Verhofstadt presents ALDE’s Blueprint to un-freeze the relationship between Russia and the EU

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Credit: Lara Szpiro

Today the European Liberals and Democrats launched a new strategy to deal with Russia, which outlines how a more active EU should engage to get Moscow to respect international law and also its human rights obligations laid down in the Russian Constitution.

ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt:

The EU needs more than a joint position on sanctions. We need a proactive strategy to get the EU — Russia relationship out of its current stalemate and to motivate Russia to start behaving in a more responsible manner.”

“We need a strategy of “conditional engagement” with Russia, inspired by the Helsinki process of the seventies. We must be tough on corrupt Russian officials, but make sure that law-abiding Russian citizens are not punished by sanctions against the regime.”

ALDE believes that the process of “conditional engagement” should be underpinned by four pillars:

1. Citizens Opportunities Pillar: Visa bans against corrupt Russian officials should continue, but Russian citizens should not be the victims of the sanctions. EU Member States should unilaterally facilitate issuing of visas and more scholarships should be offered to Russian students.

2. Economic Pillar: Investments should be opened up if Russia delivers on its commitments in respect to international law, respects its OSCE and Council of Europe obligations, and contributes to solving frozen conflicts in the East of Europe. A free trade area from Lisbon to Vladivostok could be the long-term goal.

3. Security Pillar: More European efforts using all the tools available to make Russia abide by international law.

4. Political Pillar: Dialogue with Moscow to make Russia implement the European Convention of Human Rights, backed by the perspective to open up cooperation under the economic pillar.

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Credit: Lara Szpiro

Among speakers were Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, Konstantin Kosatchev, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation, Alexey Navalny, Russian democratic opposition leader (per skype), Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, Yulia Galiamina, municipal deputy of Moscow’s Timiryazevski district for Yabloko, and also Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Group in the European Parliament.

Find the Blueprint for an EU-Strategy towards Russia HERE.

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