Thursday, August 30, 2007

EU President: Europe's Relationship with Russia Tied to "Quality of Democracy"

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Wednesday the strength of the EU's ties with Moscow depended on the quality of democracy in Russia.

European Union countries and the United States have accused Russia of rolling back democracy by stopping anti-Kremlin protests this year in the build-up to a parliamentary election in December and a presidential election in March.

Asked how tension between Russia and the EU could be eased, Barroso told Le Figaro daily in an interview: "The fact that our relations aren't good does not mean that our strategy is bad.
"It can mean that this country is experiencing internal problems. We must first remain firm in our ... respect for human rights," he said on the newspaper's Web site.

Barroso said it was "strange" that in a country where security forces were so strong, so many journalists were killed and the murderers not arrested.

"The quality of the relation we will have with Russia will depend on the quality of democracy in Russia," Barroso said...
( Source: Croatia's's English language version)