France, Germany drop strategies for Russia summit soon after EU outcry

By Marine Strauss, Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders unsuccessful to concur on a proposal by France and Germany to hold a summit before long with Russian President Vladimir Putin soon after Poland and Baltic nations around the world mentioned it would send out the mistaken concept as East-West ties deteriorate.

After U.S. President Joe Biden satisfied Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16, French President Emmanuel Macron stated the to start with EU summit with Putin because January 2014 would be “a dialogue to protect our passions”. He insisted the EU could not only be reactive in its diplomacy with Russia.

But just after late night time talks at their conference in Brussels, the 27 EU leaders unsuccessful to reach an agreement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed early on Friday.

“It was a extremely extensive dialogue, and not an uncomplicated a single,” she instructed reporters. “There was no settlement now on an fast leaders’ meeting,” she said.

EU summits with Russia finished immediately after Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March 2014 and the West imposed sanctions.

Whilst Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he supported the Franco-German proposal, several other leaders ended up opposed.

“It was a widespread position of several leaders” not to improve the stance on Russia, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda reported just after the conference broke up. He earlier mentioned the plan was like “making an attempt to interact the bear to continue to keep a pot of honey safe”.

Latvia’s Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said the EU risked worthwhile Russia with a summit even however diplomacy has unsuccessful to close the conflict in jap Ukraine with Russian-backed separatists.

As a substitute, EU leaders fell back to a acquainted posture of warning of more sanctions on Moscow if it continued what the EU suggests is a Russian coverage of disinformation, cyber and covert attacks and interference to try to divide the bloc.

Russia denies any wrongdoing.

In a summit assertion, leaders known as on the European Commission and the EU’s leading diplomat Josep Borrell “to current solutions for additional restrictive measures, together with financial sanctions” in opposition to Russia.

The EU has sanctions on the Russian power, monetary and arms sectors and personal sanctions on Russians accused of human rights abuses and for applying banned chemical weapons.

Diplomats say more sanctions could focus on Russian cash laundering or highly effective oligarchs suspected of significant corruption overseas, as non-EU member Britain did for the initially time in April.


Macron experienced attempted in September 2019 to request a lot less frosty ties with Putin, without success, and Germany’s outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel satisfied Putin in Moscow in January 2020. Putin held a cellphone connect with with European Council President Charles Michel, who chairs EU summits, on June 7 this year.

France and Germany want to be equipped to get the job done with Russia on combating weather transform and to come across methods to stabilise relations. Merkel said even with out a summit: “Formats will be explored … beneath which dialogues can be started out.”

Quite a few EU international locations are anxious that the Kremlin does not take the bloc critically, soon after Borrell was publicly humiliated in February by the Kremlin. Russia expelled EU diplomats during Borrell’s visit to Moscow without the need of warning.

Lithuania’s Nauseda mentioned: “We should be really careful, this is not like the romance of Russia with the United States”.

Although France is a nuclear power, the EU relies on NATO for its territorial defence and usually takes conclusions between 27 states, producing it a lot easier for the Kremlin to exploit divisions.

The Kremlin previously welcomed the idea of a summit, declaring both of those Brussels and Moscow wanted dialogue, although Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he preferred additional specifics.

On opposing sides in standoffs in Ukraine and Belarus, and at odds about human rights, the EU and Russia accuse every other of threatening stability and security from the Baltics to the Black Sea.

The EU on Thursday imposed economic sanctions on Belarus, an ally of Russia that the Kremlin sees as a buffer state involving Russia and NATO.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott, Gabriela Baczynska, Francesco Guarascio and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, further reporting by Thomas Escritt and Caroline Copley in Berlin and Ekaterina Golubkova in Moscow enhancing by Angus MacSwan, Philippa Fletcher, William Maclean and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Elva Zachman

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