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Question to Commissioner Designate Ms Benita FERRERO-WALDNER

Dr.Laima Andrikiene, MEP
EPP-ED, Lithuania
Question to Commissioner Designate Ms Benita FERRERO-WALDNER
(External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy)
EP Foreign Affairs Committee meeting
Brussels
October 5, 2004

Madame Commissioner Designate,

The area of your responsibilities in the Commission - external relations and European Neighbourhood Policy - is of greatest importance especially for those EU member states, neighbours of whom are outside the EU.

Sometimes these are countries of "highly developed bureaucracy and controlled democracy" like Russians themselves explain situation in their homeland; sometimes these are countries where human rights are undermined and violated every day like in Belarus.

In your written reply to this Committee on EU Russia policy, which according  to Parliament's resolution is far from being effective enough (objectives are not clearly defined, lack of internal coherence, interests and values are not effectively promoted), you stressed promotion of open and frank dialogue with Russia.

Nevertheless, unfair game played by the Russian Government, especially before the EU-Russia Summit, scheduled for November 11, is evident even today. I have in mind Russia's claims that countries - present EU member states - illegally occupied by the Soviet Union for 50 years, have to pay billions to Russia, what according to the international law is complete nonsense and should be declined as false.

Another claim pushing for the transit corridor via Lithuanian, i.e. EU territory, is on the table also under the titles: high speed train project, customs procedures which became longer and more costly after the last enlargement etc is nothing else than pressure that Russians are to have different or special treatment on the EU territory and in the Schengen area in the future.

Don't you think that implementation of more articulated, clear, transparent, more tuff EU Russia policy should and could be one of your priorities?

Thank you.