Hans-Gert Poettering MEP: "No EU-Russia declaration at the expense of Estonia and Latvia"

Posted in Europe | 29-Apr-04

The Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering MEP, has called on the European Commission and the EU Foreign Ministers Council to protect the interests of Estonia and Latvia when preparing the intended joint declaration of the European Union and Russia.

Poettering said: "This joint declaration must not lead to a situation, where Russia can influence the development in Estonia and Latvia - and thus the European Union - because of the Russian population in these two countries."

Poettering, who is currently on an information visit to Estonia and meeting with President Arnold Rüütel, Prime Minister Juhan Parts as well as with the leaders of the opposition Tunne Kelam, Chairman of the Pro Patria-party, and former Prime Minister Mart Laar, has been described the great anxiety and concern, if Moscow were to be given such concessions. Hans Gert Poettering also had the opportunity to speak to Latvian Foreign Minister Rihards Piks on the same topic on Saturday.

Poettering calls on the European Commission and the EU Foreign Ministers, who will be meeting in Luxembourg on next Monday, only to accept a declaration that also gets the approval of Estonia and Latvia. "A joint declaration lacking such an approval of Estonia and Latvia would cause a massive loss of confidence in the European Union in both countries shortly before their EU accession on May 1", concluded the Chairman of the largest political Group in the European Parliament.