Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-077"

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". − Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to pick up on some of the points made. The debate has made one thing very clear: the very wide relationship of tension here today. I am still of the opinion that Russia is a strategic partner. However, I also said that it is of course a neighbour country and that is why it is especially important to take issues such as those raised by Graham Watson, Christopher Beazley and others very seriously. We do indeed take them seriously. Let us just cast a glance back to the previous summit in Samara. On that occasion, Angela Merkel, as the President of the Council, put her cards on the table, not only in the meeting but also to the media. Please do not think, therefore, that these values are not important to us. We know that there are some very worrying developments as regards media freedom, the independence of the judiciary, and the issue of fairness, also in relation to the elections. All the issues which have been raised today are of course the right ones. However, let me also say that Elmar Brok’s comments describe a little of my own view, namely that we need to define our interests clearly. On the one hand, there are very substantial security issues at stake here, of course, while on the other, there are human rights and democratic interests. It is also important, of course, to mention the three major principles which Mr Beazley has referred to: solidarity, reciprocity and the rule of law. Naturally, they appear in various forms and we cannot argue with that. You are absolutely right, Mr Beazley, but I can assure you that they will be on the table as well. I know that President Barroso will address these issues very clearly, especially in the context of energy, for example. As you are aware, the Commission has just adopted a package of measures which point in this direction. We want clear rules here which are upheld by everyone in the interests of true reciprocity. Having said that, I would just like to remind you of one point: the more we are prepared genuinely to speak with one voice in the European Union, the stronger we will be. As we all know, we do not always manage to do that. However, the stronger Russia becomes, the more we should speak with one voice. We have this energy dependence, but we can only defend our interests effectively if we send out a strong and clear message. Perhaps we have not paid enough attention to that in the past, and when Russia was in a weaker economic position, so to speak, we probably did not give it enough support. Today, however, we must pursue a position which is based on reciprocity and seek a genuine partnership approach, but this means that Russia must recognise what is important to us as well."@en1

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