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We ask for Baroness Ashton, and once again she is not present. I know that she is somewhere else. I think that she sees world affairs as only being one thing — Iran.
I do not think that she is aware of any other problem in the world. It is a shame that every time, for nearly five years now, when we ask for Baroness Ashton, she is never there — even for important matters, such as Ukraine, relations with Russia, and the uncertainty surrounding the Association Agreement, where we have no explanation.
In the next five years, we must not accept an attitude from the new High Representative like the one we have seen from Baroness Ashton. I want this made clear at the beginning of this debate.
Nichts gegen Sie! Martin Schulz wollte die Zusammenschaltung der beiden Parlamente mit Video. These achievements, which we tend to take for granted, are the long-standing aspirations of the people of Ukraine. For many, they correspond with a future based on European values which, as Europeans themselves, they share.
Much has happened since we were preparing for the Vilnius Summit one year ago. Crimea, part of the sovereign territory of an independent Ukraine, has been illegally annexed by Russia in an act we will never recognise.
Furthermore, the territorial integrity of Ukraine is being further challenged by rebels in the East, who are supported through the direct military involvement of Russia. Many hundreds have been killed in military action among people who had been living as peaceful neighbours only a year ago, but aggression does not pay. On the contrary, it has further united the Ukrainian people behind the aspiration for a better future for their country. There is no time to rest.
Much remains to be done. The fragile ceasefire will need to be turned into a genuine peace. The courageous move by President Poroshenko offers a real opportunity for lasting peace, but there are many challenges. Direct fighting on the ground has become sporadic and prisoners are being freed, but unfortunately incidences of shelling and shooting continue. Russian troops are still in Ukraine; armed forces are using the ceasefire to redeploy and resupply; and large parts of the border remain outside of the control of the authorities, allowing a continuous flow of militants, arms and equipment into Ukraine from Russia.
What can we do? Our approach is threefold. Firstly, we continue to give our full and active support for a sustainable political solution. Secondly, we are maintaining pressure on Russia through a gradual increase of individual and economic sanctions to try to make it alter its course of action and move towards a solution. My colleague Commissioner Oettinger is sparing no efforts to facilitate an agreement between Russia and Ukraine ensuring a fair price for gas deliveries and security of supply to the European Union.
We have also engaged with Russia to discuss the effects on the Russian economy of the implementation of the association agreement — including the DCFTA — with a view to clarifying concerns and, where appropriate, identifying solutions. The deal reached on Friday by my colleague Commissioner Karel De Gucht is good news for de-escalation, and it has the potential to be a game-changer in the ongoing crisis.
I will discuss this further in the next debate this morning. You are aware that the European Union adopted a new package of restrictive measures with regard to Russia last week on the basis of the mandate of the European Council of 30 August. This was done in response to the increased inflow of fighters and weapons from the territory of the Russian Federation into Eastern Ukraine and the aggression by the Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil over the past weeks, and in order to reinforce the effectiveness of existing measures.
The new package includes, firstly, more individuals who are responsible for undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and secondly, economic and financial sanctions with regard to access to capital markets, defence, dual-use goods and sensitive technologies. We have always stressed that our restrictive measures are reversible and scalable; therefore, by the end of September, the Member States will carry out a comprehensive review of the implementation of the peace plan and, in the light of the review, and if the situation on the ground so warrants, the sanctions may be amended, suspended or repealed — in whole or in part — depending, of course, also on developments in Crimea.
We have already expressed our strong support for the peace deal agreed in Minsk; its implementation is a key to success. We need to learn from recent experience, from the failed attempts in Geneva and Berlin earlier this year, to pass from words to deeds in reaching a political solution, and to respect the ceasefire agreed in June. We call on the Russian Government to pass from verbal pledges to the implementation of commitments this time around and to ensure a genuine and a comprehensive implementation of the peace plan.
As I have said, the implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the road map will be important for all further decisions on sanctions. Today it is difficult to see if and how successfully European Union relations with Russia can continue under the label of the so-called strategic partnership. In the short term, much more effort is needed to reach a comprehensive conflict resolution in Ukraine, and Russia must show that it takes its commitments seriously.
Russia should prove in deeds its respect for international law and for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of its neighbours. As for the medium and long term, the European Union and Russia will need to further build their relations on shared interests with a view to engaging in dialogue, particularly in the fields of trade and investment, energy, science, cooperation in solving international crises and in responding to global challenges.
We must avoid creating a lasting rift on our continent. We must also reflect on how we can jointly work on a vision of cooperation on the European continent, where all countries can take advantage of economic opportunities from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Our European House is being destroyed; the time has come to rebuild it with all European partners involved, not leaving anyone outside of this process.
The relationship between the EU and Russia played a central role; the relationship between the European Union, the customs union and, in the future, the Eurasian Union will have an important role to play. Es muss auch klar sein, dass diese Vereinbarung nicht mehr torpediert werden kann. Ich hoffe, dass man dort zur Vereinbarung kommt. Nun kommen wir zu einem dritten Bereich — das ist die russische Invasion in der Ukraine.
Herr Kommissar, Sie haben richtig zum Ausdruck gebracht, dass wir zu einer Partnerschaft mit Russland bereit sind. Es ist in unserem Interesse, eine gute Beziehung mit Russland zu haben und Russland mit uns.
