Monday, 27 February, in Moscow was held a joint meeting of the international Committee of the Federation Council and of the Commission of the French Senate on foreign Affairs and defense.
Policy signed a Memorandum of cooperation. Commenting on the document, the President of the international Federation Council Committee Konstantin Kosachev told reporters that the delegates and senators during the discussion I disagreed with him about the situation in Ukraine on the settlement of the Syrian conflict and NATO’s role in international cooperation. Thus, according to the Senator, the representatives of the French delegation “strongly consolidated and” argued against the practice of applying sanctions against Russian parliamentarians. “We also talked about the fact that the French delegation would be prepared to support the return of the delegation of the Federal Assembly of Russia in PACE,” — said Kosachev.
Rights of the Russian delegation in the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) were limited after the annexation of Crimea to Russia. The delegation, in particular, was denied the right to vote.
Arrangements for a joint meeting of the committees was reached during a meeting of Chairman of Federation Council Valentina Matvienko with her French counterpart Gerard Larcher in October 2016.
The French delegation was headed by the President of the Senate Jean-Pierre Raffarin as. He served as Prime Minister from 2002 to 2005, and since October 2014 head of the Senate Commission on international Affairs, is center-right party “the Republicans”, which member is also the ex-President of France Nicolas Sarkozy.
The signed Memorandum also provides for cooperation in the sphere of security and combating terrorism. Politicians agreed to cooperate in the fight against climate change, security threats and terrorism, the document says (at the disposal). “Time is running out, spurs us on to external circumstances, Europe is faced with perhaps the most serious crisis since the cold war — said the Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Konstantin Kosachev. — It came to a sharp increase in military presence along the mutual borders, and, whether we like it or not, the output needs to look, it is our common duty to the voters.” The Senator added that even “a crisis such topics as Ukrainian and Syrian” should not interfere with the mutual cooperation of the Russian Parliament and the French Senate.
The Russian side attaches great importance to the meeting, said Kosachev. “After the introduction of the EU anti-Russian sanctions we see in many national parliaments of the EU countries, as well as in the European Parliament, there was a sense that these sanctions also apply to parliamentary contacts, we began to receive signals from European colleagues that they can’t communicate because of sanctions”, — said Kosachev. The Russian side has repeatedly pointed out the fallacy of this approach, and, according to Kosachev, constructive cooperation managed to establish with the parliaments of more than half of the EU countries.
However, parliamentarians of France, was not only cooperate, but also to enter new format of work, said Kosachev. In 2015, the international Commission of the French Senate produced a report about the relations with Russia. In it, the parliamentarians spoke of the need to be “fixed” in relations with Moscow, but offered to begin the process of lifting the sanctions, primarily with individuals. In March 2016 the delegation of the Russian senators also discussed the report with colleagues in Paris, and then prepared its own version of the report. It said that future relations between the two countries will depend on how yourself can behave in France in Europe and in the international arena, and key areas of cooperation were identified in the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine.
At the meeting in Moscow, the senators discussed the Russian report, said Kosachev, and in the future may prepare a joint report.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea to Russia the French parliamentarians did not stop cooperation with the Russian colleagues, and in 2015 a group of deputies of the lower house of France, headed by member of the party “the Republicans” Thierry Mariani visited the Crimea.
The visit of the French senators is a public demonstration that the dialogue at parliamentary level are necessary and important, said Kosachev. Important factor of France — one of the largest countries of the European Union, relations with which are especially important given the presidential election and the debate that goes on in French society, how justified is selected in relation to the Russia line.
Presidential elections will be held in France in April. One of the favorites of the campaign is the candidate the “Republicans” françois Fillon, about which more than once positively spoke, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The same format is proposed to organize with the upper house of the Parliament of Finland, Italy, have reached an agreement with the Hungarian senators, who will arrive in may, said Kosachev.