Two hundred MEPs call for European sanctions to focus on corruption

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Recent demonstrations in Russia that have taken place for the last weeks in all regions  of this country are a clear protest of Russian citizens towards President Vladimir Putin and a  strong signal of solidarity towards the unlawfully arrested and sanctioned Alexei Navalny, a  Russian anti-corruption activist and leader of the political opposition.

Protests have quickly  become a symbol of the struggle for freedom of expression, democracy and political rights as  well as the lack of peoples’ approval for the corruption of the government and the president  that Mr Navalny has uncover. The world cannot remain silent in this situation.

A decisive  reaction from the international community, and especially from the European Union, in  reaction to the illegal detention and imprisonment of Navalny and other anti-corruption  activists is an urgent need. Many of you, Foreign Affairs Ministers and you, Mr High Representative has spoken quickly calling for an immediate release of Mr Navalny, thank you  for doing so.

At stake is the credibility of the EU and the whole international community, both:  in the eyes of its own citizens and in the perception of our partners around the world. History  proves that leniency towards authoritarian power only consolidate a regime.

Meanwhile, the  number of people arrested during the latest demonstrations is a record in a post-Soviet  Russia. The persecution of political opponents and the attempt to poison them is already a  fact. By sentencing Alexei Navalny to 3,5 years imprisonment without any legal basis and  factual evidence, the Russian government disregards even more all international and legal  obligations and mocks the rule of law. These are all facts for which we have hard evidence. It  is now time for a strong political response. 

In our opinion, the EU’s adequate response to this situation are personal sanctions for Russian  oligarchs and people who enable Putin’s government to persecute political opponents and 

mass arrests of protesting citizens. Clear legal criteria are needed to implement them at EU  level. Such a tool is already in place and it is the Regulation concerning restrictive measures  against serious human rights violations and abuses. The document adopted in December  2020 by the EU Council, commonly referred to as the “EU Magnitsky Act”, following the  example of American solutions, aims to accelerate the EU sanctions procedure.  Unfortunately, the current text of the Council Regulation lacks a very important clause on  corruption as a reason for imposing sanctions. Alexei Navalny was one of many who has been  appealing for such a clause being included in the Regulation. While being a speaker at the  European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee in November 2020, he said bluntly: “If only possible, the EU should follow the money. Russian oligarchs, old and young, the circle around  Putin should be in the EU’s sights when it comes to sanctions, it makes no sense to only  impose sanctions on generals or lieutenants who travel little and have no real estate in the  EU”. 

Sanctions on Russian oligarchs – according to Navalny – would gain the support of the vast  majority of Russian society and would have the expected effect – fear and a change in the  behaviour of the Russian authorities. 

Therefore, we, as National Parliamentarians and Members of the European Parliament, call  on the EU governments and the European Commission to extend the catalogue of crimes in  Art. 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 of 7 December 2020 and to include the corruption as a sufficient reason for imposing EU sanctions. We also call, in the second step,  to apply this regulation to the Russian oligarchs and associates of Vladimir Putin who have  been repeatedly proven to be involved in corrupt activities. Moreover, we strongly believe  that sanctions should also be applied against high-rank officials and clerks of Russian  administration, especially in judiciary and power’s structures of regime who are involved in  the unlawful sentence and poisoning of the political opposition leader, Alexei Navalny. 

Only a bold and firm reaction of the European Union to the events taking place in Russia can  contribute to the democratization of the Russian political system, stabilize European  continent and support the vast majority of Russian citizens in their fight for the dignity, civil  liberties and political freedoms. The democratic world cannot consent to political murders, 

imprisonment of political opponents and unlawful court sentences. Silence and the lack of  adequate sanctions implies such a consent. Demonstrations of many hundreds of thousands,  which have been taking place for several weeks, are also the Russians’ call for help from the  democratic world. 

