WINDHOEK – European Union (EU) Ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova feels Namibia should encourage dialogue between Russia and the EU instead of sanctions.
The EU has imposed restrictive measures against the Russian Federation, following the dispute over Crimea.
The EU ambassador said Namibia and Russia enjoy historical bilateral relations and the two countries are tirelessly working to deepen bilateral relations and cooperation through the inter-governmental commission.
The last commission reviewed key sectors such as health, education, energy, defence, agriculture, transport and trade.
“Namibia may wish to seek clarity from the EU how the sanctions against Russia will be maintained and whether they are achieving the intended results. Namibia should encourage the dialogue between Russia and the EU instead of sanctions,” she said on Wednesday during a political dialogue between the EU delegation and the Namibian government.
The EU is focusing on de-escalating the crisis in Ukraine and on assisting Ukraine to ensure a stable, prosperous and democratic future for all its citizens.
In March 2014, the European Council agreed on diplomatic measures in response to Russian actions in Ukraine.
The diplomatic measures were followed by restrictive measures (asset freezes and visa bans).
The EU imposed economic sanctions in July 2014 and reinforced them in September 2014. In march 2015, the European Council linked the duration of those economic restrictions to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.
Hybaskova also touched on migration, saying in 2014 June the EU leaders reached an agreement on how to handle refugees and irregular migrants.
Africa continues to host the largest number of displaced people worldwide.
In 2017, some 24.2 million people in Africa were forced to flee as a result of conflict, persecution, other human rights abuses and food insecurity.
Namibia called on the EU to continue assisting the migrants, especially women and children as per the decision taken at the AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in November 2017.
She also touched on the increasing success of right-wing parties. She said populism is on the rise across Europe with populist parties taking strong footholds in 20 of the EU member states, either as governing parties or as opposition parties.
Research has shown that populist share of votes in national elections averaged 18-27 percent since the 2014 European parliamentary elections and the largest increase of populism has been recorded in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Italy, Slovenia and Finland.
These movements advocate nationalist and right-wing views of “Europe Identities.”
With the European parliamentary elections scheduled for May 2019, and with the scale of traction populist parties gained thus far, fear looms that populism would dominate the affairs of the EU parliament after the 2019 elections and that populist parties may gain a significant number of seats to influence future EU policies.