Yesterday evening it was revealed that the Russian government has a blacklist of EU politicians who are prevented from entering Russia. The list includes current Greens/EFA group president Rebecca Harms, Green MEP Heidi Hautala, who is a former president of the Greens/EFA group and a former Finnish minister, and former Greens/EFA president Dany Cohn-Bendit. Reacting to the blacklist, Rebecca Harms and Heidi Hautala stated:
"This blacklist is a heavy blow for EU-Russia relations, even if its confirmation is not a surprise. The blacklist targets European politicians who have engaged in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the strengthening of civil society in Russia and those who have supported Ukraine. Vladimir Putin evidently interprets any honest criticism of his authoritarian course as a threat to his power.
"The Greens/EFA group has called for a debate in the European Parliament on the consequences of this list. It would be wrong for the EU to react with a similar blacklist but the existing sanctions against targeted individuals are well founded. MEPs must determine if and how a dialogue with the Russian parliament is possible under these conditions."