to avoid it in the future. We certainly could criticise Russia, but I believe we should also look in our own yard to see our own mistakes.


  Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (PPE). - Madam President, Russian pressure is now turning into sanctions, as we see in the case of Moldova. Action is needed and we have to move beyond descriptions and diagnosis. Who will defend our partner countries from the east? Let me put Lenin’s question: if not we, then who; if not now, then when?

From an EU perspective, our agreements are being contested and questioned by Russia. At the same time, we owe our partners solidarity, and we should defend and protect them. But, again from our perspective, we should defend our own sovereign choice as to who are partners are, and our own neighbourhood policy. Russia is challenging not just this Parliament but the EU.

We have to admit that we are on a collision course with Russia. It is Russia that has taken a confrontational course, and we need a contingency plan. Our proposals are set out in a draft motion for a resolution negotiated and agreed by five political groups: a text that offers political guidance to the Commission and the External Action Service.

We should respond in seven ways. Firstly, with diplomatic pressure on Russia: we should convoke the ambassador. Secondly, with diplomatic support for our eastern partners and, thirdly, with political pressure on Russia, putting the matter very high on the agenda of bilateral talks. Fourthly, we should help the countries under pressure by delivering energy, opening our market to their goods and building infrastructure.

Fifthly, we should retaliate: if Russia puts an embargo on Moldovan wine, let us put an embargo on Russian spirits. Sixthly, the Commission should no longer refrain from submitting a complaint against Gasprom. And lastly, let us lodge a complaint with the WTO because what Russia is doing is a clear violation of its rules, and let us assist our partners in doing likewise.

If we do not do these things – if we lose in a dispute on our own doorstep – then let us stop talking about the EU as a global actor.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))


  Marek Henryk Migalski (ECR), pytanie zadane przez podniesienie niebieskiej kartki. – Panie Ministrze, nie sposób się z Panem nie zgodzić. Wszystko, co Pan powiedział, było absolutnie akceptowalne i godne poparcia. Mam tylko jedną techniczną uwagę. Czy jest Pan pewien, że słowa „Jeśli nie my, to kto? Jeśli nie teraz, to kiedy?” powiedział Lenin, czy być może jednak był to Gorbaczow?


  Jacek Saryusz-Wolski (PPE), odpowiedź na pytanie zadane przez podniesienie niebieskiej kartki. – Nie, nie jestem pewien. Chyba jednak Lenin. Może historyk powinien się tu wypowiedzieć?


  Marek Siwiec (S&D). - Pani Przewodnicząca! Temat jest trudny. Widzę, że na sali panuje dobra atmosfera. Chciałem prostymi słowami opowiedzieć, jak wygląda sytuacja. Otóż Unia Europejska zaprezentowała przyjazną, dobrą ofertę wobec krajów leżących na Wschodzie – byłych krajów–satelitów Związku Radzieckiego, jego udziałowców. Powiedzieliśmy: „chodźcie z nami”. Bez gróźb zaprosiliśmy do budowy demokracji i wolności i wydaliśmy na to dużo pieniędzy. Nasi partnerzy odpowiadali różnie, ale bardzo wielu ludzi uwierzyło w tę ofertę i wielu zaczęło budować tę demokrację. Inaczej na Ukrainie, inaczej w Mołdawii, inaczej w Gruzji. A Rosja powiedziała „nie”. Rosja powiedziała, że jej się to nie podoba. I na tym polega dramat tej sytuacji, że Rosja po prostu przyjęła rolę arbitra w tej sprawie, w cudzej, nie swojej, sprawie.

Dzisiaj toczy się gra o pozycję polityczną Unii Europejskiej. Czy my ulegniemy szantażom winnym, koniakowym, gazowym, czy potrafimy skutecznie promować swoje wartości? Zanim odpowiemy na to pytanie, pamiętajmy o milionach ludzi z mroźnego Majdanu, pamiętajmy o tych, którzy tworzyli rewolucję goździków i pamiętajmy o milionach ludzi w stolicach krajów, które są objęte Partnerstwem Wschodnim, bo oni dzisiaj czekają na to, co powiemy. Nie patrzcie tylko na dygnitarzy, patrzcie na tych ludzi.


  Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy (ALDE). - Collega Rouček refereerde terecht aan de koude oorlog, want koud is de relatie met Rusland en Putin zal ongetwijfeld zijn best doen om op de aankomende top in Vilnius de temperatuur beneden het vriespunt te krijgen. Want laten wij wel wezen, het arme geïsoleerde Armenië heeft hij al gedwongen om te kiezen voor de Russische economische gemeenschap. En Moldavië is nu het slachtoffer van die wijnoorlog. En de Oekraïne, wat gaat Putin daar verder mee doen?

Het zijn de exportbeperkingen, de handelsoorlog, dat zijn zijn instrumenten, naast zijn stevige taal.

Maar Rusland schiet zichzelf in de eigen voet. Want ook Rusland heeft profijt van een stabiele regio daar. En laten wij wel wezen, de Europese Unie is Ruslands allergrootste handelspartner. Laat Putin zich dat ook eens realiseren.

