Saturday

25th Feb 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.

Feature

Armenia-Azerbaijan war: Line of contact

“Frontline coffee is the best coffee in the world”, an Armenian lieutenant told EUobserver, with soldiers' morale among their strongest weapons in the war against an oil-rich foe.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish court jails former IMF chief Rato
  2. Macron proposes Nordic-style economic model for France
  3. Germany posts record high budget surplus
  4. Labour ousts Ukip in Brexit homeland
  5. Dutch lower house approves EU-Ukraine treaty
  6. WTO says Russian pork ban was illegal
  7. Belgian nuclear plant made 'significant progress' on safety
  8. Report: Commission gauging EU support for Poland sanctions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EURORDISJoin the Rare Disease Day and Help to Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  4. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  5. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  6. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  7. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  8. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  9. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  10. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations