Новая стратегия Европы по России и Путину. Владимир Милов в Европарламенте

Новая стратегия Европы по России и Путину. Владимир Милов в Европарламенте

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We can then move on to item number six "The public hearing on an EU long-term strategy towards Russia". As we all know, unfortunately, the status of EU-Russia relations is not good at all. In the last few weeks we have witnessed numerous expulsions of diplomats, triggered by malign activities of the russian security services in EU-member states, such as Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, and the Czech Republic, just to name a few. Furthermore the Kremlin blacklisted without a justification prominent EU officials, including the President of our parliament Mr Sassoli, and also the vice president of the European Commission Ms. Jourova. The presidents of the Parliament, the Council, and the Commission have firmly condemned these arbitrary measures which are indeed targeting the European Union directly and not only the individuals concerned.

In parallel we are witnessing, that Russia is continuing its violent crackdown on the opposition and is exerting increased pressure on its neighbors, such as Belarus and Ukraine, including by the way, of hybrid warfare and fully fledged military buildups. It is sure that as our Vice- President and high representative Josep Borrell recently said, [quote]: "Europe and Russia are unfortunately drifting apart. Russia is progressively disconnecting itself from Europe and looks at democratic values as an extensional threat" [unquote]. Against this background the EU is working on an updated strategy towards Russia and a reflection of what is ongoing within the EU institutions. Just recently the Vice-President high representative told us, that this updated policy will develop along three main lines. The first one - to push back,

when Russia infringes international law and human rights. The second line - to contain Russia, when it seeks to increase its pressure on us. And the third line - to engage with Russia on issues, on which we have an interest to do so. The European Parliament and in particular our committee is going to contribute to the reflection process through a recommendation that will be steered by our standing rapporteur and Russia expert Andreas Kobielus?????? who are welcome in today's meeting. In order to gather proposals and useful ideas for this exercise I have

invited three distinguished experts to provide us with their views, on what should be the main futures of our EU strategy towards Russia .With all that in mind I think it is important, that we start with the Russian perspective. Therefore I give the floor to Mr Vladimir Milov, who is a russian politician, publicist, economist, and former deputy minister of energy of the Russian Federation. Mr Milov had to flee Russia a few weeks ago in order to escape the repression, carried out by the russian government against the opposition. Therefore, dear Mr Milov, let

me convey you the sympathy of our committee. Mr Milov will give us a presentation on the EU policy towards Russia from a russian perspective. In particular, he will probably make suggestions on how to enhance its effectiveness and improve its perception by the russian people. Mr Milov,

the floor is now yours for exactly 15 minutes, please, go ahead! Thank you so much, Mr Chairman. It's an honor to speak here again, it's been a while since Alexey Navalny and myself had spoken at this Committee hearings in november uh you see that a lot has changed and unfortunately did change in line with what we had predicted uh we have been issuing a warning signs about uh putin's escalating uh crackdown on opposition at home and aggressive policies abroad so the events of the past weeks can hardly come as a surprise if you just rewind and rewatch those hearings in november uh we saw that coming and uh fortunately we're lucky to have a lot of people in the European Parliament, members of the European Parliament who also understand what's going on and basically uh members of different party groups and factions in the European Parliament have been exactly warning about the same thing that the situation will become more severe, there will be more aggressive behavior, more crackdown on domestic opposition in Russia so we see that happening. Navalny is in jail and there is a grave danger to his health because of lack of...lack of proper access to him and lack of normal medical treatment, we see major figures from the russian opposition being either detained or put under house arrest or forced to flee the country for safety, we see a police and security services visiting literally tens of thousands of russians who participated in recent street rallies threatening them with more repression uh and uh according to human rights groups uh at this moment the number of political prisoners in Russia is about 400 people which is roughly two times larger than it was in Brezhnev's era in the late Soviet Union. And it's not just domestic policy. We always try to warn you for the

past couple of decades that Putin will not just stop at home with a crackdown on uh his domestic rivals, uh he will export this aggressive behavior abroad, so uh we have been seeing a lot of this happening recently amassing the troops at Ukraine border - so far nothing happened but we have to be watchful and uh as we know from past examples you never know what's uh on Putin's mind next and this recent diplomatic row uh with european countries because of the malign actions of security services, russian security services on european soil, so there is clear an escalation which was very visible, it was coming in plain sight. A lot of russian watchers including ourselves have actually warned uh europeans that this is coming. And uh i also want to thank European Parliament for not only for your firm and unwavering support of the forces who still continue to struggle in Russia for not only a better future for our country but for normal relations and civilized relations with our neighbors, for withdrawal from Putin's aggressive foreign policy course reversing it, uh we very much welcomed the resolutions that have been adopted in september and january uh on the russian strategy by the European Parliament uh and actually this is one of the reasons why Putin goes as far as to take such outrageous action as uh blacklisting the President of the European Parliament David Sassoli which we strongly condemn but it's also a very telling action because Putin...my european colleagues have been...some of them been surprised by my previous statements that Putin considers united democratic Europe as probably a bigger threat, an existential threat than even the United States. Because United States is a geopolitical fall, the old somewhere across the ocean has always been there plus they can always sit together discuss some sort of new arms control treaty, uh have a dialogue on security issues and human rights agenda is sort of being pulled back a bit.

