The European Parliament’s delegations maintain relations and exchange information with parliaments in non-EU countries. Through its delegations, the European Parliament helps to represent the European Union externally and to promote in third countries the values on which the European Union is founded, namely the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law.
There are currently 44 delegations. I sit on the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (D-RU) and is a substitute member for the Delegation for relations with the People’s Republic of China (D-CN)
- Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee
- Delegation for Relations with the People’s Republic of China
Due to its history and current strategic importance as a one of the key actors on the world stage, Russia has been a focal point of EU attention. The Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) was constituted in December 1997, and has since served as a platform for the development of political and economic cooperation and for continued dialogue between the two parliamentary institutions.
The EU-Russia PCC is composed of an equal number of Members of the European Parliament and of the two chambers of the National Assembly of the Russian Federation, the State Duma and the Federation Council. The PCC meets once or twice a year in one of the working places of the European Parliament, and also has regular Working Group meetings in different places in the Russian Federation.
The relationship between the European Union (EU) and the Russian Federation has been turbulent over the years, reflecting a very complex approach of both sides to the strategic partnership. Indeed, relations with the Russian Federation remain a foreign and security policy priority for the EU.
Unfortunately, EU-Russia relations have seriously deteriorated since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis in the autumn of 2013. The EU affirmed its support to the territorial integrity of Ukraine and condemned the annexation of Crimea by Russia in May 2014 and Russia’s actions in destabilising Eastern Ukraine. In May, July and August 2014, the EU took a series of sanctions against Russia, which mainly consist of economic measures, such as restrictions of the Russian access to EU capital markets and companies, an embargo on the import and export of arms and visa bans imposed on 95 persons and 23 entities involved in the Ukrainian crisis. In August 2014, Russia retaliated by imposing an embargo over agricultural and food products from the EU.
D-RU concentrates primarily on:
- Resolving conflict in ex-Soviet satellite states; in particular in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia.
- The rule of law and respect of human rights in Russia.
- Economic, and more particularly, energy cooperation between Russia and the EU.
- The improvement of living conditions of all Russian citizens.
- The fight against corruption in Russia.
- Visa cooperation between EU Member States and Russia.
The Delegation for Relations with the People’s Republic of China was established in 1975. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner, while China is the EU’s largest source of imports and second largest two-way trading partner. Annual summits and regular political, trade and economic dialogues are held, including over fifty thematic dialogues and agreements.
The main task of the delegation is to maintain relations with the China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) through regular inter-parliamentary meetings. The delegation is also the focal point for relations with the Legislative Councils of the Special Administrative Regions (SAR) of Hong Kong and Macao.
The EU supports the process of economic and social reform underway in China. It backs China’s transition towards an open society based upon the rule of law and respect for human rights, and believes this will benefit China’s development and social stability.
D-CN’s main policy objectives:
- To engage China further, both bilaterally and on the world stage, through an upgraded political dialogue.
- To support China’s transition to an open society based upon the rule of law and respect for human rights.
- To encourage the integration of China in the world economy through bringing it fully into the world trading system, and supporting the process of economic and social reform that is continuing in China.
- To raise the EU’s profile in China.