Human Rights Situation in Crimea: A Brief Analysis of the EP Vote

February 11, 2016

On February 3, 2016, the European Parliament adopted a resolution “on the human rights situation in Crimea, in particular of the Crimean Tatars.” The resolution reminds that “the Russian Federation has illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol and therefore violated international law, including the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act, the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the 1997 Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.”

Essentially, the European Parliament “reiterates its strong commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders” and “calls on Russia to start negotiations with Ukraine and other parties on the de-occupation of Crimea.”

584 MEPs took part in the vote; of them 472 (81%) supported the resolution, 79 (14%) voted against it, and 33 (6%) abstained.

The voting pattern is very similar to what we observed before: the overwhelming majority of the votes against the resolution has come from the far-right, eurosceptic and (far) left parties. Here is the full list of MEPs who gave voted against the resolution.


160211 - anton table


Some brief observations:

1. In comparison to the previous EP vote on Russia (“State of EU-Russia relations”), the share of the “against” votes decreased from 19% to 14%. (Abstentions decreased from 10% to 6%.) This means that fewer MEPs are now ready to remain favourable to, or uncritical of, Russia’s aggressive foreign policy.

2. Already for the second time, Belgian MEP Gerolf ANNEMANS from the far right Vlaams Belang abstained, although previously he used to vote against resolutions critical of Russia’s actions.

3. Peter LUNDGREN and Kristina WINBERG from the far right Sweden Democrats have made further progress: in the previous vote on the Russia-related resolution they abstained, while they used to vote against similar resolutions. This time, they supported the resolution, and, therefore, rebelled against their Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy Group.

4. The overwhelming majority of the MEPs from eurosceptic UKIP supported the resolution (except for Tim AKER who abstained), although they used to vote against similar resolutions in the past.