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European Commission

[Check Against Delivery]

Štefan Füle

European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy

Crimea referendum: major threat to the stability of the borders in Europe

European Parliament, plenary debate on 'Invasion of Ukraine by Russia'

Strasbourg, 12 March 2014

Mr. President,

Honourable members,

It is very nice to have among us Mr Petro Poroshenko and his delegation today.

I would like to make four points in connection to the debate:

Let me under the first point recall that the referendum organised in Crimea on Sunday infringes on various levels on international law as regards the state sovereignty and the inviolability and territorial integrity as well as the Ukrainian constitution.

It poses a major threat to the stability of the borders in Europe. The EU condemns the circumstances and the actual proposed question of referendum which we consider illegal illegitimate and its outcome invalid.

Furthermore the proposed Russian bill foreseeing even easier annexation of foreign territories on the basis of an alleged threat to Russian minority there and without the a corresponding treaty with the relevant neighbouring state will likewise go against international laws and principles. But is not only about Crimea, this is the most serious challenge to the Helsinki process we have seen so far. And that is why what is going on in Crimea is happening much more closer to us than many of us, many of you are ready to accept.

Second – let us do everything in our power to help the Russian leaders not to make yet another grave mistake. A mistake his successors and history teaches us certain lessons would apologise for it, as they already did, the mistake that would turn the multipolar world into a zero polar world where only one rule applies that there are no rules.

Three - let us support and help Ukraine, not only in their measured reaction so far but also in that country becoming a democratic country, with accountable government, free of corruption, with justice for all, with active involvement of civil society, and established guaranteed rights of all citizens and all minorities.

Four – let us not forget about the citizens of Moldova and Georgia and many others in the Eastern European region for whom the values and principles the EU is based on are what they aspire for.

To conclude: the Council, the Commission and after this debate I strongly believe also this House are principled, responsible and united in their readiness to adopt concrete measures but also principled responsible and united in offering in parallel a political dialogue to de-escalate the situation and find peaceful solutions because that is the way forward.

Thank you very much.

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