The special resolution on the events in Georgia, adopted by the European Parliament, turned out to be less radical in its attitude than might be expected. However, judging by the debates that were boiling during the discussion of its text, talking about a common point of view on the conflict for all European deputies would be an exaggeration.
“It’s tragic that they understand the situation differently,” Catherine Sachs, the European MP from our country, who was happening in the conference room of the European Parliament, sincerely lamented. “We are dealing with a conflict of worldview that concerns us all.”
The European Commissioner for External Relations and Neighborhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, however, does not see anything tragic in the diversity of points of view. “Our meeting clearly shows that we are able to respond in crisis situations and that we are united,” she notes, adding that the need to focus on not the emotional assessment of what is happening, but on the practical assistance that European countries Union are able to provide at the moment, Georgia. B. Ferrero-Waldner also emphasized the need to continue developing a common EU energy policy: its effectiveness, according to the European Commissioner, will exclude the possibility of linking the tone of the dialogue with the Russian side with issues of supplying Russian energy carriers to Europe.
The Deputy Chairman of the Socialist Group of the European Parliament, Austrian Hannes Svoboda noted that Russia is again and again trying to benefit from internal conflicts of other states. Speaking about the need to strengthen the common foreign policy of the European Union, he recalled that the Russian side depends on economic cooperation with Europe no less than the EU states on Russian oil and gas. Conrad Szymanski, a member of the United Europe of Nations Association, expressed the idea that the only way to influence the leadership of the Russian Federation and force it to fulfill its obligations is to leave Russia in economic isolation. “Russia does not want to be a trustworthy partner,” he believes.
It would be a mistake, however, to believe that all members of the European Parliament hold such a radical point of view. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, co-chair of the European Greens / European Free Alliance parliamentary group, stressed that President Mikheil Saakashvili also behaved unacceptably when trying to return South Ossetia to Georgia. At the same time, the politician believes that the behavior of the head of state should not close the doors to Europe before Georgia: this country, like Ukraine, according to D. Kon-Bendit, should create privileged partnership conditions with European structures, up to the possibility of inviting them to EU – sooner or later.
France’s European parliamentary member of the United Left / Left Green North Francis Wurtz said the Russian reaction is a clear sign to those who believed that the situation would change dramatically with the arrival of the new president in the Kremlin. Considering that the political isolation of the Russian Federation will be a loss for both the Russian side and its foreign partners, F. Wurts emphasized that the main thing for the EU is to stay away from the Caucasian conflict, not striving to defiantly support the views of any of those involved in the confrontation . “The European Union must remain independent from the United States in making its own decisions, be friendly and value the possibility of cooperation,” develops his words, the Polish MP, Bernard Petr Wojciechowski, member of the group of independent democrats.
The resolution of the European Parliament expresses support for Georgia, while not calling for sanctions against Russia. At the same time, European parliamentarians are calling on Russia to respect its obligations and withdraw troops from Georgia. The resolution calls for an early international group of experts to investigate the facts that caused and accompanied the recent hostilities in South Ossetia, and also tried to establish the true causes and those responsible for the events.
549 deputies voted for the resolution, 68 against, 61 deputies abstained.
This post is also available in: English