Ik ben blij met de stevige taal van commissaris Füle. Maar daar moeten ook extra intensieve, diplomatieke contacten met Rusland tegenover staan, want alleen op die manier kunnen wij de top in Vilnius eindelijk wel tot een succes maken.


  Tatjana Ždanoka (Verts/ALE). - Madam President, speaking on Russia’s politics with respect to Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, there is no doubt that pressure is being exercised. But is the European Union doing charity work with respect to these countries? Yes – starting from yesterday Russia suspended imports of Moldovan wines and brandy. But I am sure that the European Union will not urgently start importing wine from Moldova.

The EU policy with respect to a number of eastern European countries is one of prevention of own production. My country, Latvia, signed a contract of association with the European Union in 1995 and already in 2004 we had already lost economic independence. True, in 2004 there was an official marriage with the EU but this marriage did not become equal. The proof is that the Latvian peasants still do not receive worthy compensation.

And people in Ukraine, Moldova and other Eastern European Partnership countries learn lessons from these stories and these lessons show that the free trade agreement with the EU assumes capitulation of local producers in the interests of all the EU Member States.


  Paweł Robert Kowal (ECR). - Pani Przewodnicząca! Polityka Rosji zjednoczyła nas w tej Izbie, czego dawno nie było. Ale nie ma się co dziwić. Takiej polityki Rosji należało się spodziewać, takie były doświadczenia Ukrainy po pomarańczowej rewolucji, takie były doświadczenia Polski, która wspierała pomarańczową rewolucję. Teraz stajemy przed pytaniem, jakiej chcemy Rosji. Jeżeli chcemy Rosji, która tak się obchodzi ze swoimi sąsiadami, to poprzestańmy tylko na dyplomatycznych oświadczeniach, to się zbierzmy i pokrzyczmy tylko na Rosję. To na pewno rozbawi wielu strategów na Kremlu. Będą się turlali ze śmiechu jak norki. Ale będą nas też obserwowali nasi partnerzy w stolicach krajów Partnerstwa Wschodniego. Żeby pokazać im i ich społeczeństwom, że nas na coś stać, trzeba tutaj sprowadzić wino mołdawskie. Tak – mówię do mojej poprzedniczki – trzeba pokazać, że Unię stać na jakąś akcję. Trzeba znosić bariery handlowe i trzeba znosić bariery wizowe. Jeżeli to dzisiaj zrobimy jeszcze przed szczytem Partnerstwa Wschodniego, jeżeli pokażemy w jakiejś drobnej sprawie, nawet na zasadzie gestu, że nas stać na jakiś ruch, że nas stać może na podpisanie umowy dwa dni wcześniej, to przyniesie to efekt. Taki gest jest dzisiaj oczekiwany.


  Nikola Vuljanić (GUE/NGL). - Hvala gospođo Predsjednice, dva su razloga i dva su aspekta situacije o kojoj raspravljamo i dokumenta koji ćemo donijeti: jedno je opravdana, principijelna i poštena reakcija na pritisak Rusije, pritisak kojim se želi spriječiti ili otežati potpisivanje sporazuma između zemalja Istočnog pratnerstva i EU. Taj se aspekt ogleda u sadržaju onog o kojem razgovaramo i kojeg ćemo sutra izglasati. Drugi aspekt je da želimo pokazati vlastitu pravovjernost u odnosu na Rusiju prije sljedećih izbora i za potrebe naše domaće publike. Taj se aspekt ogledava u vokabularu, u jeziku koji koristimo. Na žalost, malo razmišljamo ovdje o situaciji u kojoj se ove zemlje nalaze i o prijetnjama koje im stoje nad glavom. Naime, Rusiju očito, i to svi dobro znamo, ne brinu demokratska ograničenja i moralna ograničenja u postupanju. Bruxelles je daleko, a prijetnje su stvarne i trenutačne. Pokazivanje pravovjernosti je OK, ali je neodgovorno ako podrazumijeva žrtvovanje tuđe kože. Nisam siguran da EU može i želi u potpunosti stati iza svojih grubih riječi. Prije svega stati financijski, a onda i diplomatski. Stvari treba reći jasno i otvoreno, onakve kakve jesu. Pritisak Rusije treba osuditi, takve postupke treba osuditi, ali uvijek u formuliranju toga, trebamo imati na umu učinak naših riječi ne samo na one kojima su upućene, nego i na sve druge kojih se tiču. Takav bi dokument trebali donijeti sutra, tako bi trebali razgovarati i danas. Ovako kako danas izgleda, kako sada izgleda, taj dokument i ovu diskusiju vodimo za naše birače, a ne za naše istočne susjede. Hvala.


  Paweł Zalewski (PPE). - Pani Przewodnicząca! Prezydent Putin w przyjęciu przez kraje Partnerstwa Wschodniego standardów europejskich słusznie dostrzegł zagrożenie dla autorytarnego modelu władzy w Rosji. Jeżeli w wyniku umowy stowarzyszeniowej Ukraina stanie się bardziej demokratyczna i mniej skorumpowana, trudno będzie wiarygodnie przekonywać Rosjan, że wartości europejskie nie są dla nich. Wielu wątpiło, że Ukraińcy chcą stowarzyszenia z Unią Europejską. Dziś za swoje marzenie europejskie płacą wysoką cenę ekonomiczną. Wszyscy – od oligarchów po robotników i rolników. A może być jeszcze gorzej, bo Kreml w przypadku sukcesu Wilna grozi Ukraińcom prawdziwą wojną handlową.

