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Speech in the plenary debate about the EU-Russia summit

Gunnar Hökmark (EPP-ED)
– Mr President, there is no better way to celebrate 9 May than to make it very clear that the European Union stands up for each one of its members when they are threatened and harassed.

This must be a leading theme when we are discussing the upcoming Summit. There is no other way, because Estonia was one of the leading countries in the transformation of the old Europe into the new, peaceful, democratic Europe. We all owe them gratitude for that. But it is not only that, because their freedom and independence is today an indivisible part of our freedom and independence. Without their independence, we have no independence. That must also be a leading theme when we discuss European-Russian relations.

The upcoming Summit is important, but there are four things that the European Union must secure. The first is an understanding that if you do not respect Estonia, you do not respect the European Union, and that erodes all sorts of agreements that we can achieve. There must be a mutual understanding in all sorts of discussions. Otherwise, the goals we can achieve will not be worth the paper they are written on.

Secondly, you cannot threaten and harass one of the Member States and at the same time develop relations with others. You cannot reach agreements on energy, trade and other areas if they do not relate to all the Member States with equal rights and equal opportunities. We must ensure that Russia has no belief at all, and no room for believing, that it can divide us in this sense by providing energy to one country while harassing another.

Thirdly, the discussion about Russia and Estonia is not about Estonia. It is about the political developments in Russia. We need to secure progress in Russia in order to secure progress in the relations between the European Union and Russia. If we do not defend Estonia’s independence, we will all lose a part of our own.