Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-05-09-Speech-3-046"

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". Mr President, on this day in 1945 Europe fêted Russia’s День Победы – their Day of Victory – and the victory of freedom, law and human dignity over the forces of Nazi hate. Then, we stood together in common cause. Now, a symbol of that same war that brought us together has locked us in a destabilising dispute. And we must not blink first if we are serious about maintaining pragmatic cooperation with Putin’s government and garnering consensus on Kosovo’s final status. Of particular concern to Liberals and Democrats is Russia’s record on Human Rights. Only when an independent judiciary and freedom of expression and democracy cease to exist solely as sound-bites, and when journalists, opposition parties, and NGOs are able to operate without fear of retribution, will Russia have proved its commitment to establishing a common space of freedom, security and justice, as implied in its membership of the Council of Europe and as it signed up to at the St Petersburg Summit. The arrest and detention of opposition voices, whether Kasparov or Khodorkovsky, has done nothing to indicate that times are changing. December’s elections to the Duma, not to mention next year’s presidential elections, will be a litmus test in this regard, as will Russia’s actions in Chechnya, where torture and secret detention continue to give cause for concern. Dialogue requires progress on energy security, where, with Gazprom more about politics than profit, the prospect of further strong-arm tactics lingers. We owe it to Member States like Latvia and Lithuania, which have fallen victim to energy politics, to deliver a response that has more bite than bark. That means insisting that future agreements between the European Union and Russia be linked to the principles of the Energy Charter Treaty and the Kyoto Agreement to ensure a more secure and sustainable future. Yes, there are some signs of progress in justice and home affairs, where we are negotiating border agreements with the Baltic States, visa-free travel and the readmission of illegal migrants in line with our joint strategy. However, the fruits of constructive dialogue are too few and far between. Today’s ‘Victory Day’ should remind us that, only 60 years ago, interdependence helped us face down common challenges. It can do so again, provided we have the courage to act! I know the Commission advises dialogue to end the stand-off between Tallinn and Moscow over the Russian War Statue. However, ‘a dialogue is more than two monologues’, as the former US Ambassador to the CSCE, Max Kampelman, once said. When intimidation triumphs over negotiation, it can no longer be business as usual between the European Union and Russia. That is why my group decided this morning to withdraw its support for the motion for a resolution on the EU-Russia summit. The problem is not what it says, but what it does not say. The Russians need a clear signal that enough is enough. Mr Gloser, Commissioner Verheugen, what you have given us are fine words, no more than soft words, but no action. So let me make you a direct proposal: postpone the summit until Russia is prepared to cement a constructive relationship with the Union and condemn all violence against EU staff and property. We must stand together with Estonia. We must stand together with Poland. Democratic solidarity is more important than bilateral oil and gas deals."@en1

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