Europe is different. It's a great successful democratic space right next door with much greater extent of trade and everyday interaction with russian people. Russian people see and acknowledge how successful Europe is and its transformation in the past 30-40 years particularly for countries who have been part of the communist empire ever since. We can see the example

like you know citizens of Kaliningrad region in Russia are traveling to Poland or Lithuania to grocery stores to buy food and basic goods, because it's cheaper and of better quality. I don't see a reverse flow. I'm not aware of poles and lithuanians are traveling to Russia for to buy anything. So there's clearly a much brighter example of civilization success if you will. United strong open competitive democratic Europe, which is next door, which is more visible to russians, which is more vocal in defending values of freedom and democracy as it came also in the recent european parliament resolutions. This is why blacklists and sanctions against major european officials,

which we strongly condemn. This is why I reiterate Putin sees Europe as a bigger existential threat even than the United States. But however and I'm sure you know that, it is definitely not your fault that the calls by European Parliament for a stronger action on regarding Putin's malign behavior on the part of european commission on european governments have actually not been answered so fa. And there's been some action taken which is still welcome, because obviously it means a lot that European Union supports russians fight for freedom. However, it's clear that Putin escalated his actions at home and abroad without any major obstacles. So simply what was done was

not enough. And it's important because it brings us to the issue of cost of inaction, if you will. Because there are a lot of people, who say that maybe if we don't do much, we don't irritate Putin, things will like sort of calm down by themselves and there will remain a strategic dialogue on important issues like security or climate. And then somehow we'll find a way out of the current mess. However, if you look at what's happening in reality you see that Putin's aggressive standing at home and abroad is self-reproductory. He will not stop. His idea of fighting for zones of influence maintaining his exclusive zone of influence at home, not allowing anybody to discuss human rights in Russia, zone of influence in the post-soviet space trying to restore control over the nations that broke out of Russia's dominance and have chosen freedom and european integration like Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova and others. You think he will stop

doing that? Look carefully. He's already operating on the soil of the western european countries, the other european member countries well beyond the post-soviet space which Putin have long declared at his desired zone of influence: Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania as other countries. I think we can find traces of his interference everywhere. This will not stop. So I think it is important still even

with dictators like that. I understand as a former government official that it's still important to maintain dialogue on strategic security issues. But point number one: a cost of inaction shall be understood, because dictators like Putin take inaction as a sign of weakness. If you don't do anything reacting to his malicious behavior, well. It means that he can afford

some more. He reads it exactly like this. So resolutions, great resolutions, very much welcomed resolutions, which were adopted on Russia by the European Parliament in September and January not really followed by a serious comprehensive action on containing Putin by the European Council, European commission. That is a sign that all this will remain just words, just another expression of concern by Europe. So he can proceed. So we saw that happening in

the past few months. So I think it's important like I would quote Tolkien's "Lord of the rings". I know some people want to you know pass a softer passage, not really encouraging Putin for more aggressive action. But the quote is open, war is upon you whether

you would risk it or not. So essentially half a year which passed since our last discussion at this committee in November, I think is really very telling. We predicted the escalation. Escalation happened and inaction on part of the democratic world insufficient containment measures have played a great part. So I think this point should be specifically analyzed. And I wanted to ask and also a couple of words about dialogue. Dialogue is still important: We live in one world, we perfectly understand that. And the russian opposition also. we're not only busy with our issues at home. We

also want together with you to build a better prosperous democratic world. So we understand that global issues with Putin's participation need to be addressed. Arms control, security, nonproliferation, climate, whatever. But i think also from a reasonable point of view it shall be understood that there should be limits for dialogue if your counterpart behaves like that. So there should be certain red lines, there should be certain rules in the room because uh i don't know what else, what other threshold Putin should cross.He is already running around not only Russia but Europe killing people at will. Uh

he's amassing troops at the borders of our neighbors uh risking another aggression and open war. He's blowing up uh arms deposed on the territory of European Union killing people. I don't know what what else should he do uh so that calls for dialogue shall be like put into a conditionality format. Yes,we want to have a dialogue with Putin but we also should not let ourselves be fooled uh by his uh tricky behavior. Just an example - climate. Putin is now to restore his international image have switched to a very sweet rhetoric on climate but take a look at what Russia is really doing: it is adopting government documents and plans to actually increase, significantly increase co2 emissions. Just take a look at the plans that they have recently adopted. That means he is cheating. That means that those who call

for dialogue should i think take a couple of more pills of realism and really understand what's going on on the ground. I will not take any any more of your time but i'll finish with this uh several points: first - you need to understand how important it is uh for us and also for Putin that Europe, united Europe is a very successful democratic project. You uh have a lot of strength, you are a very important bright positive example for people in Russia who fight for our freedom. Do not underestimate yourselves, act as a real standard bearer of democratic values in the world and second - there is a cost of inaction. You can't behave

like you know we don't do...we put this...uh delay this into you know some far away corner and the problem will go away by itself. No, there is a price for inaction: more inaction means Putin will do more escalation domestically and abroad. And dialogue is important but dialogue should also be realistic and have its limits. Thank you so much. Thank you, mr. Milov and again good to have you in our Foreign Affairs Committee meeting. We now come to our second

speaker and we will connect with Washington D.C. with ambassador Daniel Fried who many of us of course know and who many of us have enjoyed in a number of different formats and events. Ambassador Fried is a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council as well as a member of the board of directors of the U.S National Endowment for Democracy and he is also a visiting professor at Warsaw University. Mr Fried knows Europe very well he was american ambassador to Poland an Assistant Secretary of State for Europe from 2005 to 2009. I have asked him to speak about the EU policy

towards Russia from an american perspective and how to make it more effective through transatlantic cooperation. Dear ambassador, dear Dan, welcome to the Foreign Affairs Committee, the floor is yours. Please press the speak button. ...welcome the chance to testify before the Committee and it is a pleasure to be on a panel um with among others Vladimir Milov with whom i am in substantial agreement. Our topic is the EU's long-term strategy toward Russia but i will discuss also what a common and consistent EU, US and UK long-term strategy should be. Because if we - Europe and the United States - don't forge a common approach we're all apt to end up worse. It's a good time for such a discussion because at last the U.S President likes Europe and wants to work with it. And

also has long experience with Russia as does his senior national security team. What are we dealing with in Putin's Russia? Russia is a stagnating authoritarian kleptocracy led by a president for life who started wars against his neighbors, assassinates opponents inside and outside of Russia, interferes in european and U.S elections, engages in lethal sabotage inside european countries like Czechia and acts as an anti-democratic and anti-US spoiler at every opportunity. Putin expects the west to grant Russia a free hand in what it claims is its half of europe and to look the other way when the kremlin seeks to deprive its former neighbors and its own citizens of the right to chart their own future. This reflects a deeper dilemma in Russia. Its political

