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Thursday, 20 November 2003 - Strasbourg
EU-Russia summit

European Parliament resolution on the 12th EU-Russia Summit held on 6 November 2003 in Rome

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia,

–   having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Russia, which entered into force on 1 December 1997,

–   having regard to the Common Strategy of the EU on Russia of 4 June 1999, the period of application of which has been extended to 24 June 2004,

–   having regard to its resolutions of 10 April 2002(1), 16 January 2003(2) and 3 July 2003(3) on Chechnya,

–   having regard to its resolution of 15 May 2003 on the EU-Russia Summit(4),

–   having regard to the Commission Communication to the Council and European Parliament of 11 March 2003 entitled 'Wider Europe – Neighbourhood: a new framework for relations with our eastern and southern neighbours' (COM(2003) 104),

–   having regard to the sixth meeting of the Cooperation Council between the EU and Russia, held on 15 April 2003,

–   having regard to the Joint Statement of the 12th EU-Russia Summit, which took place in Rome on 6 November 2003,

–   having regard to its resolution of 20 November 2003(5) on the abovementioned communication of 11 March 2003,

–   having regard to the Council Presidency Declaration of 8 October 2003 and the General Affairs Council statement of 17 November 2003,

A.   whereas enhanced and comprehensive cooperation with Russia is of strategic importance for the achievement of stability and security for the whole of Europe,

B.   whereas enlargement will extend the border of the EU with Russia, thereby strengthening the ties between the two sides and underlining the need for good-neighbourly relations,

C.   whereas the foundations of the EU's Russian policy, notably the PCA, the Common Strategy and the TACIS programme, were laid a number of years ago and must be updated,

D.   whereas the PCA is still largely underused, in particular by the Russian side, where lengthy decision-making procedures concerning responsibilities within the Russian Government hamper the full use of the agreement's potential,

E.   whereas further development of the democratic process in Russia, especially in the field of free and fair elections, freedom of information, the media and the rule of law, and Russia's integration in more comprehensive political, economic, scientific and security structures constitute interrelated processes,

F.   whereas the crisis in Chechnya is ongoing and human rights abuses linked to Russian security forces and troops reportedly under the control of the newly elected Chechen president are continuing and increasingly spreading to the neighbouring republic of Ingushetia; whereas, at the same time, unacceptable acts of violence and terrorism, reportedly by Chechen fighters, against Russian troops, members of the Chechen administration, the unarmed civilian population and people linked to President Akhmed Kadyrov have also continued,

G.   whereas the responsibility of the EU to play a primary role on the international scene is not met if it turns a blind eye to this conflict,

H.   having regard to recent non-transparent actions of the Russian judiciary, as in the cases of Yukos and the Open Society Institute,

1.  Takes note of the agreement reached at the summit to reinforce the strategic partnership between the EU and Russia on the basis of common values and with the aim of consolidating stability, security and prosperity in a Europe without dividing lines; underlines, however, with reference to its double-track policy towards Russia, that the understanding and definition of these common values should be sharpened;

2.  Welcomes the commitment to promote further rapprochement and comprehensive integration of social and economic structures of the enlarged EU and Russia, to create 'common spaces' between both sides and to launch the work of the EU-Russia Permanent Partnership Council;

3.  Welcomes, in particular, the endorsement of the concept of a Common European Economic Space, which offers a blueprint for economic integration, and calls upon both sides to continue this work with a view to presenting proposals on how to promote trade and investment and to achieving tangible results as early as possible;

4.  Recognises the desirability of strengthening the long-term energy relations between the EU and Russia in order to ensure mutual energy security and welcomes the progress achieved in the ongoing energy dialogue aimed at establishing an energy partnership between Russia and the EU as an integral part of the Common European Economic Space; recognises Russia's important role as energy supplier for the EU and the EU's importance for investments in this field, with particular reference to urgently needed maintenance as well as investment in new, environmentally more reliable techniques;

5.  Welcomes the agreement to take forward work to create a common space of freedom, security and justice emphasising common democratic values, in particular respect for human rights and the rule of law; recalls in this context the need for fair, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportional application of the law by the Russian authorities and especially by the judiciary; considers that defendants must be granted due process so that they have a chance of defending themselves;

6.  Invites the Council and the Commission, in this context, to continue to support the democratic process and especially the implementation of judicial reforms in Russia since failure to respect these key principles would not only undermine the progress made in Russia to create a positive environment for the development of trade and investment by Russian and foreign companies but could also hold back Russia's integration into a Common European Economic Space;

