The European Parliament proposes to consider the suspension of the partnership and cooperation Agreement (PCA) with Russia. It is also proposed to move to point cooperation “only on topics that are of “mutual interest”, while recognizing that “Russia will remain one of the key partners of the EU in the foreseeable future.” In Friday this is stated in the published draft report of the European Parliament on relations with Russia, the vote on which will be held in March 2019.
“The European Parliament believes that the PCA should be terminated. Relations between Russia and the EU should be reformatted and should continue only in those areas that are necessary and of mutual interest to guarantee security and a peaceful European order,” the document says. At the same time, it lists all the currently known accusations against Russia.
In the same document, the European Parliament recognizes that “Russia and the EU will remain key partners in the foreseeable future, but the Nord stream 2 project increases the EU’s dependence on Russian gas and threatens the EU’s single energy market.”
The partnership and cooperation agreement was signed in 1998. In 2007, negotiations on a new agreement were started, because even then the economic relations between Russia and the European Union, according to Russia’s permanent representative to the EU Vladimir Chizhov, “have long outgrown this document.” Negotiations on this agreement were suspended four times at the initiative of the European Union: in 2008, as a result of the crisis with Russia’s ban on the supply of infected Polish meat to its market, immediately after unblocking in the same year 2008 — after Russia’s operation to force Georgia to peace in South Ossetia, six months later, after thawing, they actually stalled before Russia’s accession to the WTO, and the last time they were suspended by the EU in 2014 after the reunification of Crimea with Russia. Thus, the current PCA has been operating for 30 years, and, despite the crisis, the volume of trade between Russia and the EU after the recession in 2014-2015, began to grow again in 2016.
“Assistance to civil society” in Russia
In addition, the European Parliament proposed that the European Commission consider increasing financial support for civil society activists, independent media, investigative journalists and non-governmental organizations in Russia.
“The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to lay more ambitious funding for civil society in Russia through the existing foreign policy financial instruments of the EU, — the document says. “The European Parliament stresses the need for continued financial support for civil society activists, independent media, investigative journalists and non-governmental organizations.” This call comes at a time of intense debate in the EU institutions and among the community countries on the parameters of the next seven-year EU budget plan for 2021-2027, in which budget revenues will be significantly reduced, in particular as a result of the UK’s withdrawal.
The European Parliament also calls for the full expansion of contacts between people, in particular through the active use of the EU student exchange program “Erasmus Mundus”, stressing that the EU can offer Russia the widest opportunities “for student mobility” among its other partners. MEPs also call on the EU institutions and the member States of the community “to make more efforts for strengthening the European institutions, especially in the field of cybersecurity and the media” and call for “more active promotion of European values in the Russian language using the Eastern group of strategic communications of the EU”.
The draft report notes that EU countries should “be prepared to impose new sanctions, including personal restrictions [on entry into the EU] in response to Russian actions.” In addition, the European Parliament once again offers to “adopt the European version of the Magnitsky act”.
All resolutions of the European Parliament are advisory in nature and are not binding on EU institutions and countries.