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PRESS RELEASE


European Parliament Members’ Open Letter: We Need Russia; End Sanctions

June 12, 2016 (EIRNS)—A dozen European politicians, all Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), released an Open Letter titled "Why Europe Needs Russia More Than Ever," sent to Russian-based multimedia broadcaster RT, yesterday. It was also published in Britain by the Independent. The letter, originated by French MEP Rachida Dati and 12 others urges the immediate lifting of sanctions, especially respecting security cooperation. Both the French National Assembly and Senate have voted up resolutions in favor of lifting Russian sanctions.

The letter says that it was clear even a few months after sanctions were imposed against Russia that it was

"a mistake both on the political (on the Syrian conflict) and the economical level (for our agriculture), and we would pay for it dearly."

It also attacks the mistake of extending the European sanctions to Russian intelligence personnel in July 2014, blocking such important figures as Aleksandr Bortnikov, head of the Federal Security Service and Mikhail Fradkov, director of foreign intelligence services, from obtaining visas, saying even the U.S., in imposing sanctions,

"never went as far as jeopardizing its security cooperation with the heads of Russia’s intelligence. So why are we... at the expense of our own security?"

These sanctions impact both both the French and European levels: The "Cooperation Council on security issues ... bringing together the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Defense from both French and Russian sides" has been suspended and not met since October 2012.

"The attacks in Paris and Brussels sadly reminded U.S. that this cooperation is far from being optimal even within the EU. Russian citizens themselves have been hit hard by terrorism. If we continue to weaken our cooperation with Russia in this field, we are participating to put our citizens in danger.

"Russia thanks to its positions in Syria, has access to valuable information on ISIS, which we would be wrong to turn away from...." Reason and passion dictate that "we cooperate with the Russian State, in order to exchange critical information on the positions and intentions of ISIS. ...This realpolitik is no longer a choice ... but there are goals and interests that require that we go beyond the desire to punish.

"Take the example of Israel. Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has decided to strengthen its ties with Russia, to enhance its national security, even though Moscow is working closely with Iran, Israel’s most hostile and powerful enemy in the region.

"... Besides Russia wants to help us. ...

"European citizens would not understand if we deprive ourselves any longer of information that is able to ensure their safety and protect them from the horrors we have known Paris and Brussels recently.

"While the European Council must decide on 28th and 29th June on the renewal—or not—of sanctions against Russia, let us call together to revive security cooperation between those two major players of the international scene. More and more voices in Europe already call for a re-evaluation of sanctions and the lifting of sanctions applied to individuals, as showed by the French Senate’s vote on 8th June which called, with a wide majority, for a reassessment and even the lifting of the sanctions.

"History will prove right those who find the political courage to make such a statement.

"We, the undersigned:

  • Rachida DATI - PPE FRANCE (Parti Populaire EuropÃàan)
  • Françoise GROSSETETE - PPE FRANCE
  • Hermann WINKLER - PPE ALLEMAGNE [Germany]
  • Alfred SANT - S&D MALTE (Socialistes & DÃàmocrates)
  • Alain CADEC - PPE FRANCE
  • Franck PROUST - PPE FRANCE
  • Ivo VAJGL - ALDE SLOVENIE (Alliance des Libéraux et des Démocrates pour l’Europe)
  • Marc JOULAUD - PPE FRANCE
  • Stefano MAULLU - PPE ITALIE
  • Aldo PATRICIELLO - PPE ITALIE
  • Renaud MUSELIER - PPE FRANCE
  • Elisabetta GARDINI - PPE ITALIE