authoritarianism at home brings economic stagnation that in turn generates insecurity including a lack of confidence in Russia's ability to attract willing allies. Under Putin like soviet leaders Russia's position in its region and even the world therefore relies on subversion, corruption, disinformation, intimidation and sometimes violence to subordinate sovereign states to its will. The Kremlin's aggression abroad comes from its repression at home. This has been

on display in recent weeks - a military buildup against Ukraine accompanied by threatening rhetoric, attempted intimidation against Czechia after that country protested sabotage by russian security services that killed czech citizens and actions against Bulgaria and other EU member states. Hostile posturing against the EU including foreign minister Lavrov's ambush of high representative Borrell in Moscow and visa sanctions against senior EU officials including Parliament President Sassoli and commissioner Jourova and other officials from EU member states. Why? Because Europe took exception to Kremlin attempts to murder a dissident Alexis Navalny and other forms of internal repression. We have seen a tightening of Kremlin repression at home. And Europe and the United States must expect continued difficulties with the Kremlin in the short term at least. We should not however assume that current tensions with the Kremlin are the only possible state of relations. In my view our policy toward Russia must contend with difficulties

now with the aim of a better state of relations that is possible in the future what do we do? Well, let's start with where we are in setting a policy framework and let's consider the baseline EU policy toward Russia which i'll define as the five guiding principles from March 2016. To recall, these include full implementation of the Minsk Agreements. In other words Russia giving back to Ukrainian sovereign control the Donbas, closer ties with Russia's with Russia's former Soviet neighbors, strengthening EU resilience to Russian threats, selective engagement with Russia on certain issues like counter-terrorism and support for people-to-people contacts. Now that's not a bad framework. It acknowledges the centrality of Kremlin aggression against Ukraine. It implicitly rejects condominium with Putin that would give him a sphere of domination over the former Soviet Union and it acknowledges the existence of Russian threats. In that context selective engagement with the Kremlin on certain issues is a sound approach as Vladimir Milov said. It's certainly a sounder practice than ella attempts to elevate cooperation

with Russia to the paramount place. Support for people-to-people contact sounds banal but it isn't. As we found before 1989, exchanges outreach all kinds of such initiatives have a long-term act to impact if it grows. Putin seeks to curtail them for that reason. Now this framework could be strengthened by explicit recognition of the importance of democracy in Russia. To answer those who object that Europe and the United States should not speak of Russian internal developments. I would say that we should frame this in terms of

democratic obligations that Russia has already accepted for itself. For example in the Charter of Paris that helped end the cold war. Now I understand that the existing framework is not the whole story and I understand that there are in Europe a range of views about Russia, there are inconsistencies, there are attempts in some circles in Europe and in the United States to act as if Putin is a victim or misunderstood. My point however is that the EU policy framework for Russia is a good enough foundation on which we can build and on which the EU is building with its new strategy given the Kremlin's current aggressive stance For its part the Biden administration has made a solid start in framing up a sustainable Russia policy consistent with the european policy. Its elements include no reset and no escalation if Putin makes that possible. Cooperation

where possible - as in arms control, climate change, maybe the Arctic. Push back against aggression that already includes the Biden administration sanctions package and executive order of april 15th and the coordinated U.S. government response to Russia's military buildup against Ukraine. if Putin wanted to determine whether the new U.S. administration was asleep or disorganized he got his answer - it isn't. Secretary of state Tony Blinken's May trip to Ukraine just last week showed welcome support for that country. The final element is to offer dialogue on but on our terms. The offer of a meeting between

Biden and Putin is a good tactic. It gives the Аmericans flexibility without attempting to defend such a meeting in non-credible terms. The frankness of President Biden's language about Putin makes a meeting possible. Not surprising that the team has made a good start: President Biden's Secretary Blinken, Torrea Newland all have extensive experience with Russia and with Central and Eastern Europe. They do not see Ukraine or Poland or the Baltics through a russian perspective. Now what's the way ahead? Sadly the most important element of a transatlantic approach to Russia will be to resist Kremlin aggression. To support Ukraine while pushing Ukraine on its own domestic transformation

we need to maintain and strengthen NATO deployments and i welcome President Biden's participation in the Bucharest hosted NATO, a Bucharest...nine meeting of NATO leaders happening today. We need to up our game on counter disinformation, we need to reduce Kremlin energy leverage over Europe, we need to reduce the scope for corrupt flows of russian money and increase transparency. No more hidden or disguised investments. And please can we get...consider curtailing the practice of russian...russians buying western citizenship? Putin may have backed off his threat to launch a new offense military offensive against Ukraine but such aggression or aggression in other forms may continue and intensify. We must be ready. And we must let the Kremlin know that we are ready to respond to and hopefully thereby deter further russian aggression. There are by the way plenty of sanctions options should Putin's aggression continue: sectoral sanctions in the financial and energy areas and individual sanctions against those who responsible for aggression and Putin's circle of cronies.

The U.S. and EU together started imposing sanctions against Putin's cronies and agents in 2014. We should be prepared to escalate sanctions if Putin's aggression continues. We also need to be prepared to remove sanctions for example if we reach a settlement that restores the Donbass to uUkrainian sovereignty. To those who reject sanctions as confrontational i would point out that Putin is the aggressor. We are under no obligation to make it easy for

Putin to make or place money in the west while he attacks the west. And we should in any case increase restrictions on money laundering and other forms of corruption. Do sanctions work? Sanctions have diminished Russia's economic growth and therefore may have limited the Kremlin's resources from malign behavior. A second pillar of the Biden...emerging Biden-Russia strategy is to cooperate with Russia where possible. We should not hesitate to do so. The