I co w sytuacji łamania prawa międzynarodowego i wywierania presji na suwerenne państwa przez ekipę prezydenta Putina robi Unia Europejska? Delikatnie popiera kraje Partnerstwa Wschodniego i jeszcze delikatniej krytykuje Kreml. A gdzie praktyczne działania? Gdzie otwarcie rynku europejskiego dla firm ukraińskich i mołdawskich, przed którymi Putin zamyka drzwi? Gdzie uruchomienie pomocy finansowej dla Ukrainy, zamrożonej jakiś czas temu? A gdzie wynagrodzenie Ukraińcom i Mołdawianom ich przywiązania do wartości europejskich poprzez zapowiedź zniesienia wiz?

Jutro Parlament Europejski zaapeluje do Rady, aby zaraz po podpisaniu umowy stowarzyszeniowej z Ukrainą wprowadziła w życie zapisy umowy gospodarczej, tzw. DCFTA – prowizorycznie, jeszcze przed ratyfikowaniem umowy przez Unię Europejską. Mam nadzieję, że Rada nie uchyli się przed tą decyzją, której realizacja otworzy szansę dla modernizacji i demokratyzacji Ukrainy i stworzy fakty dokonane na Ukrainie, które pozytywnie będą oddziaływać także na Rosję.


  Evgeni Kirilov (S&D). - Madam President, the partnership between the EU and Russia is of strategic importance, as it can create stability in the common neighbourhood. However, consecutive acts of applying unjustified trade measures and threats against countries which also aim to deepen relations with the EU contradict the principles of this strategic partnership.

The transformation agenda we offer to our European neighbourhood partners aims at the stability and prosperity of their countries’ citizens and societies and we stay firmly committed to this. After all, the process of modernisation, good governance, development and the rule of law should be of mutual interest to both the EU and Russia. The EU offers partnership agreemeents which are consistent with their pursuit of good neighbourly relations with Russia.

However, we also need to look critically at our policy towards the eastern neighbourhood. Let me point out just one aspect of it. We were not active enough in contributing to the settlement of frozen conflicts like Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria. This is now used to put serious pressure on some of the Eastern Partnership countries. Looking critically, we should push from both sides. We should really help this process to reach a successful conclusion.


  Ivo Vajgl (ALDE). - Rusija se je te dni skozi sirski problem vrnila, rekel bi skozi glavna vrata, v mednarodno politiko. Dokazala je, da ima spretno diplomacijo in jasne politične interese. Tudi to je dokazala, da ima ambicije širiti svoj vpliv na področja, ki jih je izgubila. Izvajati pritisk na države, ki se želijo vključiti v evropske integracije, gotovo ni modra politika in je zaradi načina, kako jo Rusija poskuša uveljaviti, posebej ko gre za Ukrajino, za nas nesprejemljiva.

Ko hoče ponovno postati pomemben igralec, mora Rusija opustiti logiko interesnih sfer. Rusija izvaja pritisk na Armenijo, kjer ima svoje čete. To ovira rešitev problema Nagornjega Karabaha. Z vstopom v rusko prostotrgovinsko območje bo Armenija ogrozila pridružitveni sporazum z Evropsko unijo. Vemo, da Moskva pritiska tudi na Moldovo in Gruzijo. To je slaba politika, ki vodi v delitve, Rusijo pa v mednarodno izolacijo.


  Traian Ungureanu (PPE). - Madam President, recent developments in the east are not accidental. They are Russian foreign policy. The break-up of the Eastern Partnership is a Russian project. The reabsorption of our eastern partners is a Russian project.

The question is, why? Why is Russia so confident? Unfortunately, we created opportunities for Russia by lacking a resolute enough eastern approach. In the east, the EU has not achieved progress in solving the frozen conflicts. In the Middle East, the EU and US management of the crisis has been disastrous so far. Russia’s assertiveness was encouraged by our weak stance. Russia can cynically ban Moldovan wine and threaten to let Moldovans freeze this winter, knowing it has to fear no consequences.

Our eastern partners are at a crossroads: Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia are openly blackmailed. This is Russia’s offer. Our offer is free choice, but our partners need tangible political support. Increased market access and political dialogue are good, but not enough. The EU should offer its eastern partners more than a hypothetical chance of joining the EU.


  Knut Fleckenstein (S&D). - Frau Präsidentin, liebe Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Unsere östlichen Nachbarn sind seit dem Zusammenbruch der Sowjetunion freie Staaten.

Wir freuen uns auch darüber, wenn sie sich unseren Werten und Standards annähern und ihren Weg an unserer Seite finden. Wir verstehen auch, dass es aus der Vergangenheit heraus enge Bindungen zwischen den Menschen dieser Länder und Russland gibt. Und wir akzeptieren auch – wenn sie sich denn so entscheiden – den Wunsch unserer Partner, mit Russland oder in erster Linie mit Russland eng verbunden zu sein.

