The European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has made a strong statement of solidarity among the EU Member States. This was at a summit between Russia and the European Union, hosted in the southern Volga region by an assertive President Vladimir Putin.
Barroso said human rights were discussed in an open, honest spirit, and Putin appeared to support this in statements to the media: “We have discussed important problems, among them the violation of rights of Russian-speakers in the Baltic countries Estonia and Latvia. The situation of this Russian minority is unacceptable and not worthy of Europe.”
Barroso’s conclusions about EU-Russia differences also had a bearing on pressures being felt by EU member Poland.
Barroso said: “We had the occasion to say to our Russian partners that a difficulty for a Member State is a difficulty for all of us in the European Union.”
A dispute between Warsaw and Moscow has continued to delay the launch of a new EU-Russia cooperation pact.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of the EU’s current presiding nation Germany talked about Kremlin opposition protesters kept off a flight from Moscow to the summit venue, near Samara.
“Speaking openly,” Merkel said, “I hope that those who want to demonstrate this afternoon in Samara and express their opinion can do so. And I am worried that some of them had problems and could not get there. But perhaps such an expression of opinion can nevertheless impose itself.”
The Kremlin refuted any allegations of foul play involved in the political dissidents not being able to travel.