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