Introduction of a visa-free regime between Russia and European Union should be put into agenda of Swedish presidency in the EU. Such a proposal was put forward by the leader of the YABLOKO party Sergei Mitrokhin at the ELDR Leaders and Ministers meeting which took place in Brussels on Thursday, June 18, 2009, in advance of the European summit.†
УWe would like to propose to our liberal friends and colleagues in Europe to think about joint large-scale European political initiatives Ц from the humanities sphere (for example, transfer to a visa-free regime) to the military-political area (for example, joint Russian-European-US anti-missile defence), Mitrokhin said. -† In our view, liberals have everything for intellectual leadership, Russia-EU relations inclusiveФ.
Sergei Mitrokhin is certain that Russia Ц EU relations should be based on mutual trust and shared values rather than on the present oil and gas trade only. УFirm mutually profitable economic relations are impossible without trust and shared values,Ф he said. According to Mitrokhin, УEuropean liberals have to decide what should lie in the foundation of their relations with Russia Ц either the oil and gas trade or shared values.Ф In addition, the YABLOKO party thinks that Уshared liberal values help in finding mutually profitable economic schemes; whereas the policies rooted in unprincipled pragmatism will finally failФ.
This meeting was the first time that ELDR's leaders have gathered since the European elections and the main focus of the discussions was the election results and the composition of the liberal democrat group in the European parliament.
Prime ministers of Estonia, Denmark, Finland and Ireland, ministers of the EU countries, EU Commissioners, leaders of European liberal parties, including Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, President of the ELDR Party, and Graham Watson, leader of ALDE, the liberal faction of the European Parliament, participated in the meeting.
YABLOKO joined ELDR in 2006.
YABLOKO and the European Liberal Family