Four Questions to Henri Malosse, President of the EU Economic and Social Committee, on His Visa Ban to Russia

http://www.libertas-institut.com/eufaj European Union Foreign Affairs Journal. http://www.libertas-institut.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/EUFAJ-2-2015.pdf pag.94

Henri Malosse

       Henri Malosse

Henri Malosse is, as representative of the employers‘ organisation, the 30th President of the European Economic and Social Committee, a consultative institution to the other ones in the EU. The multilingual French is known as dedicated European. He is member of the EESC since 1995 and found himself on a list of 89 European politicians – one of four in France – on a visa ban list of Russia. This list showed that the EU sanctions worked, as it was declared to be a retaliatory measure to the EU sanctions. Unlike the EU

visa bans which can be contested and have clear reasons for every single case, the Russian visa bans cannot be contested and seem to be decided arbitrarily. – The interview was made by Maria del Carmen Aguilera García, on the above picture with Henri Malosse.

EUFAJ: Mr. Malosse, you are on the list of EU politicians who are no longer allowed to travel to Russia. Were there any early warnings for the people on this list, and you can imagine why you’re on this list?

Henri Malosse: I was very surprised to be one of the 89 EU public figures to be on the Kremlin black list as retaliatory measures after the EU issues sanctions against Russia following the annexion of Crimea and support to the separatists in Donetsk.

I understand that they put me on the list as I have been one of the most active EU leaders to give official support to Euromaidan movement. But I never expressed any hostility to Russia, just the opposite. I have just supported the civic movement for democracy and fight against corruption. This is why I was very disappointed.

EUFAJ: And did you intend to spend your next holiday in Russia?

Henri Malosse: I am very familiar with Russia, and I speak Russian. I have been there very often and have a lot of friends , including in Government and civil society organisations. I have been asked to give lectures at MGIMO, the diplomatic academy. I was even invited in summer 2013 to attend the Seliger forum with young people where president Putin participated. I enjoyed there a total freedom of speech.

EUFAJ: If you would get Russian visitors in Brussels, as president of the EESC, would you receive them?

Henri Malosse: Of course I am very open to welcome any Russian delegation. Dialogue is needed! I will even open end of June the Annual EU-Russia Civil Society Forum which will take place in Brussels,

EUFAJ: Isn’t it a great appreciation of the EESC when its president suddenly gets a visa ban to Russia – which shows that Russia takes note of this institution?

Henri Malosse: Yes, my name is now famous in Russia! I have been several times interviewed in very important media including 1st TV channel; they invited me to speak due to my moderate and open approach. I have always repeated that we shouldn’t come to a new Cold War and that the Russian nation belongs to Europe. This is the paradox in this situation, but perhaps just apparently paradox. Russia wants to express its retaliation by issuing bans also to people known in Russia as rather pro-Russian.

EUFAJ: Thanks, Mr. Malosse, for your four replies!

By Carmen Aguilera García

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