Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-12-01-Speech-3-110"

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". Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, one thing becomes clear when considering the relations being forged between the European Union and neighbouring countries, namely that the EU is suffering from Americophobia and Russophobia. In recent days, the second of these has become particularly apparent, that is, the fear of Russia as a major partner and a major country to the East. The European Union has an inferiority complex that overshadows its relations with Russia, and today a strange kind of judgment is being passed on Russia for its position on Ukraine. It has been said that Russia is interfering in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. Yet what action is being taken by the European Union and our representatives? They are travelling to the country as observers, but becoming involved on behalf of one of the candidates. This should not be the case. Democracy is something quite different. If we wish to demand democratic standards of Russia, we should first demand them of ourselves, and do everything in our power to ensure that we observe these standards. We are not entitled to pass judgment on Russia in this matter. Why is the EU interfering in such a manner in the sovereign decisions of the independent Russian state, when President Putin has warned us against interfering in the Russian sphere of influence? Russia has a right to its own opinions, and it is our strategic trading partner. Kaliningrad, which borders directly onto the European Union and Poland, should be of the utmost importance to us, as it is a window onto the world in terms of trade. Yet as a result of our panic-stricken reaction to the events in Ukraine, Russia has tightened restrictions on people passing through border crossings, in particular those into Kaliningrad. We have much to lose by adopting such a schizophrenic approach in our relations with Russia. Relations with this large country should be stepped up, not restricted. Finally, I should like to add that the EU has interfered enough in the domestic affairs of independent states, in this case in those of Russia. The result of this has been that, against our wishes, the areas in the east of Ukraine are being pushed into Russia’s hands. I should like to end my speech with an old Roman maxim: ‘first, do no harm’. This is particularly true in the case of relations with Russia."@en1

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