A delegation of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) is attending the conference of democratic opposition in Moscow 6 – 7 December 2012.
At the conference Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE President made the following statement: “Despite what Russian ruling elite want its citizens to believe it is not Western values, the European Parliament, the US Department of State, or a girl punk band that undermine stability in Russia. Today, the European Union is more united in its approach towards Russia than ever before. It is a high time to admit that no modernisation can stem from authoritarian rule. Strategic partnership should be based on shared values and principles, not on hydrocarbons or Louis Vuitton bags. The credibility of the European Union depends on our honest analysis of the situation. Russia is not a democracy and its ruling regime continuously undermines its international obligations, be it Council of Europe, OSCE or WTO. Only by speaking up can we support change.”
Kristiina Ojuland (Reform Party, Estonia) also made the following remarks following the adoption of the Magnitsky bill in US Congress: “I sincerely congratulate US colleagues for passing the “Magnitsky bill”. This is the first step in serving justice to those who were involved in imprisoning, torturing and murdering Sergey Magnitsky. The decision in the United States, follows a similar recommendation adopted by the European Parliament. It is now time for the European Council to take its responsibility and admit that a visa ban and asset freeze is the least that the European Union could do in confronting systematic human rights violations in Russia.
Silvana Koch-Mehrin (FDP, Germany) commenting on Russian membership in the WTO: “The European Union has strongly supported and welcomed the membership of Russia in the World Trade Organisation. However, recent decisions of the Russian government run contrary to all Russian promises and commitments to the WTO. Russia needs to regain its credibility in international trade, it can not be a member of G8 and at the same time behave in the trade sphere as an unreliable party.”