Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Russia needs "tough love" from the EU, not a cold shoulder

10th May 2007

Conservatives highlight the strategic need to avoid an EU-Russia 'cold peace'

Brussels 10th May -- The 18th May EU-Russia summit must go ahead say the Conservatives, repudiating the call from Graham Watson MEP, Leader of the Liberal Group in the European Parliament, to cancel the summit.

Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative Foreign Affairs Spokesman, said:

"EU-Russia relations ahead of the 18th May summit are at a critical juncture. Trying to divide and rule Europe over energy policy and bullying its neighbours over issues like the meat ban from Poland and the Estonian statue issue is unhelpful.

"Russia must now wake-up to the new geopolitical reality that the "near abroad", where they used to call the shots no longer exists, and it must realise that new member states can now call on the support of an EU and NATO firmly resolved now to protect their sovereignty."

Dr Tannock believes that the EU needs Russia not only as a reliable trading partner for its oil and gas but also for its support in the UN Security Council in containing nuclear proliferation by Iran and North Korea, restarting the Arab-Israeli peace process, finding acceptable solutions to the frozen conflicts from Transnistria and Georgia to Nagorno-Karabakh and containing the despotic regime in Belarus. Russia also must be supported in its bid for WTO membership as it will then be subject to "rules based" trading and a country like Moldova whose wines were recently banned for political reasons will be able to seek redress in the WTO.

He added: "We also need Russia to sign up to an emissions limitation strategy as a signatory of Kyoto as we all face the common perils of global warming and Russia has a large Arctic presence which will also be seriously affected."
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