Where is EURONEST headed?
Statement by GUE/NGL MEPs Jiri Mastalka and Miloslav Ransdorf (KSČM) before the meeting of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly in Yerevan
The original idea behind the creation of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly as a platform for exchanging ideas and finding ways for the European Union’s partnerships with the countries in the East (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia), seemed very good to us. We hoped to be members of such a delegation as representatives of the European Parliament (EP).
We consider good and mutually beneficial relationships with the above-mentioned states a very important part of the foreign activities of the EP and we have tried to contribute to them in EURONEST as well.
However, just like there was a “distortion” of the Eastern Partnership project into an interest tool for certain groups, especially those with an anti-Russian orientation, where this partnership was a disguise for settling of accounts with the Russian Federation, the EURONEST seems to be following the same path, and we have many objections against this.
The upcoming session of EURONEST was convened in Yerevan; the controversy of such a choice has to be clear even to students that are not very well-versed in foreign policy issues. The strained relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan (historical animosities and above all the capital conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh) could influence the atmosphere around the session in Yerevan. The announcement from Baku that the Azerbaijani representatives will not attend the EURONEST session in protest against the one-sided behaviour of the leadership of the Parliamentary Assembly was not a surprise. On the contrary, it was practically an expected step. As if some forces in the European Union would benefit from the conscious breaking up of the EURONEST that would weaken its position.
The attempts to get on the agenda in Yerevan unilaterally conceived topics of the crisis in Ukraine and relations with Russia and the situation in Belarus “interpreted” and presented only by the so-called Belorussian opposition very dangerously resemble, in our opinion, efforts to paralyse the work and democratic principles of the EURONEST and ultimately the formation of conditions for the crash of the whole idea and the Eastern Partnership project itself. Especially now when Belarus has played and plays an important role in the peace settlement of the conflict in Ukraine, has successfully overcome the economic blockade by the EU and the pressure exerted by Russian oligarchs, it is unreasonable and against the interests of the EU to continue the previous system of relations.
On the invitation of the so-called opposition we are effectively precluding the representatives of the Belorussian government from participation.
We do not intend to participate in such efforts. We do not want to be just by our presence in Yerevan collectively responsible for such political games, for a targeted campaign to once more please the militant forces in the European Union that play into the hands of the policies of the US administration rather than to protect the interests of EU citizens. Where all this leads is visible every day on the examples of the impact of the useless sanctions against Russia and of the impasse into which the EU was led in its relations with Ukraine. We are not helping to improve the lives of people in Ukraine, on the contrary: we are enhancing the bank accounts of the oligarchs at full speed.
We would like to emphasise that these opinions do not mean that we do not respect our colleagues from the Armenian Parliament, quite the contrary. We are ready to come to Yerevan personally with our best intentions.
Quite a long time has passed since the establishment of EURONEST and the disclosure of the policies of the Eastern Partnership. With our knowledge of the partners and especially the background, we are unfortunately very sceptical that this project will continue meaningfully. Some prominent politicians called this project “super successful” before the Ukrainian crisis but with its form and current mechanisms the project has no chance of a beneficial development. This will probably be shown in a short period of time with the developments in Moldova…
Notwithstanding the foregoing, we are convinced that the European Union and Russia need a mechanism for mutual cooperation in collaboration with the Eastern Partnership countries because no one can erase them from the map. Let us therefore endow the new Eastern Partnership project not as only "assistance” into the pockets of oligarchs nor an instrument against Russia but as a collective bridge that connects the members of the European Union with Russia and thus connects the Eurasian continent. This, of course, requires a change in the mind-set of the current political representation with real and realistic steps in this direction and not just a stylistic exercise in the form of resolutions.
Jiří Maštálka, Miloslav Ransdorf
MGUE/NGL Members of the EURONEST Parliamentary Assembly