Biden administration made an early wise decision to extend the new start strategic arms control treaty. Other forms of cooperation are possible but we should keep our expectations under control. A third pillar is to seek to stabilize the relationship: military-to-military dialogue from top to bottom. A fourth pillar is long-term investment in better relations with Russia and with russian society as a whole and the russian people. Opportunities have shrunk

and they may vanish if Putin has his way. But let's be creative, let's find ways to reach out and support free media and digital communities in Russia. Human rights are not a peripheral luxury. Developments inside Russia are important. No, I'm not talking about regime change but i'm not talking about indifference. Above all we should not accept

the inevitability of tyranny. So to sum up: what are the do's and don'ts in dealing with Putin's Russia? It's not a creative time yet in our relations with Russia, it's a time for steadiness. So do keep expectations under control. Let's not be extravagant in what we think we can achieve with Putin. Do work together

with Russia where we can but don't bring the Kremlin unrequited gifts, don't make concessions in the name of dialogue unless the Kremlin is doing something to merit it. Don't fall for the fallacy of assuming that we need to buy russian support against China at the cost of our principles or our friends. That's an amateurs fallacy and won't end well. Do keep our powder dry. In other words be prepared...prepared for Putinis adventurism or volunteerism as the soviets used to say. Don't fall for cliches about Russia such as the endless capacity

of russians uh ability to suffer for the sake of the state or that russians were are somehow always authoritarian by nature. That is clea...those are cliches. Let's not short-change the potential for positive change in Russia. Do consider the potential for better times ahead Who in 1982 anticipated Gorbachev? Russian history for decades has been marked by discontinuities not straight line development. We must keep that in mind. Resisting Kremlin aggression now may set the stage for better relations - our goal in the future. A final point: do work together - the United States with Europe and the UK. Putin is looking to divide us, he's looking to pit us against each other. That

is another excellent argument not to do so. We are stronger together, our values, our interests are ultimately interdependent and one and together we can succeed. Thank you mr. chairman for this opportunity. Thank you ambassador, thank you Daniel Fried for this american perspective and now we move on to our third and final panelist and this is mr Nicu Popescu. He is the director of the wider europe program at the European Council on foreign relations and he also served in 2019 as a Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova. mr Popescu's presentation will be about the achievements and also the shortcomings of our EU policy towards Russia and how should the EU shape its relations with Russia in the future. Dear Nicu Popescu, the floor is

yours for 15 minutes. Mr. Popesco, please, press the speak button. Does this work now? Hello! Yes, we can see you, sir. Yes, uh, thank you, it's a pleasure to see... uh, to see you, David and Vladimir, and then, and I will start by saying that, by watching news about relations between the European Union and Russia and developments in Russia, we see, of course, that relations are growing tense almost by the day, recent years have been dominated by negative news of sanctions, diplomatic incidents, and mutual expulsions, tensions and military buildups around Ukraine, cyber-attacks, attributed to Russia, now explosions of weapon depots on European union territory, attributed to Russia, and I think, they have been, you know, pretty depressing, they have been speaking of pretty depressing trends uh both for the security of the European continent and for EU Russia relations. But I would like to also stress, that this is only half of the picture, because if we look at what is reported much less uh on in the news, I would say that in the last decade a bit more the European Union and the West at large with the United States and Canada have actually already been engaged in a pretty systematic and profound strategic accommodation of Russia. If you

go back and reread the speech of Vladimir Putin in Munich in 2016, and you would think about those Russian concerns that he voiced back at the time, and you think of what is happening today, you would probably discover, that most of the Russian concerns from 10-14 years ago have already been de facto addressed, DE FACTO NATO's enlargement to Ukraine and Georgia has been frozen, it de facto stopped, the Western policies of humanitarian interventions have again stopped, a decade ago already, and that was another source of major Russian irritation, a decade or more ago. If you look at what Western leaders and the way they talk about domestic developments in Russia when you would see that they are much less critical and much less frequently raising concerns about democratic developments than when even you know 20 years ago president Shurak would do. We have seen the recent spike in criticism toward towards Russia because of the Navalny affairs but actually in the last decade Western leaders have been criticizing less and less Russia for the state of its domestic politics. We see North Stream 2 being built. Russia was readmitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe two years ago. We have seen in the last decade or so six reset offers

uh given and, you know, offered to Russia. And Russia chose not to pick up fundamentally none of them and those resettle offers. I will very briefly list with this: Clinton reset, Meseberg, the partnership for modernization with selective engagement offer from the five principles with post-brexon diplomacy and bureau's recent trip to Moscow. And we see quite a lot of selective engagement happening in the last few years: uh, Russian gas exports to the European Union have been beating historical records, they were around 200 billion cubic meters and that's more than ever before in history. Uh and there are many things that uh you know could be uh mentioned to show that EU-Russia cooperations...uh cooperation

continues. So i would say that in the last decade this profound strategic accommodation of russian interests has not been matched either by Russia being more reassured about the west either by Russia being more positive about the west and to a large extent Russia has not uh paid in kind uh these multiple trends through which the European Union and NATO and the United States have been accommodating russian strategic concerns. In recent years we of course have the situation on the war in Ukraine including the latest military build-up, we have highly disruptive russian actions... uh highly disruptive for the European Union interest in Libya, in Syria in the Central African Republic and even in the Balkans we have seen more and more russian policies designed to weaken the European Union especially in Serbia and Bosnia. Uh if we try to understand where we are in terms of European Union you know the effectiveness of what the European Union has been trying to do vis-a-vis Russia in recent years then i would again support what Dan uh has mentioned and that is the fact that uh the sanctions policy...they of course have had several positive effects for the European Union they of course have not been very good for EU-Russia dialogue but they nonetheless helped Europe to achieve several important european interests. And

the first and most important i would say is the fact that partly thanks to sanctions i think the degree of russian military presence and intervention into ukraine in 2014-15 has been much smaller than if there were no european sanctions and partly because of that the war zone in Ukraine is also smaller and the war has been shorter. European sanctions and american sanctions of course on Russia had also effects on Russia's military modernization program both on a tactical level in making it more complicated for Russia to modernize by using specific technologies but also if you look at... (voice is missing) defending collective effect of sessions but sanctions have created...um have created a situation where Russia has been much more careful about the way it spends money - be it uh on military modernization, be it in foreign policy or in other domains. Uh a small footnote on the foreign policy elements of...of...uh of Russia's access to cash: if you look actually at russian um national um if you look at Russia's you know policy of saving money you would see that in recent years the national wealth fund has been increasing, so on that level one could not say that Russia significantly suffered or you know had short-term negative effects for its economy that would make it change its policy. But at the same time i do notice uh some important areas where Russia

