Time for a new EU-Russia Agreement

Today the Foreign Affairs Committee massively endorsed S&D Group leader Hannes Swoboda’s recommendation to the Council, the Commission and the EEAS on the negotiations of the new EU-Russia Agreement. There was only one vote against.

The report emphasises the ambition to have a strategic partnership with Russia, as a EU neighbour and as an important global and regional player. However, this kind of partnership can only be achieved on the basis of fundamental values, such as democracy, rule of rule, human rights, respect for the principles of the UN Charter and international law.

Said S&D Group President Hannes Swoboda:

„In past months Russia, unfortunately, has been moving away from these values, as seen, for example, in the adoption of new laws that significantly hamper the work of the independent NGOs and freedom of expression. As a member of the UN SC, Russia also has to fulfil its global responsibilities in upholding the principles of international law and peaceful resolution of conflicts. In this context, the EU looks forward to Russia’s constructive attitude to the ongoing crisis in Syria and unsolved conflicts in Georgia.

„We believe that, despite some deep and growing divergences with the Russian leadership on fundamental values and key foreign policy issues, the way forward is by dialogue and pragmatic cooperation on the issues of common interest, not Cold War-like confrontational rhetoric.“

„At the same time, more efforts are needed to forge a real partnership between European and Russian societies. In this regard, the report calls for the gradual phasing out of the visa regime between the Schengen countries and Russia.“