Czech Senate supports EU strategy towards Russia

The Czech Senate on August 25 approved the EU’s strategy towards Russia, which provides for a coordinated approach and strengthening the EU’s resilience to hybrid or energy security threats. Senators also pointed to the need to support Russian civil society from the EU.

The strategy was prepared in June by the head of EU diplomacy Josep Borrell. Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulganek described the document as a shift in the strategic discussion of EU-Russia relations. However, it lacks more detailed proposals on approaches to Russia. According to him, the document also does not mention the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could have an impact on Central and Eastern Europe.

In line with the recommendation of its Foreign Affairs Committee, the Senate supported the coordinated approach of the EU and its member states in their relations with the Russian Federation. He recalled the conclusions of the EU Council, condemning the illegal, provocative and subversive activities of the Russian Federation against the EU and its member states, including the participation of Russian agents in the explosions in Vrbetice.

The upper house of parliament condemned the repression of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin against journalists, representatives of the political opposition and civil society. Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will not be able to attend the September elections to the Russian parliament.

Czech senators stressed in the resolution the need to implement the Minsk agreements on the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine as key conditions for the EU so that relations with Russia would change for the better. They spoke in favor of strengthening relations with the EU’s eastern partners. They supported selective cooperation with Russia on issues of interest to the EU, such as climate protection or the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.