German left-wing lawmakers ponder visit to Crimea

The Reichstag building, seat of the Bundestag, the German lower house of parliament, is pictured in Berlin. © Tobias Schwarz
MPs from the German parliamentary party ‘The Left’ have positively assessed the recent visit to Crimea by French lawmakers and said that they’d also consider the possibility of personal trip to the republic and assessment of the situation there.

I think that the French parliamentarian’s trip was a right thing to do. Being elected by the people it was their duty to tell and show the official French authorities, politicians and the society as a whole what is really going on in Crimea right now. This is a correct and demonstrative decision,” Bundestag MP Alexander Neu told Russian mass circulation daily Izvestia.

He added that The Left had serious disagreements with other German parliamentary parties over foreign policy and this made it more appropriate for its representatives to make a personal visit to the Crimean Republic.

© Artem Kreminsky

Neu’s statement became yet another demonstration of intent from a European lawmaker made after the breakthrough visit to Crimea of a French delegation headed by MP Thierry Mariani (The Republicans bloc) in late July this year. When this visit was completed, Mariani told reporters that he and his colleagues found the people in the region to be free and happy, especially about the fact that they did not have to face the same situation as the people who live in Lugansk and Donetsk, currently engulfed in a civil war with Kiev authorities. He also added that in his opinion there were no grounds to keep the EU sanctions against Russia in place.

READ MORE: French MPs to make historical visit to reunited Crimea

Shortly after the French MPs returned from Crimea, several Italian parliamentarians from the Euroskeptic movement Five Stars and the nationalist party Liga Nord said that they intended to visit the republic and get a firsthand experience of the situation there.

A group of Italian MPs have decided to follow the example of their French colleagues to pay a personal visit to the Crimean Republic in order to get firsthand information on people’s lives and the political situation on the ground.

The organizer of the visit, MP Manlio Di Stefano, said that the delegation would be headed by a member of the parliamentary Committee for Foreign Relations, Alessandro di Batista, and that they had received an invitation from Russian MP Andrey Klimov, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the State Duma.

READ MORE: Italian lawmakers announce plans for Crimea visit in October

Last week the head of the State Duma Committee for International Relations Aleksey Pushkov told reporters that Russia could allow the visit to Crimea by the head of PACE’s Social-Democratic caucus, Andreas Gross, albeit not within the remit of the Russia-PACE dialogue that was seriously impeded by the anti-Russian sanctions.

Pushkov added that the visits of European politicians to Crimea was a mark of a new, more democratic approach to the choice of the Crimean people as earlier Europe had de facto refused the republic the right to choose its fate during what could be described as a coup in Kiev. He said that European lawmakers who have already visited Crimea could be seen as protectors of traditional democratic values as European politicians have always emphasized the necessity to listen to ordinary people rather than governments alone.

READ MORE: Russia allows for unofficial visit of PACE delegation to Crimea