The European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on June 10 that assailed Russian aggression in Ukraine and appealed for European Union unity in the face of Kremlin policies aimed at dividing the continent.
The resolution, adopted by a 494-135 vote with 69 abstentions, urged the 28-member European Union to take steps to counter Russia’s vast propaganda apparatus, especially state-controlled television channels. In addition, the resolution called for broader transparency concerning foreign funding for politically related activities, including the creation of an EU-wide mechanism “to monitor financial, political or technical assistance provided by Russia to political parties and other organizations in the EU and to assess its [Moscow’s] influence over [European] political life and public opinion,” a European Parliament statement noted.
Gabrielius Landsbergis, the Lithuanian MEP who drafted the resolution, said the EU needs to come to grips with the fact that Russia’s current political course is inimical to European democratic values.
“The Russian leadership has put our [EU-Russian] relations at a crossroads,” the European Parliament statement quoted Landsbergis as saying. “A change in Russia can, and will come from within. Meanwhile we must send to the Russian leadership a strong message that we stand united with the victims of its aggression [i.e. Ukraine] and those who stand for the values the EU is founded on.”
In comments to the Baltic Times, Landsbergis suggested that a way to counter Russian propaganda would be by exposing Kremlin corrupt practices relating to energy exports to EU states.
To reduce Russia’s ability to use energy exports as geopolitical leverage, the European Parliament resolution called for the creation of an entity called the European Energy Union.
According to the statement, the European Parliament was expected on June 11 to consider a separate resolution on the security situation in the Black Sea Basin in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
The Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia joined the EU in 2004. The three were constituent republics of the Soviet Union prior to its collapse in 1991. Gabrielius Landsbergis is the grandson of Vytautas Landsbergis, the politician who led Lithuania’s independence drive in the early 1990s.