23rd Oct 2016

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:

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."

News in Brief

  1. Canada and Wallonia end talks without Ceta deal
  2. Juncker hopes for Canada accord in 'next few days'
  3. Romania drops opposition to Ceta
  4. Difficulties remain on Ceta deal, says Walloon leader
  5. Brexit could lead to 'some civil unrest' in Northern Ireland
  6. ECB holds rates and continues quantitive easing programme
  7. Support for Danish People's Party drops, poll
  8. Spain's highest court overturns Catalan ban on bullfighting

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity