Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-051"

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"Mr President, in the run-up to the coming summit, the key assumption for my Group remains that Russia and the European Union have a number of important interests in common and, despite our many differences of opinion, the European Union should continue to operate on the basis of that assumption during the coming summit. Russia and Europe need each other to tackle problems in Europe, but they especially need each other for tackling major international issues. Sustainable security in Europe is only possible in cooperation with Russia. For these reasons we, my Group and I, have always supported the strategic partnership with Russia. There is a very full agenda for this summit and the Commissioner and the representative of the Presidency have already spoken about this. All the same we hope that at some point there will be some movement on the question of the negotiating mandate for the new partnership and cooperation agreement. We hope that a new Polish Government will be able to cooperate with Moscow better and as a result perhaps create some room for progress. The energy relationship is extremely important and we also think that the starting point has to be reciprocity, but we do have to realise that we are dealing with a form of mutual independence here that we should try to manage better together. We also want more cooperation in the Black Sea area, and we hope that issues such as Transnistria and Georgia will also be discussed at this summit. Previous speakers have already mentioned the state of democracy in Russia and, of course, that is not something that can be left out of the discussion. We are also concerned about the run-up to the Duma elections. We also want the campaigns to be free and fair, and that all parties have an equal chance to have their say. That is why it is so important that we press the issue of observers in Moscow: not only observers on the actual election day, but also observers during the campaign in the run-up to the elections. We all know how important it is to be able to form a proper judgement of the elections; a country that has ambitions to hold the presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe really should also be able and willing to work with the OSCE when it comes to observing the elections. Finally, and I reiterate what I said at the beginning, we should continue to be critical towards Russia; critical when it comes to human rights and democracy, but we should not polarise things unnecessarily. Our starting point should still be to be a good neighbour, to cooperate, and to try to tackle issues in Europe together and not to constantly make an issue of things."@en1

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