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13 September, 2013 12:18   ▪  

Hanne Severinsen: "I believe that the “soft power” of EU will be stronger than “the big stick” of Russia"

Former co-rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for Ukraine Hanne Severinsen says that Russia should respect the free choice of the countries of Eastern partnership and therefore considers EU-resolution which was adopted yesterday as highly on time.

Hanne Severinsen says that yesterday’s “overwhelming support In the European Parliament to the message that EU "clearly emphasizes that the free choice of the Eastern Partnership should not lead them to such effects as trade measures, visa policy, mobility, interference with frozen conflicts" is a strong message in itself”. 

She also fully agrees with the statement of  Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Mr. Füle made on Wednesday, September 11, that membership in Customs Union and association agreement with EU and DCFTA at the same time is impossible not “because of ideological differences”, but because of “legal impossibilities”. She also agrees with Füle that “Russia will also benefit greatly from the integration of the Eastern Partnership countries into the wider European economy”.

“I so much pity that Russia - under Putin - is continuing his big historical mistake of persistent emphasis of “phantom pains “ - because of the peacefully end of the Soviet imperium”, - saud Ms. Severinsen.

“Russia could have had great, fruitful relations and much more influence if they had chosen the good neighbor attitude and recognized once and for all, that Ukraine voted freely and overwhelmingly for independence in 1991. From that fact, the two countries could have had a win – win situation of voluntarily mutual cooperation”, - she admits and hopes that “this will happen when Putin in some future becomes history. But in the meantime EU must support Russia’s “near abroad “from his “phantom pains”. And the EU-resolution will hopefully prompt Eastern neighboring countries to strengthen their cooperation with EU”.

She believes that “the “soft power” of EU will be stronger than “the big stick” of Russia”.

READ ALSO: European Parliament resolution on the pressure exerted by Russia on Eastern Partnership countries (in the context of the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius) (2013/2826(RSP))

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