Thursday

25th May 2017

EU institutions back Putin despite vote-rigging

  • Barroso and Putin (c) in Brussels last year: 'There will continue to be contacts and indeed meetings at the highest level' (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

EU institutions have said it is business as usual with Russian leader Vladimir Putin despite questioning the legitimacy of his re-election.

Foreign relations spokeswoman Maja Kocjanic told press in Brussels on Monday (4 February): "The EU looks forward to working with the new Russian President and the Russian government in full support of Russia's modernisation agenda and trusts that the Russian leader is ready to take this forward."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

She made the endorsement despite acknowledging that international monitors from the Vienna-based democracy watchdog, the OSCE, have said the election was fixed.

The OSCE mission just a few minutes before the EU press briefing had complained that the vote-count was suspect in more than one third of ballot stations and that state media was biased in favour of Putin in the run-up to the event. It added that voters' choice was limited, with none of the main opposition candidates even allowed to run.

"Overall, we share their assessment," Kocjancic said.

For its part, the Russian Central Election Commission said Putin won by 64 percent.

The number is more credible than, for instance, the 97 percent claimed by Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov in his election last month. But Putin out-Berdymukhamedoved Berdymukhamedov in some regions, claiming 99.8% in Chechnya and 100% in one village in the Bryansk region.

Independent Russian monitoring group Golos said he really got about 50 percent overall.

The leader of the Liberal group in the EU parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, who went to Moscow on Monday to show support for anti-Putin protesters, was alone in calling for an overhaul of EU-Russia relations.

"There can be no business as usual with a country that disregards basic democratic principles," he said in an emailed statement.

Meanwhile, EU parliament chief Martin Schulz, a German Socialist, took the line that "Russia is a strategic partner" and that "We should work towards improving our ties, including in trade, energy security and global stability."

European Commission spokeswoman Pia Arkenhilde said commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso will formally congratulate Putin later in the day: "I think you know how close our relations are with the Russian President. There will continue to be contacts and indeed meetings at the highest level."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Siebert also said she will call Putin on Monday to "wish him success in his next mandate."

A British government spokesman highlighted the fact even Golos said Putin got more than 50 percent: "It is clear that the election has delivered a decisive result."

Russia: EU and US want war with Syria

Russia has accused Nato countries of trying to start a war with Syria and foment unrest in Iran - claims backed up by some Western security analysts.

News in Brief

  1. British PM to speak out on US terrorism leaks
  2. Tusk calls for 'values, not just interests' after Trump meeting
  3. Pressure grows on climate impact of EU timber harvesting
  4. US goes after Fiat Chrysler over emissions cheat
  5. Munich police break up Europe-wide burglar clan
  6. Report: VW threatened with €19.7 billion French fine
  7. Turkey begins mass trial of suspected coup leaders
  8. Merkel's CDU consolidates lead in polls

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  3. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  5. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  6. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  8. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade
  9. European Heart NetworkCall for Urgent Adoption of EU-Wide Nutrient Profiles for Nutrition & Health Claims
  10. Counter BalanceInvestment Plan for Europe More Climate Friendly but European Parliament Shows Little Ambition
  11. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi: China's Belt and Road Initiative Benefits People Around the World
  12. Malta EU 2017EU Strengthens Control of the Acquisition and Possession of Firearms

Latest News

  1. EU to Trump: Defend Western values, not your interests
  2. Nato to join Trump's anti-IS coalition
  3. Trump expected to make Nato pledge
  4. Car-sharing's promise of clean cities
  5. Openness over Brexit is 'political play', says EU ombudsman
  6. Le Pen's EU group in fresh spending scandal
  7. New EU right to data portability to cause headaches
  8. Cyber threats are inevitable, paralyzing impact is not