has been saving and reducing the costs of its foreign policy and we have also...we have seen that in across multiple post-soviet states where Russia has been offering less and less subsidies to countries - be it to Belarus and Lukashenko in in recent years there was not a lot of financial generosity when it comes to loans or gas prices, to President Yanukovych when he was in Ukraine and generally we have seen Russia trying to save funds from large-scale investments in partner countries and has there has been a trend of trying up trying to save funds for potentially rainy domestic days uh and to me this also suggests that Russia is just you know in the process of accumulating something of a war chest uh for its uh...(voice is missing) with west that the russian mind might last quite a long time - possibly one or two decades or more ...we know being...(voice is missing) ...good and... (voice is missing) Nico Popescu, I'm sorry, that we have lost you, you're no longer connected. Could somebody from the services try to phone Mr. Popescu or send him an email or something...

Please, press the speak button, sir. So, dear Mr. Popesky, I'm very sorry, but unfortunately we can no longer hear or see you... um, I would suggest, that we move on and I now give the floor to the members according to the speakers list, but first of all, let me thank all three of our panelists uh for their interventions that was very interesting and very helpful. Colleagues, we now have about 20 minutes time

for our interventions, and then I would like to conclude with our panelists with their statements referring to what each of us has said, so I will have to be very strict on speaking time, it's one and a half minutes each, please, be precise, and I have to be very strict, I'm sorry. I first give the floor to the chair of our standing delegation with the Russian Federation, Ryszard Czarnecki. Thank you, Chair. Dear Chairman, dear colleagues, dear speakers, the EU reactions to the Russian 2014 annexation of the Crimea peninsula and the beginning of its support to the Donbass rebels or a quick quick and preparation preparation then your five guiding principles and on how to interact with Russia were appropriate.

The respect of this principle and the renewal of the sanctions over the years have been a success for the EU external policy. New challenges emerging from Russia like the construction of the bridge over the current strait, the unacceptable behavior of the Asov sea and disrespect of fundamental rights often implemented when outside Russia have been met with new types of use sanctions including the global human rights sanctioned regime. My slight question to the guest speaker would be what other measures would you propose to deal with an increasingly threatening Russia? Would personal sanction to president Putin's inner circle of political economic elite make the trick as the Russian true opposition asked us to adopt? And finally also or would such sanction across Russian red lines that may trigger indigenous confrontations? Thank you, Sir. Thank you, richard Czarnecki. And now I give the floor to our standing rapporteur

on Russia, Andreas Kubilius. Well, thanks a lot, Mr. Chairman and dear dear colleagues. Vladimir, Dan, Nico, really thanks a lot for your for your presence and your statements despite maybe a Kremlin attempts, you know, to use cyber attacks against this very important hearing. Kremlin really is a major security threat for the whole world and especially for you, both externally and internally. Push back, contain and engage with I would call pro-democratic society - that should be our strategy towards Russia. Democracy in Russia would be the best answer to the most important question how to diminish threats of Russia which we see now. But there is the biggest challenge in some way connected with uh what Vladimir Milov

described "EU in action". Now, that was very precise description. Kremlin is using all the propaganda and tries to convince everybody in the West that democracy is not possible in Russia. Because if democracy is not possible, then the only way for the West is to accommodate to Putin's Russia. That is the hope of Putin. It is very clear that among us there are some who still do not believe that democracy in Russia is possible. Of course we need to keep our expectations

rational but when we are looking to the future of Russia we need to have very clear answer - do we believe in democracy or we are accommodating. My question to speakers. What would be your answer to those between us who still do not believe that democracy is possible in Russia. Thank you, Andreas. And now we come to the representatives of the groups and we kick off with Michael Gahler for the EPP (European People's Party). Yes, thank you very much. I think the dialogue options have been mentioned, arms control, the JCPOA, perhaps on the climate issues.

Although there's question mark with regard to Russia's contribution in this regard. The question is how far i would say we can coordinate our action with the U.S.? I think that would be advisable on individual sanctions. Do you mr. Popescu, mr. Fried see the possibility and willingness to...to really coordinate also on the individual persons in this regard? When when it comes to reducing the energy dependence our american friends have they not recently bought a lot of oil from Russia in comparison to earlier time, so i hear the the points with regard to Europe and i'm an outspoken critic of North Stream too, that's not a doubt, but then these actions should be simultaneous in in getting there also for our american friends. And how far can we really assess uh what Putin's intentions are ahead of the duma elections and thereafter? Is it a dependence on how he will react on the outcome? I mean he knows how the real opinion is. Um and can we really properly react also on...on an arm

show of force as we have seen with Ukraine very recently? Do we have...should we show our uh instruments that we have already now and not leave him in the unclear? Thank you. Thank you. Tonino Picula for the S & D (Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats). Thank you chairman and thanks to all panelists. Yes, it's easy to conclude that our relations with Russia are at a very low point, President of this house is persona non grata in Russia together with the EU Commissioner. We see the latest warring news on the death of doctors who treated Alexey Navalny. These attacks

illustrate the shrinking space for democracy, rule of law and fundamental freedoms while human rights situation in Russia is deteriorating on an unprecedented scale. Illegal activities in Czech Republic are a stark reminder of how far does Russia interference go. I welcome the hearing today as we have to adopt a new substantial and comprehensive strategy towards Russia without a delay. We should not keep falling into political traps further narrowing space for our political actions but rather strengthen our common foreign and security policy, energy over dependence, divergent policies of the member states, direct interference in political processes and Russia's very active role in this information campaigns should be on our to-do list. Prevailing particular interests are only a great opportunity for Russia to impose further leverage. Therefore we should re-examine the added value of the ongoing policies and projects that undermine strategic autonomy of the European Union as a whole. In our view leadership comes with responsibility and we obviously don't observe

