Ahead of tomorrow's EU-Russia summit and in the context of a European Parliament debate today on Russia, the Greens have called on the EU to support the calls of opposition demonstrators for a re-run of the disputed Duma elections. Commenting on the situation, Green MEP and vice-chairman of the EP delegation for EU-Russia cooperation, Werner Schulz said:
"Last Sunday's Duma elections were neither free nor fair. The EU must support the demands of the peaceful opposition demonstrations and exert pressure at this week's Russia summit for a re-run of the elections. It must also call for the release of all detained demonstrators, as well as for Russian authorities to allow the registration of all opposition parties.
"The EU aims to promote democratic values and the rule of law in its dealings with its partners. It is time to deliver on this. It is not credible to wait for the outcome of the inquiry announced by President Medvedev, as the outcome is a foregone conclusion. The EU should push for the elections to be re-run on a free and fair basis at the earliest possible opportunity.
"The EU should also conclude a new partnership agreement with Russia, which prioritises the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and the guarantee of basic rights. We cannot conclude isolated agreements on individual economic and trade issues, along the lines proposed by Russia."