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Monica Macovei: The EU has to be harsher in its sanctions against Russia 

Monica Macovei: The EU has to be harsher in its sanctions against Russia 

Member of the EU Parliament Monica Macovei called to enforce the sanctions of the European Union against Russia because of Moscow’s support of pro-Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine, and also called the EU to confidently get rid of fuel dependence on Moscow. Monica Macovei who held the post of Minister of Justice in the Romanian government before the country joined the EU in 2007, says that the period of meeting the demands to join the EU and the NATO is the best for eliminating corruption in post-communist states. 

Monica Macovei, as part of the previous EU Parliament, engaged in the most active participation in the debates regarding Ukrainian issues – particularly in the approval of the resolutions after the annex of Crimea and destabilisation of the East of Ukraine, which conditioned the necessity of sanctions against Russia.

Back then it created grounds for the leaders of the EU and the EU Commission to implement, and later enforce, the second phase of the EU sanctions, which prescribes the seizure of assets and prohibition of entry to those connected to the annex of Crimea and the destabilisation of the Ukrainian East. Macovei was elected to the new EU Parliament as well, and is part of the biggest group – the European People’s Party.

In the question of sanctions, however, Macovei is disappointed, thinking that the EU acted slowly. “The Russians are mocking us – as the sanctions are not enough,” says she.

“I hope and expect that the EU will be harsher, as the lesson has been learned. The EU was not confident in the beginning of the crisis, but with the help of the United States, which were more assertive in the beginning, we are able to say that together we are now holding a firmer position,” adds Macovei.

Moscow’s fuel blackmail

Europe, according to Macovei, is divided – sometimes Poland, the Baltic states or Romania understand the danger Russia poses to Ukraine – and for themselves! – better than the “old” members of the EU. Besides, she thinks that Russia has managed to create a powerful lobby in Europe, having worked especially “fruitfully” among the European left-wing and ultra-right wing representatives.

But Europe’s most important problem is Russian fuel, noted the Romanian member of the EU parliament in an interview to Radio Svoboda.

“We don’t want to allow the Russian Federation to win this war, so to speak,” says Macovei. “And also we want to end this gas dependence. We cannot be blackmailed constantly!”

The danger of the current moment, according Macovei, lies in the fact that after Ukraine, Moldova could be next, and the Baltic states have significant Russian-speaking minorities which Moscow may decide to suddenly “protect,” as was the case with Crimea.

She called for the EU to significantly increase financial aid to the countries of the “Eastern Partnership,” thinking that Washington could also be more active in terms of economical aid.

When is it best to fight corruption

Monica Macovei has worked quite a long time in the Balkans to help fight corruption on the legislative level, including work as part of the British diplomatic mission in Skopje.

“Without corruption the transition from communism to democracy and capitalism cannot pass. Corrupt police, courts, much “shadiness” during privatisation and tenders. The most important thing is accountability. But there is a paradox here: membership in the EU may “relax” in comparison with the period when the country worked on the carrying out of criteria for membership,” says Macovei.

“The process of the road to the NATO and the EU, when politicians are under pressure, this disciplines them. Therefore this pressure on EU and NATO candidate countries on part of Brussels or Washington is very useful,” she adds.

The problem of the post-Soviet states and the Balkan states, according to Macovei, is also the fact that sometimes the right laws are passed, but not always adhered to.

Source: Radio Svoboda

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

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