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European liberals welcome Russia to the European Union

Press Release
February 3, 2010


YABLOKOs leader Sergei Mitrokhin called to the activisation of efforts in the introduction of a visa-free regime between Russia and the European Union at the meeting of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) taking place in Brussels today. ALDE is the third largest faction in the European Parliament holding the balance between the right and the left.

Sergei Mitrokhin told in his speech that the European Union should work out a strategy for interaction with Russia based on integration rather than confrontation. The European Union should initiate the projects that would involve and initiate the Russian society and elite into the European values and approaches, he said. According to Mitrokhin, such a strategy can ensure Russias movement along the European way of development.

Sergei Mitrokhin also said that proposals on a visa-free regime between Russia and the EU represent a good example of implementation of this strategy. He also recollected that in Europe such a proposal was voiced for the first time by Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini.

According to Mitrokhin, the idea of abolishing visas between Russia and the EU was proposed as early as in 1995 by the YABLOKO faction in the Russian parliament. We specially invited then Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Ivanov and persuaded him that this initiative was not a fantasy, Mitrokhin said. He also noted that in 2003 Ivanov shared these ideas with his Italian counterpart.

A number of MPs of the European Parliament supported the idea of development of a new European strategy in relations with Russia and agreed with Mitrokhin that the European Union had not developed such a strategy yet. Some MPs also supported the proposals on the earliest introduction of a visa-free regime and also stated that they would welcome Russias perspective joining the European Union.

However, some MPs expressed their doubts that introduction of a visa-free regime may be regarded as a timely measure, as in their view, Russias Southern borders are not secure enough. Answering these arguments Sergei Mitrokhin noted that Latin American states have no less problems than Russia, nonetheless, the EU has established a visa-free regime with a number of countries of this region.

Mitrokhin also expressed his certainty that the ALDE faction as a king-maker in the European Parliament should support such initiative, moreover that the latter was proposed by Russian liberals.

See also:

On Eliminaiton of Visa Barriers Between Russia and EU. Statement of YABLOKO's Chairman. February 1, 2010

Russia-EU Relations



Press Release
February 3, 2010