such responsible global leadership from Russia for the moment, quite a contrary. My question to panelists: how can we make the best use of transatlantic cooperation both to contain Russia's malign actions more effectively as well as to anchor Russia more firmly and narrowly in multilateral institutions and constructive cooperation? Thank you. Thank you. Hilde Vautmans please. madam Vautmans, please...Thank you very much sir and thank you very much uh colleagues. Unfortunately over the past weeks we saw that Russia's responsible behavior continued. We have repeatedly called on russian leaders to respect the country's own international commitments and its constitution which guaranteed freedom of speech. And what was the reaction? Further confrontational

behavior, no even sanctions against the President, like other colleagues said, President of our Parliament and other eu leaders. We cannot allow such attempts to morganize the EU institutions and through this to silence and divide us. We are of course interested to have stable relations with Russia. It's our biggest neighbor. We continue to trade and we have to deal with Russia to address the challenges such as climate change or arms control. We should never be naive about it and we should say clearly that relations will not improve if the Kremlin continues on this path. Today we discuss a long-term...long-term strategy towards Russia. i think it's clear to everybody that relations

are unlikely to improve very soon unfortunately. So we need to be steadfast in the defense of our values, our security and our interest to continue to stand up for international law, for democracy and human rights. Will you strengthen our own resilience and that of our partner to deal with and deter Russian's unfriendly behavior. The EU recently started to use the European Magnitsky Act which I welcome but need to further strengthen such tools and to extend our sanctioned regimes to deal with corruptions thinking about the long term. It's my vision. Really should invest in the future of our relations to the Russian people because I'm very very worried about a whole generation of young russians grow up with anti-european feelings. So for me

that's really important that we can open the relationship with Russia, and that we don't build up all generations of russian with anti-europeans. Thank you very much! Thank you, for the id group Jack Madison. Thank you so much, Mr. Chair, and thank you for all the speakers, also I have only a few questions. First of all about the energy policy with Russia. The official position of the German government is that it's only economic relation and there is nothing to do with the politics, but of course in my opinion it's a very weak argument, because it can not never be energy cooperation without politics. It's always

with the politics. With a former president of the US Mr. Trump there was a very clear position, they made sanctions against the companies, who built it.. who tried to build up the Nord Stream 2. What is the position now for Mr. Biden? Are they going forward with

the sanctions or very hard line against the Nord Stream 2? Same question for Mr. Milov as a former temporary minister of energy in Russia about 20 years ago. What is your position in North Stream too. What will be like to outcome, if there will be like harder policy from the US in cooperation with the EU? The second thing what I would like to mention is that sometimes the politicians in the Western Europe are trying to hold apart the government of Russia from the ordinary people of Russia, I would like to remind that, okay, there can be also like the fake numbers, but still there's a huge support, unfortunately, to the Russian government, and if I even saw like thousands of people yesterday in in Tallinn, where they are going to celebrate so-called victory for the second world war, I don't have really big hope that the russian ordinary people will come closer to the EU or the US. So the question is that how you receive policy actions from the new president of the US Mr. Biden, and I hope it will outcome of the North Stream too. Thank you so much! Thank you, I now give the floor to Sergey

Lagodinsky from Greens. Thank you very much, and my solidarity with uh um our guests and especially with uh guests from Russia who are subjected to unjustifiable and terrible persecution. I wanted to emphasize that of course our position should remain that people to people and support for civil society is the cornerstone of our relationship. Yet we need to spell out what our strategy actually go uh means beyond that and uh my concern and this is a question maybe to Dan.

Is the danger of a promise what I've been seeing here is that uh precisely what what Mr. Milov mentioned that the parliament has had very ambitious plans and other institutions of the EU do not follow up on them. So the question is how to limit the danger and the damage of over-promising when we want to be ambitious but we need to be realistic in what we can do? Number two also to Dan. I think that

the transatlantic coordination is the absolute necessity now but the problem is that for example with sanctions what I'm seeing is that the flexibility of the European Union in imposing sanctions is much lower than that of the Europe or the United States because we are over bureaucratized et cetera et cetera. How should we go about that? I think we should reform the EU foreign policy area but this is a long-term goal so what do we do before that? And the two other points - anti-corruption and uh sharing and working together on technological standards internationally and globally this is something that i think is important also to to see um what are the chances there in cooperating regarding technological standards vis-a-vis regimes like Russia or China. Thank you very much, Sergey Lagodinsky. And now for the ECR group I give the floor to our colleague Asita Kanku. Thank you very much, Chair. Um Moscow's behavior demands a response from the EU, not just wars but actions. Unfortunately unfortunately until now we've seen a lot of wars and little action. There is a common thread in all of Putin's activities. Navalny's

detention, the conflict in Ukraine and other frozen conflicts like Georgia, disinformation and election meddling, cyber attacks deploying chemical weapons in the UK and attack on an ammunition warehouse in Czechia. There are all parts of Putin's campaign to protect his corrupt regime and destabilize and divide the free world. President Biden may have handled his first major test on Russia but the EU failed, yet again. Our foreign ministers use wars when actions are

demanded. Our high representative spread his own disinformation about Russian troops in Ukraine. The time has come for us to stand up to Putin to rethink our strategic approach to North Stream 2, for example, to target Putin's cronies and their illicit firms, and to show solidarity with Czechia by imposing further sanctions. Appeasement only never works, we need a more realistic approach. My questions

to the panel are the following Putin's response to strength how do you believe the EU should show its own strength, what do you believe needs to be adjusted in the use diplomacy with Russia? Is there still the danger that although the EU has adopted the european Magnitsky act that member states will still be hesitant to use it, and how do we overcome this and, finally, what more do you believe the EU should be doing to create an effective and experienced sanctions policy? Thank you! Thank you, director Cancu, and now I get the floor to Mick Wallace for the left. Thank you very much, David. After reading the draft report on the direction of EU-Russia relations i can only come to the conclusion that there are elements in the European Parliament that do not want any relations between the EU and Russia and that they don't believe in diplomacy or peace. How can the European Parliament be taken seriously when it issues resolutions and reports of this nature is pure escalation and belligerence full of unfounded assumptions and divorce from reality. And some of it like the passages on sanctions is calling for the violation of international law. The U.N principle

