EU calls on Russia to remove EPDE's listing as "undesirable"
The European External Action Service (EEAS) has called on Russia to remove EPDE's listing as an "undesirable organization". This listing "further reduces the space for civil society and restricts the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia", EEAS denounced.
A statement by the EEAS spokesperson reads:
"This week’s listing of the European Platform for Democratic Elections and the International Election Study Centre as "undesirable organisations" further reduces the space for civil society and restricts the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia, just ahead of the presidential elections of 18 March.
These organisations support or conduct citizens’ election observation in the Eastern Partnership countries, the Russian Federation and the European Union. Such independent observation is a necessary element for free, transparent and credible elections. Their listing means that all their activities and information material are from now on banned in Russia. These restrictions should be removed and the Russian authorities need to ensure that civil society organisations are able to contribute fully to Russia’s development."
See the full statement here.
Rebecca Harms, Member of the European Parliament and Co-President of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, and Othmar Karas, Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, also criticized the listing in a open letter.
On 13 March 2018, the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), a civil society network of independent election observation organizations, and its Lithuanian member International Elections Study Center (IESC) were classified as "undesirable organizations" by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation.
EPDE protested against this decision.