Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-058"

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"Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, from listening to this whole debate and the statements from the Council and the Commission, it has become abundantly clear how difficult it is, with respect to Russia, to combine the requisite respect for that large and important country and that large and important people with the propagation of our fundamental principles on the rule of law, a functioning democracy, free media and respect for human rights. It is difficult to find the right balance, all the more so since President Putin, like no other, understands the art of exploiting every difference of opinion or different nuance of opinion between the Member States. We have heard that there are soon to be elections in Russia and we know this will be in a few weeks’ time. In this context I want to stress that the conditions being imposed on parties which are not represented in the Duma are completely unworthy of a democracy. Whether we are talking about the amount of the deposit, the number of signatures required, the checks on this – look at what happened in St Petersburg a few months ago – on not one of these points do they meet the criteria that we and the rest of the world would consider constitute free and fair elections. In other words, things do not bode well at all. We have also heard some very worrying reports about attempts to keep a close check on students’ contacts and people on visitors’ programmes. In other words – and I am coming to the end now Mr President – the Member States need to remain more united and vigilant than ever to allow cooperation to continue."@en1

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