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DEUTSCHE WELLE. Laima Andrikienė: Europarlamentarai ragina ES vyriausybes nedalyvauti FIFA futbolo pasaulio čempionate Rusijoje

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1. You supported the call for boycott, initiated by Ms. Harms. Could you please explain, why?

The answer is in the letter: "The Salisbury attack was just the latest chapter in Vladimir Putin's mockery of our European values: indiscriminate bombings of schools, hospitals and civilian areas in Syria; the violent military invasion in Ukraine; systematic hacking; disinformation campaigns; election meddling; trying to destabilize our societies and to weaken and divide the EU - all this doesn't make for a good World Cup host." The evil must be stopped until it is not too late.

2. What practical consequences could have this boycott, if the EU governments would not attend the FIFA World cup in Russia? Do you see a possibility of such a boycott to change Putin's policies and behaviour?

My hope is that our move is just beginning of the process. The governments of the UK and Iceland have both expressed their position and we fully support them. Solidarity expressed by other EU Member States would increase pressure and be of a remarkable moral value. The whole football family and fans should pay attention to this and take adequate steps.

3. There is a point of view that such a boycott - same as other instances of pressure on Russia - only make Putin's position inside of Russia stronger and instead one should look for possibilities of dialogue. What is your position towards this approach?

First of all, two are necessary for tango and dialogue also. Kremlin does not want dialogue as President Putin prefers orders. Clear and strong moral stance of the governments of democratic countries of Europe and around the world would show one more time that aggressive behaviour of Kremlin in Syria and Ukraine as well as suppression of free press and democratic opposition in Russia is not acceptable. And by no means our moral position could play to Putin's advantage. Let's recall the boycott of the Olympic Games in 1980 in Moscow after the USSR invaded Afghanistan. A good example to follow.


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