11:46 GMT +308 December 2019
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    Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session on May 19, 2015, in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France

    Ministers on a Mission: MEPs Go to Russia After French MPs Visit Crimea

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    A cross-party group of 15 European MPs from various countries plans to visit Russia as part of their campaign to lift the standing EU sanctions against Russia.

    Formed late last month, the group, named “For New Dialogue With Russia”, consists of several French MEPs, Elisabetta Gardini from Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, and colleagues from Britain, Germany and Portugal.

    The group is led by Nadine Morano, who represents the center-right Les Républicains party of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    She has also initiated a colloquium at the European Parliament to discuss the aggravation of economic relations between Moscow and Brussels resulting from the EU sanctions against Russia and Moscow’s subsequent ban on food imports from the European Union.

    "Due to the Russian food embargo, the EU has already lost €21 billion and could lose up to €81 billion over time. For the French agricultural sector, the food embargo has been dramatic, and we can all see the direct effects of the government's international policy," Morano claimed.

    The MEPs are going to expand their union and eventually to revise the EU sanctions against Russia.

    A delegation of ten French parliamentarians arrived in Russia on Tuesday for a three-day trip which will also include a visit to Crimea.

    The delegation is led Thierry Mariani, one of the prominent members of Sarkozy's party, who has at various times served as a government minister of the environment and of transport.

    Thierry Mariani also co-chairs the “Franco-Russian Dialogue” association with “Russian Railways” CEO Vladimir Yakunin.


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    European Union, anti-Russian sanctions, visit, MEPs, European Parliament, Thierry Mariani, Nadine Morano, Elisabetta Gardini, Russia, Europe
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