7.  Welcomes the renewal of the Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation as well as Russian participation in the Bologna process, which provides for mutual recognition of diplomas; stresses, in particular, that this agreement will enable Russian scientists to take part in the EU's sixth research and development framework programme; calls on both sides to adopt special programmes aimed at promoting their cooperation in the fields of high-tech and scientific research, including the aircraft-building industry, space exploration, nuclear energy, telecommunications and the pan-European transport system;

8.  Welcomes the setting-up of a common space of external security as well as the high degree of mutual understanding in regard to a number of acute international issues and the central role of the UN in world affairs; joins both sides in condemning all acts of terror and in stressing the importance of international cooperation to combat terrorism in all its forms;

9.  Expresses in this context its deep concern about continuing reports of grave human rights abuses in Chechnya and urges the Russian authorities to allow unfettered international human rights monitoring in the republic, to immediately halt attempts by the Russian authorities to forcibly return Chechen internally displaced persons and refugees until they can return voluntarily in safety and dignity to their place of origin or choice, to ensure immediate action to bring to justice those responsible for grave abuses committed during the conflict in Chechnya, and to provide concrete information about all criminal investigations into alleged crimes which may amount to human rights violations or violations of international humanitarian law;

10.  Calls also on the Council and the Commission to express their concern, once again, on the case of kidnapped Dutch 'Médecins sans frontières' aid worker Arjan Erkel;

11.  Welcomes the decision of a British court to refuse the extradition of the Chechen leader Akhmed Zakhaiev requested by the Russian authorities;

12.  Supports the statement made by its President on the inadequate handling of the Chechnya and Kyoto issues in the Summit's joint statement;

13.  Deplores the declarations made by the President-in-Office of Council at the end of the EU-Russia Summit, in which he expressed his support for the Russian Government's position concerning the human rights situation in Chechnya and the state of democracy in the Russian Federation;

14.  Urges the Council and Commission to keep the issue of Chechnya as a separate item high on the agenda of EU-Russia relations and to reiterate once again to the Russian authorities the call for the resumption of negotiations with all the parties, in order to achieve an immediate political solution to the conflict, which cannot be considered solely as part of the fight against terrorism, making clear the EU's willingness to act as a mediator;

15.  Recalls that a political solution to the Transdniestria problem is only possible if combined with full withdrawal of Russian troops from Moldova, and urges Russia to honour its international obligations and withdraw its troops in accordance with the timetable laid down at the OSCE meetings in Istanbul and Porto;

16.  Welcomes the agreement to strengthen the dialogue on non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control and coordination of activities within existing international mechanisms; reiterates the importance of nuclear and chemical disarmament for the non-proliferation system and invites Russia and the Member States to play a leading role in these areas;

17.  Welcomes the signing of the agreement between the Russian Federation and Europol and looks to Russia to quickly conclude negotiations on an EU-Russia Readmission Agreement, to step up work against organised crime and to promote cooperation on border management;

18.  Notes with satisfaction the commitment to implement as soon as possible and in full the package on Kaliningrad, including the launch of a high-speed train feasibility study before the end of 2003 and its timely completion; welcomes the entry into force of the Russian-Lithuanian border agreement and calls upon Russia to sign and ratify its border agreements with Estonia and Latvia;

19.  Remains convinced that it is possible and desirable to work towards Russia's speedy accession to the WTO and calls upon both sides to intensify their work and to resolve the outstanding issues for conclusion of bilateral market access and FDI protection negotiations on Russia's WTO accession, while ensuring mutually acceptable and commercially viable terms;

20.  Deplores the fact that the Summit involved no discussions on the environment issues where EU and Russia share responsibility; states that one of the issues that should have been given high priority is the environmental threat to the Baltic Sea;

21.  Stresses the importance of Russia's ratification and observance of the Espo Convention on Environmental Assessment in a Transboundary Context in order to develop effective environmental protection measures for the Baltic Sea; states that it is vital for all oil extraction in the Baltic Sea, irrespective of location, that an environmental impact assessment (EIA) be carried out; states that such an EIA should be conducted according to international standards, be accessible for any other country and should also cover the establishment of new large-scale ports or extending the life of nuclear power plants;

22.  Expects of Russia concrete and quick action on the EU proposal to accelerate the phasing-out of single-hull tankers;

23.  Calls on the Duma to abide by its commitments and ratify as soon as possible the Kyoto Protocol as a key element for the enhancement of multilateralism;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution the Council, the Commission, the parliaments of the Member States and accession countries and the President, the State Duma and the Government of the Russian Federation.

(1) OJ C 127 E, 29.5.2003, p. 585.
(2) P5_TA(2003)0025.
(3) P5_TA(2003)0335.
(4) P5_TA(2003)0219.
(5)5 P5_TA-PROV(2003)520

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