MEPs expected EU High Representative Borrell "to defend the European values, not to become a tool of Kremlin propaganda"

The European Peoples' Party (EPP) Group in the European Parliament has heavily criticised Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

"Holding a press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov while the leading opposition politician Alexei Navalny is again on politically motivated trials, does not help his case and is a slap in the face of all those who defend democracy", insists Sandra Kalniete MEP, EPP Group Vice president in charge of Foreign Affairs.

"The High Representative's visit to Moscow would make sense only if he visited Alexei Navalny and held extensive talks with those who stand by democracy. The reality is that Mr Borrell he did not even try to meet Mr Navalny. And he did not even try to mention the Crimea", Kalniete deplores.

"We expected the EU High Representative to defend the European values and not to become a tool of Kremlin propaganda. Alexei Navalny must be released immediately and unconditionally. All his supporters detained during the peaceful protests must be released as well", she stresses.

“Russia is not a democracy, it’s a kleptocratic autocracy. There cannot be business as usual. There cannot be any complacency with the regime which uses justice as a political tool to remain at power at the expense of the interests and the will of the citizens. The EU must act now. Its inaction will be considered as complicity. We urge the Member States to step up the sanctions and use all available tools to target the Russian money in Europe, which fuels Mr Putin’s regime", Kalniete underlines.

“Our relations with Russia need to be seriously reassessed. We need to focus them on supporting those who defend democracy, rule of law, fundamental freedoms and human rights. Our cooperation with Russia in international fora and on projects such as Nord Stream 2 has to be reviewed and the completion of the latter must stop immediately”, Kalniete says.

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