Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Europe must rise to Russia's pugnacity

1st September 2008

EU leaders must send Russia a stern warning

Europe's leaders must clearly affirm that Russia's disproportionate aggression will be met with serious consequences from the international community, Charles Tannock MEP, Conservative foreign affairs spokesman in the European Parliament, said today ahead of a crucial EU summit.

Dr Tannock is calling for EU leaders to show their support for Georgia's free market democracy by backing NATO membership, increasing aid for reconstruction and pressing ahead with visa facilitation and free trade agreements. In contrast, EU member states - particularly the UK - should review their visa facilitation arrangements for Russian nationals, cut Russia's aid, suspend partnership and cooperation agreement negotiations, and review Russia's G8 membership.

Dr Tannock said:

"Russia's disproportionate aggression against Georgia has overstepped the mark, and the EU must be unequivocal in its response. Russia responds to strength, and unless we take a firm line with the Kremlin now, we may regret it later.

"The EU must now flesh out its proposal for a common external energy security policy in order to reduce overdependence on Russian oil and gas."

"The EU must not forego this opportunity to use all the diplomatic and financial tools at its disposal to assist the reconstruction efforts in Georgia, and to make the Kremlin realise that aggression towards its neighbours will be met with a united response on both sides of the Atlantic."