As many of you will know I have been dismayed by reports concerning a Russian blacklist of European politicians and officials which, over and above, includes a large number of prominent and high-ranking Members of the European Parliament. I believe that the existence of such a blacklist further diminishes mutual trust and hampers any efforts for constructive dialogue to find a peaceful and lasting solution to the current geopolitical crisis.
Notwithstanding my numerous previous official requests to the Russian authorities, and most recently only this evening to the Russian Ambassador to the EU, to communicate the clear reasons why each individual has been included on the blacklist and to make the list public – which in the meantime has happened – our colleagues have been repeatedly stopped at the Russian border and the European Parliament had not been officially notified which of its Members were targeted by these sanctions, and for what reason.
Insofar as the Russian authorities have failed to ensure transparency in their decisions, in line with international law and legal obligations, and allow the targeted individuals the right of defence and of appeal, I consider that it is now justified to take appropriate measures in response.
Consequently, I have informed the Russian Ambassador to the EU that, pending the lifting of the blacklist, Parliament is:
– restricting free access to Parliament to the Ambassador and one other named diplomat;
– assessing requests for access by Members of the Duma and the Federation Council on a case-by-case basis;
– suspending Parliament’s engagement with the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee
I count upon your support to ensure that all Members of the European Parliament are treated in accordance with accepted international legal obligations.