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BRUSSELS, September 25. /ITAR-TASS/. European Parliament leaders have made an attempt to silence Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka over her position on Crimea.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz and Chairman of its Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok strongly criticized Zdanoka’s recent visit to Crimea on August 12, her statements made there and her position on the legitimacy of the March 16 referendum in which Crimean residents voted for accession to Russia.
Schulz said in his letter to Zdanoka that her remarks made during the trip to Crimea were “fundamentally wrong” and “completely contradictory to the position of the European Parliament and of the EU”.
“That’s nonsense,” Zdanoka replied. “According to the European Parliament regulations, MEPs are required to adhere to the position stated in the EP resolutions only when they speak on behalf of the EP or are members of official delegations. Their personal opinions as individuals and politicians or statements made during their own working trips fall under the notion of the freedom of conscience and speech. EU leaders can’t cancel them no matter how hard they may try. Without the freedom of speech, the European Union will become a simple tool for international corporations, hostile to ordinary people.”
In her written reply to Schulz and Brok, Zdanoka said, “The EP leadership must realize that after the violent coup in Kiev, supported by the West, the population of Crimea could not put up with the possibility of losing the official status of the Russian language, the native language of the majority of people living in Crimea, and with the terror of the far-right groups closely associated with the authorities in Kiev.”
“The Republic of Crimea has just as much right to self-determination as Scotland, Catalonia, Corsica or any other ethnic region in Europe. People in Crimea used their right,” Zdanoka said.
Zdanoka was re-elected to the European Parliament for the third time in May of this year, remaining one of the staunchest advocates of Russian-speaking people’s rights in Europe, primarily in the Baltic states.