Kind regards, 

MP Kluzik-Rostkowska Joanna, the Polish Parliament 

Halicki Andrzej, Member of the European Parliament 

Guetta Bernard, Member of the European Parliament 

Kubilius Andrius, Member of the European Parliament 

Lexmann Miriam, Member of the European Parliament 

Niedermayer Ludek, Member of the European Parliament 

Terras Riho, Member of the European Parliament 

Adamowicz Magdalena, Member of the European Parliament 

Andrews Barry, Member of the European Parliament 

Ansip Andrus, Member of the European Parliament 

Ara-Kovacs Attila; Member of the European Parliament 

Arba Kokalari, Member of the European Parliament 

Arena Maria, Member of the European Parliament 

Arłukowicz Bartosz, Member of the European Parliament 

Bas Eickhout, Member of the European Parliament 

Basescu Traian, Member of the European Parliament 

Belka Marek, Member of the European Parliament 

Biedroń Robert, Member of the European Parliament 

Bilčík Vladimír, Member of the European Parliament 

Brudziński Joachim, Member of the European Parliament 

Buzek Jerzy, Member of the European Parliament,  

Cimoszewicz Włodzimierz, Member of the European Parliament 

Csaba Molnár, Member of the European Parliament 

Dobrev Klára, Member of the European Parliament 

Donath Anna, Member of the European Parliament 

Falca Gheorghe, Member of the European Parliament

Bogovič Franc, Member of the European Parliament

Frankowski Tomasz, Member of the European Parliament

Gheorghe Vlad, Member of the European Parliament

Glucksmann Raphaël, Member of the European Parliament

Grudler Christophe, Member of the European Parliament

Hansen Christophe, Member of the European Parliament

Hetman Krzysztof, Member of the European Parliament

Huebner Danuta, Member of the European Parliament

Jaki Patryk, Member of the European Parliament

Jarubas Adam, Member of the European Parliament

Jukneviciene Rasa, Member of the European Parliament

Jurzyca Eugen, Member of the European Parliament

Kalniete Sandra, Member of the European Parliament

Kim van Sparrentak, Member of the European Parliament

Kohut Łukasz, Member of the European Parliament

Kuźmiuk Zbigniew, Member of the European Parliament

Lega David, Member of the European Parliament

Lewandowski Janusz, Member of the European Parliament

López Gil Leopoldo, Member of the European Parliament

Łukaciejewska Elżbieta, Member of the European Parliament

Maldeikiene Ausra, Member of the European Parliament

Mazurek Beata, Member of the European Parliament

Mazylis Liudas, Member of the European Parliament

Melbarde Dace, Member of the European Parliament

Mikser Sven, Member of the European Parliament

Możdżanowska Andżelika, Member of the European Parliament

Ochojska Janina, Member of the European Parliament

Olbrycht Jan, Member of the European Parliament

Peter Lundgren, Member of the European Parliament

Polfjärd Jessica, Member of the European Parliament

Radan Kanev, Member of the European Parliament

Ries Frédérique, Member of the European Parliament

Rodríguez Ramos Maria Soraya, Member of the European Parliament

Rookmaker Dorien, Member of the European Parliament

Ruissen Bert-Jan, Member of the European Parliament 

Rzońca Bogdan, Member of the European Parliament 

Sándor Rónai, Member of the European Parliament 

Santos Isabel, Member of the European Parliament 

Sarvamaa Petri, Member of the European Parliament 

Sikorski Radosław, Member of the European Parliament, 

Šimečka Michal, Member of the European Parliament 

Stefanec Ivan, Member of the European Parliament 

Stefanuta Nicolae, Member of the European Parliament 

Szydło Beata, Member of the European Parliament 

Tarczynski Dominik, Member of the European Parliament

Tertsch Hermann, Member of the European Parliament 

Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein Róża, Member of the European Parliament

