- Europees Parlement , donderdag 16 februari 2017
Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, on behalf of the ALDE Group
Mr President, I would only say: what is new? Nothing. Russia is still occupying parts of eastern Ukraine and it still has the Crimea annexed and it is speeding up its military intervention in the east of Ukraine. So unfortunately, what is new? Nothing. Can we accept it? No. We have sanctions, they should be continued, but it is also possible that if Russia goes on in this way we will increase the sanctions and have more smart sanctions against Russia.
Russia is active not only in Ukraine, as we know, but also in Georgia. It is active in a cyber way in the Baltic States, so this is the Russian policy. Happily, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, the new Ambassador, was quite strong in her condemnation when she was inaugurated in the Security Council. This policy by Russia is wrong and it should be redressed.
Secondly, we need the Association Agreement and I am happy that the Dutch Government recently tabled again the introductory bill for the Association Agreement in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament and after that it will be sent to the Senate. So I hope that this will be completed in the foreseeable future, which means maybe two or three months. We need this Association Agreement.
And again, we have to be tough because Russia has to know that there is no alternative for it but to withdraw from Ukraine, to give up Crimea and to engage with us in a normal way, and I hope that the United States is at our side. So I hope that representatives of Parliament, of the Commission, of the Council will also visit Washington DC because this cooperation is, I think, vital. We are getting many signs and signals from Washington. Let us see what the real signal is. I hope that it is that of the Ambassador to the United Nations.
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