Ich glaube, das muss deutlich sein. Centinaia di migliaia di civili fuggono. Questi sono gli elementi di una crisi di grande importanza per l'Europa. Noi socialisti e democratici rispondiamo no, ma ci chiediamo anche se l'Europa debba permettere qualsiasi cosa pur di evitare una nuova guerra fredda. Noi socialisti e democratici rispondiamo no. Abbiamo bisogno di mantenere il dialogo con la Russia per rendere effettivo il cessate il fuoco e assistere le persone che sono state colpite dal conflitto.
Le sanzioni, sempre, non possono sostituire la ricerca di una soluzione diplomatica e politica. Sollecitiamo l'Alto rappresentante, anche in futuro, a facilitare il dialogo tra Ucraina e Russia e mantenere aperti canali di comunicazione con la Russia al fine di compiere passi concreti per la soluzione pacifica della crisi. Tra questi passi voglio ricordare: uno, il ritiro di tutte le forze militari dall'Ucraina; due, vietare l'ingresso di combattenti e armi in Ucraina orientale; tre, l'impegno dei ribelli nei negoziati per una soluzione politica globale.
Sottolineo inoltre che la crisi in Ucraina non dovrebbe ostacolare la cooperazione con la Russia in altre aree dove i nostri interessi coincidono. Molti problemi avrebbero potuto essere evitati se l'attuale processo di consultazione sull'attuazione dell'accordo fosse stato concordato in precedenza.
Il ritardo nell'attuazione dell'accordo non dovrebbe essere visto in una logica da guerra fredda come una vittoria della Russia, ma come una concessione per costruire la pace. The refusal of Russia to accept this and to work within this internationally accepted legal paradigm should concern us all as democrats. This is not a case of an isolated conflict in a faraway land, but rather it is part of a wider struggle in which democratic nations on our own doorstep are fighting off the revanchist and irredentist ideals of a Putin-led authoritarian and revisionist regime that boasts of a nuclear arsenal.
The West has already stood by as countries such as Georgia, Armenia and Moldova have suffered as a result of these ideals. We must not allow Ukraine to become another precedent. It is for this reason that Member States within the EU and NATO should begin to take proactive, rather than reactive, steps in this conflict, sending a message to President Putin that there is hard-power substance behind our rhetoric.
Commentators from across the world have noted now the necessity for Russia of militarily acquiring a land corridor to the Crimea. In this regard we should also note the presence of 50 Russian troops at the ready on the borders.
It has been suggested that one Member State of NATO is already arming the Ukrainian army in anticipation of this further act of aggression. So today I call on other Member States to do the same and allow Ukraine to acquire the means to defend itself. Europe, including, I have to say, my own country, has for too long relied on the dominance of Russian energy and finance.
We must now look to diversify away from these dependencies and to have a coordinated EU plan for external energy security, just as we have successfully united the entire European Union in the support of tough economic sanctions against Russia for its blatant acts of aggression.
We are witnessing a war going on and war crimes being committed in Europe. This has deconstructed the European security system and exposed Ukraine to undeclared aggression from Russia. Is that a crime or a danger for the existing system? Who can presume to sit in judgment and decide to impose a harsh situation on neighbouring countries? Many of us were taken by surprise by the announcement on 12 September that the implementation of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement was being postponed for 15 months.
Notwithstanding the format of trilateral talks, we have to respect the autonomy of EU decision-making, the competence of EU institutions and EU procedures. I find that most regrettable, and I hope our ratification today of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement will be a necessary step in the right direction.
This was a show trial clearly reflecting the rise in political influence of neo-fascist elements. I have witnessed with my own eyes the failure of EU policies in the area. Instead of a policy of dividing, we should opt for one of reconciliation, giving the Ukrainian people a chance to avoid a civil war and to decide freely on their future, with full recognition of fundamental human rights and respect for European values.
There is still time for peace and democracy in Ukraine. Das ist nicht das, was die Ukrainer wollten. Wir haben auf dieses Fast-track -Verfahren zur Ratifizierung des Assoziierungsabkommens gesetzt. Lieber Herr Kollege Brok, ich verstehe Sie nicht. Sind Sie naiv? Ich habe gelesen, wer dagegen vorgegangen ist. Wir haben einen wahnsinnig schwierigen Weg vor uns.
Und wir werden nur das bekommen, was die Ukraine braucht, wenn wir uns jetzt wirklich der Ukraine widmen, wenn wir alles tun, damit politische, gesellschaftliche und wirtschaftliche Reformen stattfinden. Ein letzter Wunsch: Die Orientierung alleine auf Oligarchen und die alten etablierten Politiker in der Ukraine darf so nicht weitergehen. Der Winter wird hart.
Und selbst das ist noch nicht mal geregelt, dass wir das mit Oettingers schwachen Ideen hinkriegen. Aber wir ratifizieren heute. Dieses wird heute genauso die Rada machen. Wenn wir heute ratifizieren, bleibt der Vertrag wie er ist.
This EU empire, ever seeking to expand, stated its territorial claim on the Ukraine some years ago.
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