of non-interference in the affairs of another sovereign country is completely abandoned. The document calls for setting up propaganda outlets inside Russia. He's also setting up for getting ready for calling Russia's next elections fraudulent. It wants a democratic transformation of Russia. This is like a regime-changed document. We should have sane relations, facts-based relations, respectful relations with our neighbors. My questions, ambassador: you

spoke about russian interference but the Atlantic Council and the National Endowment for Democracy engaged in propaganda to further U.S.interests. Is that not U.S. interference? Secondly: you say the EU should resist...resist russian aggression. But, ambassador, the U.S and NATO have been encroaching on russian borders for years now despite the promise by Gorbachev...to Gorbachev. How can you say that Russia are more aggressive than the U.S.? Russia are not encroaching on the borders of the U.S. And lastly: would

you not agree that U.S efforts to drive a wedge between the EU and Russia and China is not just an effort to isolate Russia and China but an effort to make the EU more dependent on the U.S.? Thanks. Thank you ... Martin Gyongyoshi. Thank you, Martin Gyongyoshi. Listen to the US position put forward by Daniel Freed. It is crystal clear. Nonetheless, when I look at the three-pronged strategy of the EU, I have some serious doubts and some serious questions, especially when we are talking about pushing back where we see a threat. I don't see who

is going to define where the red line is. We say in the in the third element of this strategy we say engage with Russia in areas where we have an interest to do so. Who on earth is going to define that? Is the Nordstream or is the Paks II nuclear power plant project is that the interest of the European Union, or is that just the mere interest of a single member state? So I'm curious to know who in the EU strategy defines the red lines and the interests? On a more practical note, recently the foundation of Mr. Navalny has been classified as a terrorist organization. All the supporters of his foundation are intimidated, discouraged, kept away from practicing their basic human rights. Recently, a splinter web portal of the very popular Russian website Lenta, a website called Meduza has been expelled from Russia. It is currently operating from the territory of the EU, from Riga, from Latvia and it has been classified as a foreign agent stigmatizing its sponsors, its readers ,its journalists alike. If you compare that with the NGOs operating

in Hungary at the moment under the Orban regime, it is quite a familiar method. What can the EU do to protect those that uphold its values in Russia and within the EU. Thank you. Colleagues, I will conclude our round of remarks by our MPs at five minutes past three because I want to give our panelists at least some time to respond. So let's see how far we can get. I have six more speakers. The first one is Sandra Carnier. So then we move on to Bernard Getter and he's in the room so he can't be cut off. Thank you chair. My first question is to an ambassador. I would like to ask of him what

he thinks president Putin hopes of his upcoming summit with president Biden? We all noted that instead of refusing this meeting he accepted it with notable speed indeed. Iin your opinion why was that? Why? What is he hoping of the meeting? Second question to ambassador Fried and to Mr. Milov is the EU in you your eyes and the US too, would it they have an interest today in addressing themselves directly above Putin's head to the Russian population to propose to them coexistence and cooperation that we all are hoping to achieve with Russia? Thank you to both of you. Thank you. Thank you chair, the speakers. Mentioned above all that because of the massive human rights violations in Russia and because of the annex of Crimea and Eastern Ukraine against international law that the escalation, we need to engage in escalation towards Russia. But the question is what way out is there, out of this escalation

strategy and what is the end point of this escalation? What is the end point if we continue down the road of escalation? The site newspaper said that that would there wouldn't be any moral obligation anywhere to keep peace with Russia so what's the end point? I think in the EU we need to consider, to what extent we need to consider Russia's security interests and I have a big concern that because of the NATO eastern expansion and because of the amassing of troops of Russia at the Eastern European borders that through technical errors, through errors, then we might end up with military escalations in these areas where NATO and russian troops are getting closer and closer together if we want to secure peace in Europe. Then we need to consider very closely how we really get out of this spiral of escalation to maintain peace in Europe that can only be secured together with Europe working together with Europe not just against them. It's five minutes past free i'm sorry I will have to close our speakers list now and we go back to our panelists and we begin now first with Mr. Popescu who was kicked out of his connection. Let's see if you can reconnect now and it's five minutes maximum. I hope this works. Thank you very much. I apologize but our technologies don't keep. Anyway. So, first of all, I would like to you know make

one historical point. Gorbachev himself said that he did not request and of course he did not receive any promises that NATO will not enlarge. So this story is fake. There is no better source to me than Gorbachev and there was no such promise not to enlarge NATO according to Gorbachev. Two, whether European Union human rights language on events

in Russia serves any purpose probably this will not be enough and will not change the dynamic of the Russian political system, but is incredibly important for maintaining at least a minimal degree of, perhaps if not security but at least, it limits the danger to which some people are exposed. And of course Vladimir is here and he can tell us more but without international attention to the human rights situation in Russia, things would probably be worse. Climate change, very often climate change is seen as a potential platform on which the EU and Russia could engage in deeper selective engagement. And I think there is a degree of potential for that. But we should also be aware that probably

before it will lead to more selective engagement, it will probably lead to more tensions. In Russia there is more awareness of climate change issues than five or ten years ago but at the same time in Russia there is a fear that the European dynamic to boost climate change policies, the carbon adjustment mechanism will hit Russian interest in a pretty aggressive manner, so it is quite likely that the pursuit of European goals regarding climate change might also become soon enough another source of tension between the EU and Russia and we should not only see climate change as offering us a potential for selective engagement. And then the question regarding the escalation strategy in relations with Moscow. I already mentioned but if you look at what the european union and the united states have been doing in the last decade. that has mostly been a de-escalation strategy. george bush was much

more ambitious than assertive vis-a-vis russia. Than Barack Obama, than Donald Trump and to my mind than Joseph Biden today. So it's already the third US president that has been speaking of human rights issues in Russia, that has been not pushing for NATO enlargement to Georgia and Ukraine, and doing many more things to accommodate Russian strategic interests and concerns, including in Eastern Europe. And the problem I think the European Union

has, and the United States, is that this strategic accommodation of Russia has not helped improve relations. So what is the way forward? I think the way forward is in a sense the way forward in strengthening Europe and that means of course more solidarity even on issues like mutual coordination of diplomatic expulsions, whenever the Europeans act together, they limit the degree of assertiveness of other powers vis-a-vis the European Union and that's not only about Russia that can also be about Turkey, about China, about Iran and many other countries. The second element, I think it's important for Europe, for the European Union to consolidate its own security capacities and stick to the need to face and to maintain defense spending at a level that makes Europe respected and influential in its in security in the European neighborhood. And with COVID that's far from being guaranteed and I would say that it's important for the European Union to start developing security partnerships with selected neighbors in the Eastern partnership. Some of them being also in the Western Balkans.

