"We are far removed from the level of relationship that we called in 2003 "strategic partnership". But I'm hopeful and even confident that in the near future we will still be able to receive strong support of Russian citizens and to bring our relationship to the trajectory of the real strategic partnership. And for Russia and the EU it is a natural need ", - said Mikhail Kasyanov in his welcoming speech to the participants of the international conference"EU and Russian Federation: Attraction and Repulsion, "organized by PDU-RPR-PARNAS and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe ( ALDE).
"Russia was out of the democratic standards", - stated the leader of the ALDE in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt. "But I do not accept paying lip service to a regime that has no respect for its citizens or the Russian Constitution, let alone its own international commitments. We have initiated a process in Helsinki, we work hard for the adoption of resolutions in relation to the Russian authorities to Russia in respect for human rights as well as in other countries that share the European values. Russia - this is not a stand-alone country, not a civilization on its own, "- he said.
Participants in the first session - "EU-Russia relations – strategic partnership or simply interaction of neighbours?" - agreed that about any strategic partnership between Russia and the European Union today, however, hardly exists in practice.
Among the measures that could be taken by the European Union to increase pressure on the Russian authorities, the conference called the adoption of the Magnitsky list by the European Parliament, the creation of the EU fund to support non-profit organizations, the monitoring of the situation with political prisoners in Russia.
Discussing the issue of a visa-free regime, the participants stated that a year had passed since the adoption of the relevant roadmap, but the Russian authorities had made no effort to implement the regulations stated in this document. "The roadmap lays out clear rules that exist within the European Union - Mikhail Kasyanov pointed out. - But for the current Russian authorities the technical standard requirements became political issues. Russian authorities have not done anything to join the visa-free zone."
The second session - "Common economic space" – real interests and obstacles" - discussed the failure by Russian authorities to fulfill their obligations under the WTO. Representatives of the European Parliament and the EU noted that Russia has been a member of the WTO for only a few months, but it has already received numerous complaints.
"Russia has recently joined the WTO, but the Russian authorities do nothing to meet the obligations of membership in the organization, - said Mikhail Kasyanov. - And then, for example, Japanese car manufacturers are preparing claims for direct violation of WTO rules by the Russian authorities."
The conference was attended by MEPs, European and Russian politicians, experts, human rights activists, journalists, public figures - Lyudmila Alekseeva, Sergei Aleksashenko, Lev Gudkov, Yevsei Gurvich, Andrei Zubov, Tamara Morshchakova, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Andrei Nechayev, Boris Nemtsov Christina Oyuladn, Lev Ponomarev, Alexander Podrabinek, Vladimir Ryzhkov, Michael Webb, Natalia Fateev, Lilia Shevtsova, Yevgeny Yasin and others.
From the speech of Mikhail Kasyanov
There is no doubt that the majority of Russians believe their country is a part of Europe, part of the European civilization. Values ??developed by the European civilization, today are called universal (human rights, free elections, separation of powers, an independent judiciary, a free media).
All this is clearly spelled out in our Constitution. And the choices made 20 years ago, the citizens of the country in a national referendum in favor of the adoption of these values ??as a norm of life of state and society, is the basis of trust for all our country's cooperation with other European countries.
I am absolutely sure that without the unity of these values, ??without their daily application in real life, the potential of mutual attraction cannot unfold. We are talking about the real interests of the people and I am confident that the European choice for Russia is the choice for any and all Russian citizens.
Back in 2002-2003, being confident in the correctness of the policy of European integration, we announced the elevation of cooperation with the EU to the level of the highest priority - a strategic partnership. We, together with our colleagues from the EU began to erect the building of a united Europe, we created four spaces of our partnership for the development of our countries on the basis of shared universal values. It is a common economic space, a common space of freedom, security and justice, a common space of external security, common space for research, education and cultural cooperation.
Then in May 2003, at a summit in St. Petersburg, Russia and the EU agreed to establish in the future visa-free travel for their citizens. That's when we found that the ultimate goal of the strategic partnership in the economy will have a common integrated market.
But in 2005, there were repulsive force. President Putin has been consistently strive for complete monopoly of power, has become a major component of the authoritarian way of management. To the outside world, including the EU has changed dramatically and became similar to the ratio of a hostile environment. Aggressiveness and unpredictability in international affairs have become the standard of behavior of the Russian leadership.
A year ago, Russian society began to wake up. Public sentiment has changed dramatically. Most Russians do not want to believe more in the presence of an external enemy and its intention to deprive Russia of its sovereignty. People do not believe in the theory of raising the cultural-historical inevitability of hostility between Russia and Europe. Society again a demand for European values. And the carriers of political vision - the European elections here in Russia is our united party RPR-Parnassus.
After many years of our struggle with the authorities for allowing the party to the election, we with our EU colleagues, of our common European liberal family made by the ECHR against the wishes of the authorities of our state registration and admission to the election. We are grateful to our liberal friends and associates for their consistent support and later RPDU RPR-Parnassus. We greatly appreciate the principled position ALDE in the estimates is happening in Russia and its relations with the EU.
I want to emphasize that a significant impact on changing attitudes in society have proposals and initiatives ALDE in the European Parliament. Principled assessments last parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia, formulated Liberals were supported by almost all political groups, the European Parliament. And liberals coined words in the resolutions of the European Parliament: "to recognize the past in Russia elections as neither free nor fair" caused almost hysterical in the Russian government.
In the European Union today, the big economic problems. The public debt of some EU countries reached 100% of GDP, while Greece has committed to 200%. I want to note that, for us as for the successful integration of all Europeans of the "European Union" is very important. And the possible collapse of Greece and its exit from the euro zone just unacceptable.
It is clear that the general attention to the relations between Russia and the EU and to the massive violations of human rights in our country has been weakened by serious internal burdens in the EU economy. But today we see that the policies in the EU have to wake up. Recently adopted by the Bundestag resolution to fundamental assessments of the situation in Russia is a direct confirmation of this. And our common values ??again start to play a basic role in our relationship.
It must be stressed that the decision in October on the initiative of the ALDE resolution, the European Parliament recommendation to the so-called Magnitsky list was for Russian leaders to simply bolt from the blue. They seem to have been convinced that the European values ??is an empty word, that everything in the world cynically and traded that talk about human rights is simply a tool to be in politics. We want to believe that this recommendation will be heard by European heads of state and government of the EU member states. Individual, and not country-limits for human rights violators are working for the benefit of the country, meet long-term national interests of Russia.
The decision by the U.S. and the EU list Magnitsky - is an extremely important decision, working on the erosion of the power vertical.
We are far removed from the level of relationship that we were called in 2003 "strategic partnership." But I am full of hope and even confidence in the fact that in the near future, we still manage to get strong support rosssiyskih citizens and bring our relationship to the trajectory of a real strategic partnership. And for Russia and the EU is a natural need.