EU-Russia tensions: EU Commissioner cancels Moscow visit over ‘unacceptable restrictions'

13:59 Oct. 11, 2016

EU Commissioner cancels Moscow visit over ‘unacceptable restrictions'

Nils Muiznieks, EU Commissioner for Human Rights (GettyImages Photo)

'Accepting Russia's conditions would be unjust and ineffective', Nils Muiznieks said

European Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks has canceled his visit to Moscow because of ‘unacceptable restrictions', imposed to his program by the Russian authorities.

This is according to the official website of the Council of Europe.

The Commissioner's visit, which was scheduled for the third week of October, was supposed to be focused on ‘several human rights issues'.

Read also: Putin cancels Paris visit after Hollande's comments - media

The conditions of such visits are similar for all countries, Muiznieks said. Moscow, however, decided to adjust the program to its vision.

‘The proposed restriction of the visit to approximately 48 hours in Moscow alone, with only one full working day, would have not allowed sufficient time to carry out a substantive country visit as I do in all Council of Europe member states, where I meet the authorities, national human rights institutions, civil society, and other relevant interlocutors, and I visit places of human rights relevance including outside the capital', the Commissioner stated.

Muiznieks said, he treated all countries by the same standards, and accepting Moscow's special conditions ‘would have been unjust and ineffective'.

Read also: EC reiterates Juncker's visit to Russia not mean 'softening' of European position

‘I hope that the authorities of the Russian Federation will change their stance and restore full co-operation with my office by facilitating the independent and effective performance of my mandate in the future, including within Russia itself', he said.

Despite the incident, the Commissioner vows to continue monitoring the human rights situation in Russia ‘from afar'. 

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