No More Niceties: Russia Officially No Longer EU’s ‘Strategic Partner’

Written by | Monday, March 18th, 2019

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) said that Russia would no longer be defined as the EU’s strategic partner if the country continues to violate international law. A new resolution passed by the EU Parliament in Strasbourg earlier this week stipulates that Russia “can no longer be considered a ‘strategic partner’” of the EU and that “the EU cannot envisage a gradual return to ‘business as usual’ until Russia fully implements the Minsk Agreement and restores the territorial integrity of Ukraine”. In reality, however, the EU stopped using the label ‘strategic partner’ as early as in 2014.

MEPs say that as of 2015, there was little progress on the major areas of concerns and new areas of tensions between the EU and Russia have been created. The document further itemizes actions taken by Russia in breach of international law and human rights, calling our Russia’s intervention in Syria and interference in the affairs of Ukraine, Libya and the Central African Republic. The resolution also drew attention to Moscow’s support of anti-EU, rightest and nationalist parties as well as extreme right-wing movements including meddling in national elections. Violations of human rights inside the country were also mentioned.

MEPs say they are “deeply concerned about the links between the Russian government and the extreme right and populist nationalist parties and governments in the EU,” such as in Hungary and call for an “EU-wide mechanism allowing the screening of political parties’ funding,” and measures to be taken “to avoid some parties and movements being used to destabilize the European project from within.”

The statement concludes that “the time for nice and diplomatic language is over” as MEPs see very little room for cooperation as long as Russia continues to occupy Ukraine and attack other EU countries. The resolution also “reiterates that Russia has no right of veto over the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of European nations” and “calls on the Russian authorities to condemn communism and the Soviet regime, and to punish the perpetrators of the crimes and offences committed under that regime.”

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