Collaboration and negotiation key to solving EU-Russia crisis

Martin Schulz banning Russian officials from entering parliament is 'not democratically tolerable' and the EU must find better ways to deal with Moscow, writes Miroslav Mikolášik.

By Miroslav Mikolášik

15 Jun 2015

When it comes to peace and security, lately Russia has not acted as a credible partner for the EU. It has undermined the sovereignty of an independent state - Ukraine - and started an armed conflict very close to EU borders.

Once again, Moscow has been using its energy resources to influence EU political decisions, as Europe is dependent on these and has not found a viable alternative. The international community has condemned Russia's actions in the Black sea region, as it has destabilised peace in eastern Europe and Crimea. 

The region is strategically important for the EU's security, foreign affairs and eastern partnership - for this reason, Brussels has not accepted the illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula. Now, Russia has gained another satellite territory close to Europe, and the borders of Nato-controlled territory now conflict with Russian frontiers.


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There are many different ways in which the EU could react, and positions vary among MEPs. Parliament president Martin Schulz has banned the Russian ambassador to the EU and one other Russian diplomat from entering the premises. This was in response to Moscow denying 89 EU politicians from entering the country - a rather controversial and unprecedented act.

The EU is a democratic union based on fundamental rights, and I believe these should be upheld on all levels, and no member of parliament - not even its president - should unilaterally enact such a prohibition.

I do not agree with such a position, because it is not democratically tolerable. I firmly believe that collaboration and diplomatic negotiations can lead to more efficient outcomes on both sides, even though this entails a longer process than confrontation at diplomatic level.

Even though Russia has annexed the Crimean peninsula and it is now a de facto Russian territory, the international community has not recognised it as such and Crimea is now isolated. 

This issue needs to be resolved. The EU has an obligation to uphold the human rights of Crimea's citizens and cannot passively observe violations of these rights, as was the case when many Crimean Tatars moved to inland Ukraine, for fear of new Russian politics.

Therefore, choosing confrontation over collaboration will only cause problems in terms of human rights and European security. 

As a representative of European people, I believe the EU must not deviate from democratic decision-making at all levels, and for all territories.

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