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Procedure : 2014/2533(RSP)
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Thursday, 6 February 2014 - Strasbourg
EU-Russia summit

European Parliament resolution of 6 February 2014 on the EU-Russia summit (2014/2533(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia,

–  having regard to the existing Agreement on partnership and cooperation (PCA) 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 ‘Partnership for Modernisation’ initiated in 2010 at Rostov-on-Don and to the commitment made by the Russian leadership to the rule of law as a fundamental basis for the modernisation of Russia,

–  having regard to the objective shared by the EU and Russia, set out in the joint statement issued on 31 May 2003 following the 11th EU-Russia summit held in St Petersburg, of creating a common economic space, a common space of freedom, security and justice, a common space of cooperation in the field of external security and a common space of research and education, including cultural aspects (the ‘four common spaces’),

–  having regard to the EU-Russia human rights consultations of 28 November 2013,

–  having regard to the Eastern Partnership Summit of 28 and 29 November 2013,

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

–  having regard to the statement by the President of the Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, and the remarks by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, following the EU-Russia summit of 28 January 2014,

–  having regard to the joint EU-Russia statement of 28 January 2014 on combating terrorism,

–  having regard to Rule 110(2) and (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the EU remains committed to further deepening and developing EU-Russia relations, as is shown by its commitment to seriously engage in negotiating a new framework agreement for their further development, and whereas the EU and Russia have established deep and comprehensive relations, particularly in the energy, economic and business sectors;

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 challenges in EU-Russia relations, mostly as a result of Russia’s pressure on Eastern Partners;

C.  whereas enhanced cooperation and good-neighbourly relations between the EU and Russia are crucial for the stability, security and prosperity of Europe and, in particular, the common neighbourhood; whereas the development of a strategic partnership between the EU and the Russian Federation can only be built on shared common values; whereas it is of the utmost importance to step up cooperation at international level between the two partners in all institutions, organisations and forums with a view to improving global governance and addressing common challenges;

D.  whereas there remains concern over developments in the Russian Federation with regard to respect for and protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles and the rule of law; whereas the Russian Federation is a full member of the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and has therefore committed itself to the principles of democracy and respect for human rights;

E.  whereas at the Vilnius Eastern Partnership Summit all participants reconfirmed their commitment to the principles of international law and to fundamental values including democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights;

F.  whereas good-neighbourly relations, peace and stability in their common neighbouring countries are in the interests of both Russia and the EU; whereas an open, frank and result‑oriented dialogue should develop on the crises in these countries with regard, in particular, to the frozen conflicts, with a view to strengthening security and stability, supporting the territorial integrity of the countries concerned and developing joint crisis management mechanisms;

G.  whereas Eastern Partnership countries have the full sovereign right and freedom to build relations, as equal partners, with partners of their choice, in line with the Helsinki Accords;

H.  whereas the process of borderisation around Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region / South Ossetia has accelerated and become hostile, with the support of Russian forces and to the detriment of the Georgian territories;

I.  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;

1.  Takes note of the EU-Russia summit of 28 January 2014 as an opportunity to reflect on the nature and direction of the EU-Russia Strategic Partnership and to clarify points of disagreement; notes that the reduced format of the EU-Russia summit is a 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; expects that the discussions will lead to improved mutual trust and create conditions for a renewed political impetus to move the partnership forward;

2.  Reaffirms its belief that Russia remains one of the EU’s most important partners in building strategic cooperation, sharing not only economic and trade interests but also aspiring to the realisation of commonly agreed democratic values; stresses that progress in bilateral relations requires an open discussion to clarify issues of mutual disagreement;

3.  Underlines the need for a sustained and constructive dialogue to discuss developments in our common neighbourhood, along with different regional economic integration initiatives, and in particular their trade implications, on the basis of existing World Trade Organisation (WTO) commitments; encourages the EU and Russia to find ways of making the respective regional integration processes more compatible, while continuing to work towards a vision of a common trade and economic zone in the future;