Aber was wir nicht akzeptieren können, sind plumpe Erpressungsversuche der russischen Regierung und ihrer companies, um diese Staaten sozusagen in ihre Arme zu zwingen. Das ist für uns absolut inakzeptabel. Trotzdem ist das meiner Meinung nach kein Grund zur Aufregung, aber ein Grund zur Klarheit in erster Linie gegenüber unseren Partnern: Wir lassen euch nicht allein, wir werden euch konkret unterstützen. Nicht um diese Länder einzukaufen, sondern um sie vor Erpressung zu schützen. Und zur Klarheit gehört auch, dass wir auch auf dem Weg nach Vilnius noch einmal deutlich machen, unsere gemeinsame Verabredung heißt: more for more und nicht more for maybe. Das müssten wir diesen Ländern deutlich erklären, auch der Bevölkerung – vielleicht wieder mehr, als wir es bisher getan haben.

Dabei werden wir den Dialog mit Russland fortsetzen. Aber eines sollten wir nicht tun, nämlich der russischen Regierung einen Vorwand für falsche PR zu bieten. Deshalb lehne ich die Sprache des Kalten Krieges ab, auch wenn sie von uns selbst kommt, auch wenn sie uns rausrutscht und Erwägung G und Ziffer 7 sind für mich nicht zustimmungsfähig.


  Andrej Plenković (PPE). - Hvala lijepa gospođo Predsjedavajuća. Razmišljajući o ovoj temi sjetio sam se jedne rečenice prvog predsjednika Komisije Waltera Hallsteina, koji je kazao da su ugovori o priduživanju sve ono između ugovora o trgovinskoj suradnji plus jedan, pa do članstva minus jedan. Povjerenik Fulle je govorio o transformativnoj snazi ugovora o pridruživanju koji su na stolu za naše istočne partnere uoči summita u Vilniusu. Ja se nadam da će biti poduzeti koraci i na našoj strani i na strani tih država da dođe do, bilo parafiranja bilo potpisivanja tih ugovora jer iz iskustva Hrvatske znamo koliko su radikalno promijenjeni odnosi s Unijom kada smo imali ugovor o pridruživanju. S druge strane, od ove transformativne uvjetovanosti, naši partneri imaju velikog susjeda s kojim i EU ima razvijene odnose a to je Ruska Federacija koja na jedan puno hladniji, jasniji i pragmatičniji način uvjetuje, ili po riječima nekih kolega i ucjenjuje razvoj odnosa. Međutim, u tom smislu mislim da je sada upravo na europskoj diplomaciji, na Komisiji na najvišoj razini, da nađemo jedan diskurs koji će dopustiti nama da ojačamo što i financijski predviđamo u idućoj financijskoj perspektivi odnos sa ovih nekoliko zemalja, a istodobno da zadržimo jedan globalni i bilateralni i multilateralni dijalog sa Ruskom Federacijom koji će nam omogućiti da ove zemlje približimo vrijednostima koje dijeli Europska unija. Hvala vam lijepa.


  Boris Zala (S&D). - Madam President, after four years of quiet existence, the Eastern Partnership is reaching a make-or-break moment at the Vilnius summit. Russia’s pressure on the Eastern Partnership countries has created a high-stakes geopolitical drama.

Our response to Russia’s actions should be firm but not hysterical. We must reassure our eastern partners and proceed to sign and initial the association agreements at the Vilnius summit without giving up on conditionality. It is obvious that Russia perceives the Eastern Partnership as a security threat. Going forward, our strategy challenge is to find a way for Russia to become a part of this process and not to work against it. We must insist, however, that every country has a sovereign right to chose political and trade alliances and that the Eastern Partnership is not directed against Russia.


  Seán Kelly (PPE). - A Uachtaráin, is fear mór peile mise agus i gcursaí peile bíonn peileadóirí spórtúla agus peileadóirí neamhspórtúla ann. Cloíonn peileadóirí spórtúla leis na rialacha agus ní chloíonn peileadóirí neamhspórtúla. Croitheann siad do lámh agus tugann siad cic san uillinn duit ag an am ceánna. Seo díreach atá á dheanamh ag an Rúis ar a gcomharsana – tá sí ag déanamh bullaíochta ortha agus ag an am céanna ag ligean uirthi gur cairde iad léi. Dá bhrí sin, tá sé in am dúinn an cárta dearg a thabhairt don Rúis mar atáimid ag déanamh anseo anocht.

It was Shakespeare who said one can smile and smile and be a villain. This is exactly what Mr Putin and his Russian colleagues are doing. Smiling to the cameras, pretending that they are abiding by international law while at the same time behaving in a most villainous way towards their neighbours.

This is not acceptable and I think we have a right and duty to say so here tonight. Breaking the Helsinki principles, as my colleague Mr Brok said, using energy prices as a tool. This is not good enough. When someone is bullied by someone stronger and bigger than themselves, it is very difficult for them to fight back. The only way that they can do so is by getting the support of someone equally big as the bully and we are the partner who can do that for our eastern partners.

