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Press release

Russia: a crucial partner for the EU in building long-term co-operation

External relations - 17-06-2010 - 16:14
Plenary sessions
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Parliament welcomed the "constructive" nature of first EU-Russia summit since the Lisbon Treaty's entry into force in a resolution approved on Thursday. Russia remains one of the EU’s most important partners in building long-term co-operation and addressing common challenges as such economic co-operation, human rights and democracy, energy security and climate change, it said.

MEPs welcome Russia’s recent ratification of Protocol 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights and the moratorium on the death penalty, hoping that these are the first steps towards improving respect for human rights. They also advocate stepping up the EU-Russia human rights dialogue and hope that civil society, NGOs and human rights organisations will be more extensively involved in the twice-yearly EU-Russia summits.
Parliament calls on the Russian authorities to put an end to widespread impunity for violence against human rights defenders and, in particular, to make it their priority to end the climate of terror and lawlessness in the North Caucasus and to protect and guarantee the physical integrity of human rights defenders, in line with international and regional human rights instruments.
New Partnership and Co-operation Agreement

MEPs also call on the EU and Russia to intensify their negotiations for a new partnership and co-operation agreement, aiming to reach a broad, wide-ranging and binding agreement, not only on economic co-operation but also in the areas of democracy, rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights.
WTO accession 

MEPs favour Russia’s joining the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but stress that abandoning all protectionist measures is a prerequisite for WTO accession.  They also note that Russia’s establishment of a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan may put additional obstacles in its path towards WTO membership. 
Energy co-operation

Parliament welcomes the signing of an agreement to establish an early-warning mechanism on energy security between the EU and Russia. This should "avoid any repetition of the delivery cuts that have occurred over the last few years", it says.
EU-Russia energy co-operation must be based on the principles of the Energy Charter and the Transit Protocol, which must be incorporated in the new EU-Russia framework agreement,  "in order to ensure transparent and fair mutual investment conditions, equal access and a rule-based market an excludes the use of energy as a foreign policy tool ", says the resolution.
Visa-free travel between the EU and the Russian Federation

Finally, MEPs endorse the commitment to the long-term aim of visa-free travel between the EU and Russia, based on a step-by-step approach, "focused on substance and practical progress".  Dialogue here should proceed in line with the visa facilitation process for Eastern Partnership countries, they add. 

Parliament reiterates "its commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity within its internationally-recognised borders, and calls on all parties to honour their undertakings fully". The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) should be granted "unhindered access to Abkhazia and South Ossetia – which it has so far been denied – without further delay", add MEPs.
The resolution was approved by a show of hands.
REF.: 20100616IPR76207