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Do not offer the Sochi Olympics on a silver platter to Putin (Verhofstadt)

(BRUSSELS2 to Moscow) The leader of the Liberal and Democratic group was in Moscow on Friday to support the Republican-Parnas party of former Prime Minister Mikhail Kassianov. The opportunity also to affirm that the Europeans should have a more direct attitude with the Russian authorities and not give in to pressure. Interview...

Eastern Partnership: moving forward

« What's going on in Russia summits? What are we really discussing besides making smiles at each other? he explains. " We must put more pressure on the internal situation in Russia, support civil society, demand the application of the rule of law. If the rules of law were already applied, it would be progress. As for the Eastern Partnership, “we have to move forward and not give in to pressure”. Faced with possible Russian gas blackmail, there is a solution, Europe must also reflect on its energy policy, in order to be autonomous. " Under the British presidency in 2005, Tony Blair proclaimed a common energy policy. Where we are ? Interconnection projects, gas pipelines... What are we doing about shale gas? We are still thinking when the Americans are already exporting. A direction for energy policy must be defined in Europe”.

No boycott in Sochi but a political warning

"Systematic human rights violations in Russia must not go unaddressed. » Although the boycott of the Sochi Olympics does not seem necessary to him, on the other hand, a concerted attitude by European leaders, as during the European football championship in Ukraine (where no European official or EU Head of State was not present), seems necessary to him. “Athletes and spectators have spent years working hard to prepare for and compete in a competition of this level. These athletes and spectators should not be punished, but we should not offer a silver platter to President Putin for a political publicity stunt. » For the Liberal leader, we should take inspiration from the "precedent during the European football championship in Ukraine where no EU official or EU head of state was present".

A Europe-wide Magnitsky law

Guy Verhofstadt also insists on the establishment of a Magnitsky type list as in the United States. The European Parliament has requested this list in a resolution. So far without result. The only country that made an attempt, Ireland, retreated under Russian pressure. " Between now and the end of the year, we fully intend in the European Parliament to adopt a new resolution accompanied this time by a proposal for a list of names. »

Syria: the seat on the Security Council exists the responsibility

On Syria, vigilance remains. “We cannot give the impression of acknowledging that as long as chemical weapons are under international control, the killings can continue by conventional means. It would be immoral, hypocritical and irresponsible. » Here too, Moscow must choose another path. “Russia's permanent seat on the Security Council and its right of veto require responsibilities. Russia must act now and engage in resolving the conflict in Syria. »

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).