I think we have to stand up firmly and strongly to Russia and ensure that this type of behaviour is not acceptable so that these countries can exercise their sovereign right to independence now and forever.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 149(8))


  Knut Fleckenstein (S&D), Frage nach dem Verfahren der „blauen Karte“. – Herr Kollege Kelly, vielleicht habe ich Sie einfach nicht richtig verstanden. Wollen Sie Russland die rote Fahne oder die rote Karte zeigen? Was wollen Sie uns sagen? Was heißt denn das: Russland die rote Karte zeigen? Was soll Herr Füle morgen machen? Das sind einfache Sätzchen, die gut klingen, aber die uns in keiner Weise weiterhelfen. Sind Sie nicht auch dieser Meinung? Es soll ja eine Frage sein.


  Seán Kelly (PPE), blue-card answer. – The red card is what a player gets in football when he breaches the rules in a particularly unacceptable manner. It means that he gets suspended for a certain amount of time. Here, we are talking about Russia: we must stand up to them, tell them that this is not good enough and use whatever methods we can to bring them to heel. That is what it means.


  Edit Herczog (S&D). - A keleti partnerség országainak szabadon, nyomás nélkül kell dönteni, hogy milyen hosszú távú stratégiát választanak. Lakóiknak joguk van a demokratikus döntéshozatalhoz.

Ezért kívánom Örményország lakóinak, férfiaknak és nőknek, hogy éljenek demokratikus jogaikkal, és érjék el, hogy a parlamentben vitassák meg, vagy népszavazáson döntsék el, milyen stratégiát kívánnak maguknak hosszú távra.

Nekünk pedig fontos, hogy a vilniusi csúcson érjük el legfontosabb célunkat: érjük el, hogy a keleti partnerség országai lássák, nem hidegháborút, hanem békés egymás mellett élést, partnerséget kívánunk nekik a jövőben is. Ehhez kívánok sok sikert és kitartást a Biztos Úrnak, és minden tárgyalónak.


Interventi su richiesta


  Fabrizio Bertot (PPE). - Signora Presidente, considerando la presunta pressione esercitata dalla Federazione russa sugli Stati dell'Europa orientale, penso che ci si debba chiedere: qual è quello Stato che non difende i propri interessi? Anche noi, come Unione europea, dobbiamo porci la stessa domanda e prefiggerci lo stesso obiettivo: difendiamo i nostri interessi!

Se analizziamo i rapporti commerciali tra l'Unione europea e la Russia in relazione a quelli fra l'Unione europea e i paesi del partenariato orientale, dal confronto si evince che i rapporti con la Russia sono decisamente prevalenti e che essa rappresenta il maggior partner economico per l'Unione europea. Insomma, da questo semplice confronto si comprende che il ruolo commerciale della Russia per le nostre imprese e per le nostra attività economiche è decisamente rilevante.

A questo proposito, ritengo si debbano favorire e promuovere l'ampliamento e la crescita di questi scambi e nell'attivazione di rapporti privilegiati si debba considerare la Russia una risorsa, un partner importante. Immagino che un programma di allargamento dei rapporti commerciali ad Est che non coinvolga la Russia risulterebbe di fatto incompleto e potrebbe addirittura instaurare delle frizioni politiche tra Mosca e Bruxelles.

È nonstro interesse comprendere e accettare questo dato di fatto il prima possibile perché l'Unione europea ha tutto l'interesse a incentivare questi rapporti.


  Jerzy Buzek (PPE). - Pani Przewodnicząca! Padły już niemal wszystkie argumenty. Jestem przekonany, że jutro poprzemy w większości w głosowaniu to, co mówił pan komisarz Füle i to, czego chciałaby Komisja Europejska, także nasze oświadczenie. Chciałbym dodać jeden ważny argument historyczny. Dwadzieścia kilka lat temu 10 krajów Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej (te kraje są dzisiaj członkami Unii Europejskiej) zdecydowało się na zmianę systemu, z autokratycznego na demokrację, na wolny rynek. Obywatele tych krajów są dzisiaj zadowoleni ze zmian i pomimo kryzysu większość uważa, że obecny system jest lepszy, że nie chcą powrotu do tamtego systemu. To właśnie proponujemy krajom Europy Środkowo-Wschodniej. Wtedy też nie było łatwo i też były naciski. Mieliśmy za sobą Unię Europejską i Stany Zjednoczone. Chciałbym to mocno podkreślić. Chodziło także o współpracę wojskową, nie tylko gospodarczą i dyplomatyczną. Mam wrażenie, że ze strony Stanów Zjednoczonych nacisk jest teraz mniejszy. To dobrze, zostaliśmy sami na tym polu, bo to jest Europa, dlatego dzisiaj nasze działania muszą być zdecydowane. Jeszcze bardziej stanowcze niż te podjęte przez Unię Europejską dwadzieścia kilka lat temu, żeby dać nam swobodny wybór. Walczmy o ten swobodny wybór, bo jest to wielka szansa dla całej Europy.


  Eduard Kukan (PPE). - Madam President, over the last years we have been turning more focus on our eastern neighbours, most of whom are still battling with their internal political problems and struggling with democratic transformation. We are aware that the forthcoming Vilnius Summit will be crucial for our future relations with them. These countries now face a clear and difficult decision: to tighten relations with the EU and sign the free trade agreements and the association agreement, or make the choice to move closer to the Russian customs union and Eurasian Union.

