Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-064"

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"Madam President, there is not much point in playing and off against each other, as Mr Watson has said. The fact is that we need both: in our dealings with Russia, we need to be realistic and we need to be clear and firm about our ethical and moral standpoint. Many of us thought that, after the collapse of communism, Russia would simply vanish from the world stage, and that is what many people wanted. However, that did not happen. It did not happen mainly because, due to rising energy prices, Russia has been able to increase its revenues and thus regain power in the international arena. We have to recognise that; if we do not, we fail to recognise reality. There is something that we do not want to accept, however, and that of course is the negative developments, and both the Council Presidency and the Commissioner have made that clear. We are not prepared simply to accept that more and more steps are being taken to dismantle democracy in Russia. These are steps which we cannot accept and which have nothing to do with democracy-building and everything to do with its erosion. We do not want to accept that Russia, unfortunately, is unwilling to offer its neighbours – our common neighbours – an open partnership. That would be in our interests, and we should make it very clear that we want to work with Russia to foster this partnership, but with a Russia which recognises the independence and sovereignty of all its neighbours. What we cannot accept is a situation in which Russia rightly seeks to influence other countries through its membership of the Council of Europe or the OSCE, for example, yet on the other hand does not wish to take on responsibility and therefore objects to election observation, for instance. We should not distrust the elections on principle, but a country such as Russia which thinks that it has fully developed its democracy must also allow some measure of scrutiny. If Russia wishes to play a major role in the Council of Europe and the OSCE, then we must call on Russia to demonstrate this by admitting election observers to ascertain whether its own elections are transparent and fair. That is the clear message that the European Union should be sending to Russia."@en1

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