4.  Reiterates that the EU-Russia dialogue on issues relating to a common neighbourhood must be based on the fundamental principle of sovereignty and the independence of neighbouring countries as regards choosing political and trade alliances; is convinced that further political and economic reform in Eastern Partnership countries, including Ukraine, based on EU values and standards, is ultimately in Russia’s own interest, as it would expand the zone of stability, prosperity and cooperation along its borders; recalls the EU’s standing invitation for Russia to contribute to this process via constructive engagement with the Eastern Partnership countries; opposes Russia’s intention to continue to consider the Eastern Partnership region as its sphere of influence; believes that Ukrainian citizens alone should have the right to decide the future of their country;

5.  Regrets the fact 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 and that its security will be enhanced by a stable and predictable neighbourhood; stresses the importance of developing synergies so as to allow the countries in the common neighbourhood to benefit from and make the most of bilateral relations with both the EU and the Russian Federation;

6.  Reiterates that, unlike the Customs Union championed by Russia, the EU’s agreements with Eastern Partnership 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);

7.  Expects, if the conditions are properly prepared, to launch the new agreement negotiations at the next summit, to be held in Sochi in June 2014; regrets the lack of progress in the negotiations on a new PCA to replace the current one, mainly owing to the lack of commitment from the Russian side to engaging in substantial negotiations on the trade chapter; underlines the necessity of maintaining the commitment to the Partnership for Modernisation;

8.  Calls for effective coordination 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;

9.  Calls on Russia to comply with all its multilateral obligations deriving from its accession to the WTO and to implement its WTO commitments fully; calls on Russia to refrain from imposing arbitrary bans on products from EU Member States, as such measures are harmful to bilateral relations between individual Member States and Russia, and to EU-Russia relations;

10.  Firmly condemns the recent terrorist attacks in Volgograd; welcomes the adoption of the joint EU-Russia statement of 28 January 2014 on combating terrorism, in which the EU and Russia agreed to consider possibilities for further strengthening cooperation in response to crimes committed by terrorists and organised crime, to expand cooperation in exchanging best practices vis-à-vis counterterrorism and training experts in counterterrorism, and to intensify their cooperation both within the UN framework and in other multilateral forums;

11.  Notes the EU-Russia Common Spaces Progress Reports, which outline progress, or regress, in the implementation of the EU-Russia Common Spaces and of the road maps adopted in 2005; especially supports cooperation in the field of research and development and stresses that the four Common Spaces rely on the principle of reciprocity;

12.  Stresses the importance of energy security and the fact that the supply of natural resources should not be used as a political tool; underlines the mutual importance of collaboration in the energy field, which represents an opportunity for further trade and economic collaboration in an opened and transparent market, with full understanding of the EU’s need to diversify transportation channels and energy providers; stresses that the principles of interdependence and transparency should be the basis for such cooperation, together with equal access to markets, infrastructure and investment; calls for EU-Russia cooperation in the energy field to be based firmly on the principles of the internal market, including the Third Energy Package, in particular with regard to third-party access, and of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT); is convinced that full acceptance of the principles of the ECT by Russia would have mutually beneficial effects on bilateral energy relations; calls for close cooperation between the EU and Russia regarding the supply of raw materials and rare earths, especially those considered critical, and calls for compliance with international rules, especially WTO rules;

13.  Urges the Russian Federation to step up its contribution to addressing climate change; calls, in particular, on Russia to take on a second commitment period target by ratifying the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change;

14.  Reiterates its commitment to the long-term objective of visa-free travel between the EU and Russia, on the basis of a step-by-step approach focused on substance and practical progress; notes that negotiations on an upgraded visa facilitation agreement are ongoing, while the implementation of the ‘common steps towards visa-free short-term travel’ is under way; expresses its concern over the plans to include a great number of Russian officials with ‘service passports’ of convenience in the visa facilitation agreement;

15.  Expresses its concern over developments in the Russian Federation with regard to respect for and the protection of human rights and respect for commonly agreed democratic principles, rules and procedures, particularly as regards the law on foreign agents, the anti-LGBT legislation, the recriminalisation of defamation, the treason law and the legislation regulating public protests; urges Russia to abide by its international commitments as a member of the Council of Europe;