When choosing their strategic partners, the EU’s eastern neighbours should be able to do so freely. Yet, lately, many decisions have been made under unprecedented pressure from Russia. Political, diplomatic and economic pressure exerted by the Russian Federation on these countries sometimes borders on imperial bullying. The EU clearly awaits cooperation with these eastern partners as their democratic prospects await them too.


  Ioan Mircea Paşcu (S&D). - Madam President, as the summit in Vilnius approaches, with the expected signing-in of some important former Soviet republics, Moscow is intensifying its efforts to prevent another geostrategic loss. Lately, the overt and covert pressure on the potential signatories has thus intensified considerably, demonstrating that Moscow’s carrot is also a stick, albeit it not such a big one.

Armenia having already given in, Moldova was immediately visited by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, a well-known figure in Brussels, and by the Russian Patriarch Kirill. The signal, direct and rather brutal from the former, convoluted from the latter, was the same: Moldova should plan its future path very carefully by joining the other Slavic Orthodox peoples. The Russian authorities immediately gave substance to such suggestions – first questioning the quality of Moldovan wines and then embargoing them altogether.

Naturally, neither of our prospective signatories should bow to this pressure, now we have come so far. Moreover, the EU should evaluate the adoption of concrete measures to alleviate the impact of such abrupt retaliatory moves against these countries.


  Маруся Любчева (S&D). - Г-жо Председател, на първо място искам да пожелая успех във Вилнюс. За съжаление, този успех е подложен на сериозно изпитание.

Източното партньорство получи сериозен удар от страна стратегически партньор. Ако не сме очаквали това, означава, че не сме си направили добре анализа. А такъв анализ ни трябва, за да решим какво да правим и как да реагираме при тази ситуация.

Натискът върху нашите партньори е неприемлив. Но отричайки методите, с които работи Русия, ние нямаме право да реагираме по същия начин. Ние следва да не допуснем да поставим страните от Източното партньорство да избират между две опции „или - или“.

Можем да направим друго - да бъдем по-силни, да бъдем по-конкретни, да подкрепим нашите партньори, за да могат да направят верния си избор. Защото ако те избират евроазиатския курс, това означава, че ние не сме направили добре своята европейска политика.

Сега е моментът, подкрепяйки тях, да направим и да заздравим отношенията си и с Русия в конструктивен дух, защото това ще бъде полезно за Европейския съюз.


  Marek Henryk Migalski (ECR). - Pani Przewodnicząca! Jerzy Buzek ma rację mówiąc o tym, że zostaliśmy dzisiaj jakby sami, że Stany Zjednoczone przez swoje geopolityczne interesy muszą zawierać deale z Federacją Rosyjską. Mamy również obowiązek obrony praw człowieka i między jednym a drugim – między naciskami na państwa Partnerstwa Wschodniego a naciskami na społeczeństwo obywatelskie w Rosji, na zwykłych obywateli – jest związek. Można to politologicznie udowodnić, że jeśli jakiemuś krajowi pozwala się na opresję wobec własnego społeczeństwa, to kraj ów wcześniej czy później będzie wywierał opresję również na kraje sąsiedzkie.

Dlatego mam pytanie do Pana Komisarza. Powiedział Pan w poprzedniej debacie, że jest Pan przeciwnikiem bojkotu mistrzostw świata w hokeju na lodzie na Białorusi. Nie podzielam tej opinii, ale potrafię ją zrozumieć. Czy byłby Pan w stanie zaakceptować i uznać za sensowny bojkot polityczny, czyli nieobecność polityków Unii, na mistrzostwach czy na igrzyskach zimowych w Soczi? W Polsce zaczęliśmy taką akcję – nazywa się to Olympic Shames – która nie ma zlikwidować tej imprezy sportowej, ale wywołać jej bojkot polityczny. Bardzo bym prosił o odpowiedź.


(Fine degli interventi su richiesta)


  Štefan Füle, Member of the Commission. − Madam President, I would like to make five points in reaction to this very interesting discussion.

First, some Members have called on me to be more robust in promoting strategic games. My answer is that I will not do this. There are others who have called on me to promote values more robustly. Yes; I am in the business of promoting values in the Eastern Partnership.

I have problems with participating in these zero-sum games as I am a great believer in the win-win approach, particularly when dealing with such an important, privileged and strategic partner as Russia. I am definitely not in the business of creating new wars. On the contrary, transformation is the rule of the game. The Association Agreement, including this deep and comprehensive Free Trade Area, is a most powerful instrument of that transformation. That is why the Vilnius Summit and the preparations for the eventual signing and initialling of this agreement are so important. The rule of the game is not to lower the bars or to forget about conditionality, but to offer a more strategic engagement with our partners.

My second point is that we have to make a better job of communicating with our Russian friends, making the point again and again that the Eastern Partnership is not at their expense and is not against them or their interests. It would appear that we also need to communicate better on the relationship between the Association Agreement and the Customs Union. I noted the media reporting the Russian Prime Minister as saying this week that there is a lack of compatibility between those two concepts. We raised this issue with him and the rest of his government in February when the College was in Moscow for a regular exchange of views, and we had already raised this issue before that. We are also raising such issues in the framework of the information and coordination group, in which the Russian Federation has an important place. Each and every time we explain why this is not the case, making the point that this is not about political gain, but about the very pragmatic and practical issue of the extent to which our partners have sovereignty over their external trade policy.