And it's important for the European Union to build up a network of proto alliances, of partnerships on security, on defense, on intelligence issues with countries like Serbia, which is a candidate country, with countries like Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine but also in the Middle East there are several other partners. Only a more influential Europe will be taken more seriously by Russia but also by other powers. And I will stop here, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Lekou Popescu. Dan Freed, please. Your comments, five minutes. There are a number of interesting questions. I will try to address as many as I can. And I will be brief and terse, forgive me. From my old friend Richard Charnetsky, we should go after Putin's circle of cronies. The United

States and Europe started doing so in 2014. We ought to consider doing so again. In sanctions policy, there has been a debate and continues to be a debate as to whether we should focus on individual sanctions or sectoral sanctions. This is a serious discussion. The United States and Europe have done both. There is considerable room for escalation should

Putin's aggression increase and we need to coordinate with each other and discuss this with the Russian, with Russians whom we respect and trust. Is democracy possible in Russia? Yes, I do not and have never accepted the view that somehow Russia is inevitably determined to be authoritarian. This is a cliche about Russia. It used to be applied to Germany. It used to be applied to Japan. It used to be applied to Catholic countries in Europe. This is prejudice back from the 19th century. Enough. There is a history of Russian democratic and liberal movements. It has been a minority

history but I cannot look at Vladimir Milov and Vladimir Karamurza and say that they do not represent Russia. They in fact represent a long-standing Russian tradition of liberalism. Yeltsin got close. The next attempt may succeed. The question of Nordstream Two. First of all, the problem is not buying Russian gas or the US buying Russian oil. The problem

with Nordstream Two is that it divides Europe into preferred customers like Germany who that can be supplied directly by Nordstream Two and less favored customers like the Central European members of NATO and Ukraine who then could be cut off by use of Nordstream Two and curtailment of other pipelines that in a nutshell is the problem of Nordstream Two. What is the Biden administration prepared to do about it? Well, I don't know but they start with the premise that Nordstream Two is a bad idea. They're right. They also believe as far as iI can tell that sanctions to kill it are an expensive way to kill it. Are there ways to mitigate the risks of Nordstream Two to undermine Putin's attempt to use it as a strategic lever against Europe? Is this possible? Possibly I have some sympathy for recent German calls for a moratorium on US sanctions and a moratorium on further construction of Nordstream Two to give us all time to think and come up with potential solutions. So Nordstream Two is a bad idea. I don't know where the Biden administration will come out but I hope that we should remember

that Germany is not the problem, Putin is the problem. The German government made a mistake in Nordstrom Two but we ought to work with Germany to try to help get out of it. With respect of course. The United States never promised not to enlarge NATO. Mr Papette, Minister Popescu is absolutely right. And secondly I failed to see why we should have perpetuated the division and the division of Europe after the cold war had ended and reconsigned the Baltic States or Central Europe to a grave zone. Putin wants to control the former Soviet sphere of domination. That is not a reason for us to allow him. Do these people 100 million

Europeans or 140 million Europeans if you include Ukraine which is a European country do they have the right to determine their own future? What does it mean to to work directly with the Russian people and it means that as with all countries we need to conduct diplomacy not just with governments but we need to reach out to societies. That is not interference that is the way civilized countries behave. I see no reason to respect the authoritarian claim that a free press is a threat at home and free exchange of ideas across borders is somehow interference. Idon't believe that never has. I applaud final point I applaud the high degree of consensus. I'm sensing from the European parliamentarians on the need for a balanced sustainable and stronger policy of reducing, of resisting Putin's aggression while cooperating with Russia in areas where it is possible to do so. This is something we can build on working together. And I thank

you for the opportunity. Thank you Dan Fried for your statement. And finally Mr. Milov for five minutes. Thank you. Thank you so much Mr. Chairman and members of the European Parliament for this thoughtful discussion. I'll just briefly run through some questions which were asked. First, I wanted to comment on this sovereign country part that Russia is a sovereign country. It is not. We should clearly understand that modern day Russia

is not a sovereign country. It is occupied by mafia which was never elected by anyone. Eight out of 13 permanent members of the National Security Council, the body which effectively determines domestic and foreign policy, as you can see on the Kremlin's website, they have a weekly meetings where they decide everything. Eight out of 13 members were never elected to public post by nobody. The remaining five were elected sometime like 20 years ago last

time and more or less free and fair election but that was a different era back then. So is, sovereignty means power of the people. When the population of the country actually runs the country and determines its policy. None of that is happening in modern day Russia. Before the State Duma elections that are scheduled for September all of the opposition has been arrested or kicked out or declared extremists so they cannot participate. Is that a sovereign country? It doesn't occur to me so. So that's an important point which

should be also bear in mind when we discuss this regime change rhetoric when, which is parroting what the Kremlin propaganda is saying, and another important issue is Nordstream Two, which is a matter of heated debate always in these chambers. Very simple, what Nordstream Two does it only adds some extreme excessive surplus capacity to the system of Russian pipelines exporting the gas to Europe. If Nordstream Two is never built, you Europeans will still have plenty of ability to get Russian gas imported. It's still available with or without Nordstream Two. Nordstream Two will just add extreme excessive capacity at our expense at the expense of a Russi

2021-06-13 06:48

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