Friday, 25 June 2021 -
European Union leaders have today failed to agree on France and Germany’s proposals for the bloc to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Speaking after the EU's summit in Brussels, Germany’s Angela Merkel said discussions between the bloc’s top officials had failed to bear fruits.
She, however, insisted that talks were ongoing and needed EU leaders to take bolder steps if the region is to develop a mutual dialogue format with Russia. The disagreement was mainly because Poland and Baltic nations said a summit will send the wrong message to Russia, even as East-West European ties continue to deteriorate.
The Proposal Has Been in The Pipeline
Speaking after U.S President Biden met Putin on 16th June in Geneva, Switzerland, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested the EU should restart its diplomatic meetings with the Kremlin to defend the region's interests. The last such fixture was held in 2014 but has been frozen since the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea later that year.
Speaking to the press, Macron wanted the EU to revive the meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in what he termed as a push to defend the interests of the European Union. He further insisted the EU should deploy a dialogue format that will stabilize the region's diplomatic ties with Russia.
What Opposing Nations Have Said
After yesterday’s late-night talks between all the 27 EU’s top officials held in Brussels, a common ground couldn’t be established as leaders failed to agree on the proposals by Paris and Berlin. And while Germany’s Angela Merkel called on leaders to take bold steps in diplomatic relations with Russia, Poland and Baltic countries expressed their opposition to the plans.
Lithuania president Gitanas Nauseda, for instance, said he was opposed to meetings with Russia at any level. Echoed by other leaders, especially from Eastern Europe, Gitanas said the region should be cautious of rewarding the Kremlin with talks before it alters its course.
They further argued that both Berlin and Paris blindsided their European counterparts by tabling last-minute proposals of reviving annual summits with Russia. And while officials from Moscow have indicated their willingness to resume such talks, it is understood that Putin would prefer to deal bilaterally with member states.
Friday's snug in Brussels comes barely a week after the U.S and NATO resolved to revamp its military and revisit strategies that could see EU’s rogue eastern neighbour – Russia – kept in check. Moscow has been at odds with several EU heavyweights after sending troops on the Ukrainian border, and the last year has seen a number of espionage scandals levelled against Russia, with some leading to diplomatic expulsions.
And while Merkel suggested talks are ongoing, officials in Brussels have admitted that the EU's relations with the Kremlin are set to deteriorate even further in the coming days.
(Written end edited by: The Decision Maker Team)