But we did not stop there. We have always added that we are the first to be interested in the traditional ties and cooperation between our partners and Russia. We have always added that we stand ready to help our partners, and if necessary Moscow as well, to fit the policies of the Customs Union and the Eurasian Union. The partners could align with these on the understanding that they will not be in contradiction with the obligations stemming from their Association Agreement and DCFTA. We need to do a better job in making these points clear to our Russian friends.

My third point is that Russia sees the extension of European Union standards and norms as a potentially problematic issue because those of the Customs Union are currently not always identical with them. However, we are already actively cooperating with Russia on the alignment of many norms and standards. This is a key element of the European Union-Russia partnership for modernisation, and these standards are also increasingly being adopted by the Customs Union. Let me stress that European Union norms are often adopted internationally and are, of course, fully compatible with WTO rules. So the European Union is actually helping all its partners, including Russia, to modernise and open up to globalisation.

Likewise, the new agreement we have been negotiating to replace the European Union-Russia Partnership and Cooperation Agreement should include provisions for greater convergence of the regulatory framework between the European Union and Russia, thereby helping to generate stability and predictability for both Russian and European Union companies.

On the subject of companies and trade and the solidarity and unity to which many of you referred, let me, as my fourth point, say the following: we took note of the Russian ban on Moldovan agricultural products. We do not yet have full details on that decision but, at a first glance, we are not aware of any food safety reasons which would justify this. The European Union’s own food safety authorities have not established any health or hygiene problems with imports from Moldova and continues to import wine and other agricultural products from that country. Let me also add that today, together with my colleague in the College, Commissioner Cioloş, who is responsible for agriculture, we have been in close contact and, as a result, we intend to look into the possibility of being able to further increase the wine quota for Moldovan exports to the European Union. I am also intending to send short-term expertise to Moldova to help overcome some of the remaining barriers faced by their exports in other sectors, such as poultry. These signs of solidarity are, of course, also applicable to other partners who might become subject to this undue pressure.

I would like to make the following concluding remarks. When we set out to build the Eastern Partnership in Prague in 2009, the idea of the Eurasian Union project had yet to get off the ground. So it has been the Russian decision to build the customs union and the Eurasian Union that has created a situation where our European partners now face a choice between the two projects for regional economic integration. Let me make it clear that it is inconceivable that our partners should become victims of that incompatibility. It is inconceivable that, through a decision made freely, our partners should be punished and their trading relationship with Custom Union members threatened to be placed under far worse conditions than our own arrangements.

One final point: on our side we stand ready to do all we can to avoid this and to work with our neighbours to find ways of maximising the compatibility between the European Union and Eurasian structures in a way that facilitates trade and economic integration to the benefit of our neighbours and also to the benefit of our neighbours’ neighbour.




  El Presidente. − Para cerrar el debate se han presentado 6 propuestas de resolución(1) de conformidad con el artículo 110, apartado 2, del Reglamento.

Se cierra el debate.

La votación tendrá lugar mañana, a las 12.00 horas.

Declaraciones por escrito (artículo 149 del Reglamento)


  Bruno Gollnisch (NI), par écrit. – La situation dont vous vous plaignez aujourd'hui est largement de votre faute, puisque dès le début, la Russie a été exclue de la dimension orientale de la politique de voisinage. Comment a-t-on pu ignorer si ostensiblement les réalités historiques, économiques et géopolitiques de cette région? Vous dénoncez des pressions économiques qui auraient en réalité un but politique. Mais toute votre construction européenne est fondée sur la croyance que l'ultra-libéralisme économique et commercial crée automatiquement la démocratie. Avec le succès que l'on sait en Chine et ailleurs. Sous couvert d'accord commerciaux et de partenariat, vous tendez non seulement à influer sur les politiques internes des pays partenaires, mais également à poursuivre la politique d'élargissement sans fin de l'Union européenne, en niant ou ignorant d'autres intérêts. Vous prétendez que ces accords ne remettent rien en cause et sont compatibles avec tout, mais vous prévoyez déjà les modes de résolution des conflits. La Russie est un partenaire stratégique de l'Union européenne, un acteur politique et économique majeur au niveau régional et mondial. Il serait temps d'en tenir compte. Avant de compromettre définitivement les relations entre l'Union et la Russie, et entre la Russie et les pays de la région, nous devrions négocier simultanément avec tous et non opposer les uns aux autres.


  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. – The situation in our direct neighbourhood is becoming dramatic on the eve of the Vilnius Summit. Russia has always been sensitive about the possibility that a true European road will be chosen by the former Soviet provinces. Now, a new dimension of open hostility and crude economic pressure has been reached. Russia is openly using imperialist language in the region neighbouring the EU. The same rhetoric is being applied also towards the Baltic States, which should seriously worry the EU. The success of the Vilnius Summit and the signing of several association treaties will be crucial both for EU credibility and for its future role in the region. We need to unite more than ever, ensuring EU commitment and willingness to pursue the road of further integration. The Eurasian Customs Union does not comply in any way with EU integration and is meant as a countermove in order to retain Russia’s Soviet era dominance over its neighbours. The EU’s political commitment and presence is more important than ever, and we owe it to the people of those countries. The EU has to resolutely condemn and oppose all Russian post-imperialist moves that bully its neighbours and try to block their free choice of a society governed by the rule of law.