Tineke Strik, Member of the European Parliament 

Tobé Tomas, Member of the European Parliament 

Tomac Eugen, Member of the European Parliament 

Tudorache Ioan-Dragos, Member of the European Parliament

Vaidere Inese, Member of the European Parliament 

Van Dalen Peter, Member of the European Parliament 

Vandenkendelaere Tom, Member of the European Parliament

Verhofstadt Guy, Member of the European Parliament 

Warborn Jörgen, Member of the European Parliament 

Waszczykowski Witold, Member of the European Parliament

Weimers Charlie, Member of the European Parliament 

Wiśniewska Jadwiga, Member of the European Parliament

Yordanov Alexander, Member of the European Parliament

Zalewska Anna, Member of the European Parliament 

Zile Roberts, Member of the European Parliament 

Złotowski Kosma, Member of the European Parliament 

Zver Milan, Member of the European Parliament

MP Czernin Tomáš, The Czech Parliament

MP Jakob Jan, The Czech Parliament 

MP Langšádlová Helena, The Czech Parliament

MP Pekarová Adamová Markéta, The Czech Parliament

MP Schwarzenberg Karel, The Czech Parliament

MP Válek Vlastimil, The Czech Parliament

MP Aart Merry, The Estonian Parliament 

MP Kaalep Ruuben, The Estonian Parliament

MP Kert Johannes, The Estonian Parliament

MP Kokk Aivar, The Estonian Parliament 

MP Kokk Rene, The Estonian Parliament 

MP Kross Eerik-Niiles, The Estonian Parliament

MP Kruusimäe Tarmo, The Estonian Parliament

MP Ligi Jürgen, The Estonian Parliament 

MP Lotman Mihhail, The Estonian Parliament

MP Luik Jüri, The Estonian Parliament 

MP Metsoja Andres, The Estonian Parliament

MP Pikhof Heljo, The Estonian Parliament

MP Põlluaas Henn, The Estonian Parliament

MP Poolamets Anti, The Estonian Parliament

MP Reinsalu Urmas, The Estonian Parliament

MP Saar Indrek, The Estonian Parliament 

MP Saaremäe Üllar, The Estonian Parliament

MP Seeder Helir-Valdor, The Estonian Parliament

MP Sester Sven, The Estonian Parliament 

MP Sibul Priit, The Estonian Parliament 

MP Tamm Raivo, The Estonian Parliament

MP Adamowicz Piotr, The Polish Parliament

MP Arndt Paweł, The Polish Parliament 

MP Augustyn Urszula, The Polish Parliament

MP Aziewicz Tadeusz, The Polish Parliament

MP Bieda Halina, The Polish Parliament

MP Borowski Marek, The Polish Parliament

MP Borys-Damięcka Barbara, The Polish Parliament

MP Bosacki Marcin, The Polish Parliament 

MP Chmiel Małgorzata, The Polish Parliament

MP Chybicka Alicja, The Polish Parliament 

MP Cichoń Janusz, The Polish Parliament 

MP Czernow Zofia, The Polish Parliament 

MP Fabisiak Joanna, The Polish Parliament

MP Frankiewicz Zygmunt, The Polish Parliament

MP Gajewska Kinga, The Polish Parliament

MP Gawłowski Stanisław, The Polish Parliament

MP Gelert Elżbieta, The Polish Parliament 

MP Golbik Marta, The Polish Parliament 

MP Grupiński Rafał, The Polish Parliament 

MP Haidar Riad, The Polish Parliament 

MP Janyska Maria, The Polish Parliament 

MP Kidawa-Błońska Małgorzata, The Polish Parliament

MP Kochan Magdalena, The Polish Parliament

MP Kołacz-Leszczyńska Agnieszka, The Polish Parliament

MP Kołodziej Ewa, The Polish Parliament 

MP Kozłowska Iwona, The Polish Parliament

MP Król Wojciech, The Polish Parliament 

MP Krząkała Marek, The Polish Parliament

MP Lasek Maciej, The Polish Parliament 

MP Lenartowicz Gabriela, The Polish Parliament

MP Łośko Magdalena, The Polish Parliament

MP Małecka-Libera Beata, The Polish Parliament

MP Marczułajtis-Walczak Jagna, The Polish Parliament

MP Matecka Ewa, The Polish Parliament 

MP Mrzygłocka Katarzyna, The Polish Parliament

MP Myrcha Arkadiusz, The Polish Parliament

MP Neumann Sławomir, The Polish Parliament

MP Niedziela Dorota, The Polish Parliament

MP Nowacka Barbara, The Polish Parliament

MP Nykiel Mirosława, The Polish Parliament

MP Papke Paweł, The Polish Parliament 

MP Pęcherz Janusz, The Polish Parliament 

MP Pępek Małgorzata, The Polish Parliament

MP Plura Marek, The Polish Parliament 

MP Pociej Aleksander, The Polish Parliament

MP Pomaska Agnieszka, The Polish Parliament

MP Poncyljusz Paweł, The Polish Parliament

MP Protas Jacek, The Polish Parliament 

MP Rosa Monika, The Polish Parliament 

MP Rosati Dariusz, The Polish Parliament 

MP Schetyna Grzegorz, The Polish Parliament

MP Sekuła Joanna, The Polish Parliament 

MP Sibińska Krystyna, The Polish Parliament

MP Siemoniak Tomasz, The Polish Parliament

MP Śledzińska-Katarasińska Iwona, The Polish Parliament

MP Sługocki Waldemar, The Polish Parliament

MP Sonik Bogusław, The Polish Parliament 

MP Szewiński Andrzej, The Polish Parliament

MP Szumilas Krystyna, The Polish Parliament

MP Tyszkiewicz Robert, The Polish Parliament 

MP Ujazdowski Kazimierz Michał, The Polish Parliament

MP Wasilewska Anna, The Polish Parliament

MP Wcisła Jerzy, The Polish Parliament 

MP Zdrojewski Bogdan, The Polish Parliament

MP Benčík Ján, The Slovak Parliament 

MP Cmorej Peter, The Slovak Parliament 

MP Dostál Ondrej, The Slovak Parliament 

MP Drábiková Lucia, The Slovak Parliament

MP Drdul Dominik, The Slovak Parliament

MP Halgašová Jarmila, The Slovak Parliament

MP Kozelová Monika, The Slovak Parliament

MP Kremský Peter, The Slovak Parliament

MP Krúpa Juraj, The Slovak Parliament

MP Kyselica Lukáš, The Slovak Parliament

MP Lehotský Tomáš, The Slovak Parliament

MP Liba Peter, The Slovak Parliament

MP Marcinková Vladimíra, The Slovak Parliament

MP Osuský Peter, The Slovak Parliament

MP Šeliga Juraj, The Slovak Parliament

MP Sloboda Radovan, The Slovak Parliament

MP Stančík Andrej, The Slovak Parliament

MP Szőllős Ján, The Slovak Parliament

MP Valášek Tomáš, The Slovak Parliament

MP Vetrák Milan, The Slovak Parliament

MP Viskupič Marián, The Slovak Parliament

MP Zemanová Anna, The Slovak Parliament

MP Žitňanská Jana, The Slovak Parliament

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