EU nationalists reject resolution condemning Russia

Far-right MEPs vote against non-binding resolution condemning Russian human rights abuses

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Members of eurosceptic nationalist parties in the European parliament have rejected a non-binding resolution which was passed by most MEPs condemning Russia for human rights abuses, as the gap between Russia and the West continues to widen over the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The resolution calling for a ban on the funding of political parties in the EU by non-EU "political or economic stakeholders" was drawn up by center-right European People's Party member and Lithuanian MEP Gabrielius Landsbergis.

The parliament "is deeply concerned at the ever more intensive contacts and co-operation, tolerated by the Russian leadership, between European populist, fascist and extreme right-wing parties on the one hand and nationalist groups in Russia on the other," the resolution stated.

Eurosceptic parties on both the right and the left, however - including the right wing United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) - stood against the resolution, as did nationalist parties from France and Italy.

Speaking on the resolution, UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall said his party “does not support interference by the European Commission in any aspect of funding for British political parties. UKIP supports the laws which are already in place in Britain which prohibit foreign funding of political parties."

The left-wing Bulgarian Socialists party - which has close ties with Russia - also voted against the resolution, which was pushed forward after reports claimed the right-wing French National Front (FN) had received millions of euros in loans from a Russian bank.

The EU had expressed concerns over interactions between Russian nationalists and far-right activists in Europe following a meeting of far-right groups and individuals in St Petersburg in March.

Russia "can no longer be treated as, or considered, a 'strategic partner'," the resolution stated, urging MEPs to finance "concrete projects aimed at countering Russian propaganda and misinformation."

Russia has been at loggerheads with the West since annexing Crimea in April 2014 following a referendum held by local authorities in the peninsula.

The referendum was held following the ethnic Russian-dominated autonomous Crimean government’s declaration of independence from Ukraine after former pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych fled pro-EU protests in Kiev a month earlier.

TRTWorld and agencies