  Monica Luisa Macovei (PPE), în scris. – Federația Rusă amenință Republica Moldova pentru a împiedica parafarea Acordului de asociere cu Uniunea Europeană și implicit pentru a opri parcursul său european. Pe 10 Septembrie, Federația Rusă a interzis importurile de vin moldovenesc pe motive sanitare. Serviciul sanitar rus este ridicat la rang de „minister de război” pentru a pedepsi țările din „vecinătatea apropiată” care nu răspund ordinelor rusești.

Vice-prim-ministrul Federației Ruse, în vizită la Chișinău pe 2 septembrie, a afirmat că Republica Moldova va pierde regiunea Transnistreană dacă va parafa Acordul de asociere. Tot el i-a amenințat pe moldoveni că vor îngheța la iarnă, deci Federația Rusă șantajează Republica Moldova cu blocarea livrării de gaze. La asta se adaugă alte amenințări privind îngreunarea formalităților pentru cetățenii moldoveni care lucrează în Federația Rusă.

Guvernul de la Chișinău a răspuns acestei retorici cu calm și curaj. Eforturile depuse pentru a finaliza negocierile în timp record și de a parafa Acordul de asociere arată voința extraordinară de a integra proiectul european. Semnarea Acordului de asociere trebuie să urmeze cât mai repede parafării sale, pentru că Uniunea Europeană nu acceptă să fie șantajată de Federația Rusă.


  Cristian Dan Preda (PPE), în scris. – După Ucraina şi Armenia, Moldova devine a treia țară împotriva căreia Rusia face presiuni. Moscova nu vede cu ochi buni Parteneriatul estic şi încheierea de Acorduri de asociere între Uniunea Europeană şi țările din regine. Nu este pentru prima oară când Rusia utilizează arma interzicerii importurilor de vin din Moldova în scopul de a influența politica acestei ţări. Uniunea Europeană are responsabilitatea de a-şi proteja partenerii, iar Moldova nu trebuie să cedeze acestor presiuni, ilegale prin prisma apartenenței Rusiei la OMC. Reamintesc, în fine, că acordurile de asociere nu sunt menite să submineze schimburile comerciale dintre țările Parteneriatului estic şi Rusia, ci că, dimpotrivă, acestea vor stimula competitivitatea şi randamentul țărilor din zona și vor îmbunătăți comerțul lor cu toți partenerii.


  Jacek Protasiewicz (PPE), in writing. – Just a few months before the Vilnius Summit, the Eastern Partnership remains at the crossroads. Our Eastern neighbours have become hostages to a choice which should not be there in the first place. In just the last few months, in warning them against associating with the EU, Russia has engaged in a mini trade war with Ukraine, banned the export of agricultural products from Moldova and convinced Armenia to join its Customs Union. Despite these domestic economic issues, we cannot turn our back on our Eastern partners, especially when they are being put under great pressure by Russia. I would appeal to the European Commission and to the Lithuanian Presidency not to miss the chance provided by the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius to sign – and even provisionally implement – the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, and to initial association agreements with our other Eastern partners. This is an opportunity for real change. The EU should stand ready to support those who are being subjected to pressure. We should work with our Eastern neighbours to build a zone of prosperity and stability in the region and we should show them the benefits of their association with the EU.


  Jarosław Leszek Wałęsa (PPE), na piśmie. – Kluczowym punktem europejskiej polityki wschodniej jest coraz głębsza integracja ekonomiczna, społeczna i gospodarcza z krajami Partnerstwa Wschodniego. Ukraina stoi dziś u progu ogromnej szansy, jaką jest podpisanie umowy stowarzyszeniowej z Unią Europejską. Umowa ta otworzyłaby przed ukraińską gospodarką nowe możliwości rozwoju oraz pozwoliłaby przybliżyć integrację ze zjednoczoną Europą nie tylko Ukrainie, ale też innym państwom, które z nadzieją patrzą w kierunku Brukseli. By szansa ta mogła się ziścić, musimy nie tylko wymagać uregulowania pewnych problemów, które stoją na drodze do integracji, ale też bronić prawa każdego kraju do samostanowienia. Rosyjskie próby nacisku na Ukrainę muszą zostać ostro potępione, gdyż uderzają w samą istotę Partnerstwa Wschodniego, a brak naszej reakcji może zostać odebrany przez Moskwę jako milczące przyzwolenie na tego typu zachowania. Na tym etapie przygotowań do podpisania umowy (o strefie wolnego handlu) musimy stanowczo bronić naszej wiarygodności, jeśli chcemy być dla Ukrainy partnerem, a nie tylko złym wujkiem, który dużo wymaga, nie dając nic w zamian. Dlatego zwracam się o przyjęcie rezolucji potępiającej naciski strony rosyjskiej na Ukrainę, które mają na celu zawrócenie jej z drogi postępu.


(1)Véase el Acta.

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