Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation in Georgia

Delivered in Plenary - 1st September 2008

Mr President

I support democratic Georgia’s right to seek security in the west and I disapprove of Russia’s disproportionate aggression and continued occupation of the country. The EU must increase its aid to Georgia for reconstruction, fast-track an EU free trade agreement and press ahead with visa facilitation. Georgia should also be allowed to go on the path for NATO, eventually for full membership.

We must use this opportunity now, through the EU’s common external energy security policy, to break Moscow’s stranglehold on Europe’s oil and gas supplies. Germany and Italy are both building pipelines in joint ventures with Gazprom.

To balance this, the EU should also support the White Stream pipeline project which will transport gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe through Georgia and Ukraine – both governments supporting this project – thereby circumventing Russia. Targeting Gazprom’s monopoly and Russia’s use of the gas weapon as our long-term response will hit Russia hard.