Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

EU-Russia Summit

Delivered in Plenary - 11th November 2009

Madam President

The ECR Group accepts that Russia is a vital economic partner and a global diplomatic heavyweight, but this position brings with it responsibilities. The first such responsibility is to respect the territorial integrity of its neighbours such as Ukraine and Georgia and abandon the insulting ‘near abroad’ concept.

Russia must also take concrete steps to protect human rights and the rule of law, given the number of unsolved murders of journalists and human rights activists. The Sakharov Prize awarded to the human rights group Memorial shows just how seriously we in this Parliament view this issue.

Russia must also cooperate in the prevention of nuclear proliferation, particularly to Iran, and not sell Iran the S300 missile system to demonstrate solidarity with the west against this dangerous regime.

The rising nostalgia for the Soviet Union and Stalin is also very worrying.

Finally, as winter approaches, Russia cannot be permitted once again to use its virtual monopoly of gas supplies to Europe as a diplomatic weapon. The EU’s commitment to diversification of source and supply under a common external energy security policy must surely strengthen our hand at the negotiating table with Russia.