16.  Welcomes the recent cases of amnesty and underlines the fact that a clear and reliable understanding of fundamental freedoms, human rights and the rule of law will help further advance our strategic partnership; emphasises that an independent, impartial and efficient justice system is a core element of the rule of law and contributes greatly to the development of a reliable and stable business environment and investment climate;

17.  Reiterates its concern about the overall human rights situation in Russia and the absence of any evolution on the modalities of the EU-Russia human rights consultations; regrets, in particular, the fact that this dialogue has become a process rather than a means to achieve measurable and tangible results; insists once more on the need to include public indicators of progress in these human rights consultations, to improve the dialogue’s modalities, for example by alternating the location of the consultations, through interaction between Russian NGOs and the Russian authorities as part of this process and on the composition of the Russian delegation, and to issue public assessments of progress on the occasion of EU‑Russia summits and following the Partnership Council meetings;

18.  Calls on Russia to repeal fully the federal law on ‘propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations’ and similar regional anti-propaganda laws which curtail human rights, notably freedom of expression and assembly in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity; expresses its sincere concern over the negative consequences of these laws on society, with discrimination and violence against LGBTI individuals increasing; calls on the EU Delegation to increase its support for defenders of the human rights of LGBTI people, in line with the relevant guidelines;

19.  Reiterates its call on the Commission, with a view to the ongoing programming of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities (CSO-LA) financial instrument, to significantly step up efforts to provide assistance to the oppressed civil society by doubling its financial allocations to the country;

20.  Stresses that regular political dialogue meetings on a wide range of foreign policy issues are an essential element in EU-Russia relations; states that Russia, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC), must assume its responsibility in international crises; calls on Russia to take a very constructive approach at the Geneva II Conference on Syria, where the aim is to achieve a political solution to the conflict; welcomes Russia’s efforts, together with the USA and the international community, to approve a UNSC resolution regarding the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons and the launch of the Geneva II talks;

21.  Underlines the importance of dialogue and cooperation with Russia on global questions with a view to tackling effectively issues such as Afghanistan, the work of the Middle East Quartet and anti-piracy efforts off the Horn of Africa; encourages the deepening and strengthening of this cooperation, aiming at joint action regarding Iran’s nuclear programme;

22.  Calls on Russia to reverse its recognition of the separation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali / South Ossetia; strongly condemns the process of borderisation around Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region / South Ossetia, which has led to the expansion of the area of occupied territories, to the detriment of Georgia; calls on Georgia and Russia to engage in direct talks without preconditions on a range of subjects, with mediation, if needed, by a mutually acceptable third party, which should complement, but not replace, the existing Geneva process;

23.  Calls on the Russian Federation to fulfil the commitments made in 1996 in the Council of Europe and reflected in OSCE Summit decisions (in Istanbul in 1999 and Oporto in 2002) concerning the withdrawal of Russian troops and arms from the territory of Moldova; expresses concern over the lack of progress on this issue; underlines the fact that all sides of the 5+2 talks have committed to solving the conflict on the basis of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova; calls on Russia to play a constructive role in efforts to resolve the protracted conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, in the framework of the Minsk Group;

24.  Believes that renewed efforts are needed to advance cooperation and dialogue between the EU and Russia on matters of regional security, including the resolution of protracted conflicts in the neighbourhood;

25.  Underlines the importance of fostering EU-Russia intercultural dialogue and knowledge of each other’s history and cultural heritage, as well as encouraging the mobility and exchange of students, teachers, professors and researchers in order to facilitate people-to-people contacts that would provide a visible and tangible testimony to a sustainable partnership leading in the long term to a community of values;

26.  Appeals to the Russian authorities to cooperate in opening up Russian archives, enabling access for researchers and declassifying relevant documents, including in relation to the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, who 70 years ago saved thousands of Hungarian Jews from genocide;

27.  Welcomes the work of the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee as a platform for the development of cooperation and for continued dialogue between the two parliamentary institutions;

28.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the governments and parliaments of the Eastern Partnership countries, the President, Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

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