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Rebecca Harms, the co-chairwoman of the European Parliament political group which controversial European Parliament Member (MEP) from Latvia, Tatjana Zdanoka, is a member of - the Greens/European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA), has turned to her colleagues in the European Free Alliance with a request to expel her from the Green/EFA group, reports LETA.
''From the outset of the mobilization in Ukraine late last year, the Greens/EFA group has consistently and unequivocally given its support to the civil society and opposition movements championing a pro-European course for Ukraine in Maidan Square and beyond. Greens/EFA MEPs have visited Ukraine on multiple occasions to join with and offer support to the protesters in Ukraine. The group has also pushed for the EU to do all in its power to support the movement,'' Harms points out in her letter.
''The Greens/EFA group has also been strongly critical of the involvement of Russia in the crisis and its aggressive intervention. The actions of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, notably in the Crimea and in the frontier regions of eastern Ukraine, are deeply disturbing. They are in total conflict with international law and should be met with a robust response from the EU and the international community. The Greens/EFA group has pushed for tougher sanctions against the Russian regime and its backers to this end,'' the co-chairwoman of the Greens/EFA group points out.
''Against this background, the Greens/EFA group finds the recent actions and statements of Tatjana Zdanoka - a member of the EFA section of the Greens/EFA group - totally unacceptable. Her statements and support of the Russian aggression and intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine are in complete and direct opposition with the very clear position the Greens/EFA group has taken since the outset on this issue. She is totally isolated with her position,'' Harms points out.
''I have called on the European Free Alliance side of our group to expel Tatjana Zdanoka in consequence. Any such decision can only be taken by the European Free Alliance side of our group alone. The Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament is composed of two political families: the Greens [representing MEPs from Green parties and some independents across Europe, with 51 MEPs] and the European Free Alliance. It is important to highlight that under the terms of the agreement setting up our alliance, the Green side of the group is not responsible for the composition of the EFA side,'' Harms goes on to say.
''Regardless of our categorical criticism of Tatjana Zdanoka's opposing position on the Ukrainian crisis, the Greens/EFA group nonetheless is strongly committed to upholding democratic norms, including the freedom of speech and expression,'' she points out.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry's press secretary Karlis Eihenbaums said on March 19 that MEP Zdanoka was not representing Latvia nor the EU during her recent visit to the Crimea to observe the referendum, as she did not have any official authorization to do so by Latvian institutions.
At the same time, he points out that Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (Reform Party) condemns her actions.
The Latvian Foreign Ministry has already stated the Latvia does not recognize the legitimacy of the so-called referendum that was taking place in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea on joining the Russian Federation this past weekend.