EU links ties to Russia with democracy

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso was quoted by the French daily “Le Figaro” on August 29 as saying that the future of the EU’s relations with Russia will depend on the quality of its democracy, Reuters reported.

Barroso argued that “the fact that our relations are not good does not mean that [the EU’s] strategy is bad. It can mean that [Russia] is experiencing internal problems. We must [nonetheless] first remain firm in our…respect for human rights.” He noted that it is “strange” that there are so many murders of journalists that are never solved in a country where the security forces are so strong.

Barroso stressed that he hopes that the EU’s policy toward Moscow will enable Russia “to move forward. President [Vladimir] Putin is the most European of all the leaders of an outside country I have met.”

RFE/RL Newsline, Vol. 11, No. 161, Part I, 30 August 2007.

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