Foreign Affairs Committee of the EU Parliament Issue Report on the Current Relationship With Russia
Ministers of the European Parliament who sit on the Foreign Affairs Committee have issued a report detailing the current relationship with Russia and suggestions on how to deal with Russia going forward
Photo Marc Dossman/European Parliament
With the rise of new areas of tension between the EU and Russia, Ministers of the European Parliament, MEPs, currently sitting on the Foreign Affairs Committee have voiced their support for sanctions against Russia, the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic Sea and a better EU response to combat cyber threats, especially those coming from Russia. This is from the European Parliament Press Room.
The MEPs state that the EU should cooperate with Russia only in areas of common interests, which makes the current Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) necessary to reconsider. The MEPs issued a report outlining the issues with Russia and what actions should be taken.
The MEPs note that new areas of tension between the EU and Russia have arisen since 2015, including the Russian intervention in Syria and interference in countries such as Libya and Central African Republic, Russia‘s support for anti-EU parties and far-right movements, the Russian meddling in other countries‘ political elections and extensive human rights violations inside Russia. They also condemned Russia‘s actions in the Azov Sea as it relates to Ukraine and its repeated violations of the territorial waters and air space of the countries in the Baltic Sea region.
The report underlines that the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements, which concern the was in eastern Ukraine, and broader respect for international law remain key preconditions for closer EU cooperation with Russia. The report says that in the meantime, the current sanctions must remain in place and the EU has to stand ready to take further action, especially by means of targeted sanctions against individuals. The MEPs are also calling on the European Commission and EEAS to prepare a proposal for a European version of the US law known as the Magnitsky Act which has banned a number of Russians from obtaining US visas or traveling to the US in general.
While the Foreign Affairs MEPs want to no longer consider Russia a strategic partner, they understand that the EU is currently Russia’s largest trading partner, a position they are likely to keep for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, the MEPs reiterated their call for the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 project, since it reinforces EU dependency on Russian gas supplies and threatens the EU internal market.
The MEPs condemned Russia‘s disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks, aimed at increasing tensions within the EU and its member states. They are also deeply concerned that the EU‘s response to the propaganda and disinformation is insufficient and should be further strengthened, in particular before the upcoming European elections in May 2019. In this regard, the funding and human resources for the EU‘s East Stratcom Task Force must be substantially increased, they stress.
The report on the state of EU-Russia political relations was adopted by 27 votes to 4, with 15 abstentions. It will be voted on by the full House during the March plenary session in Strasbourg, France.