PARIS – EU leaders divided over a French-German proposal to re-establish ties with Moscow, including a possible EU-Russia summit, have led EU leaders to demand a common stance towards Russia during talks in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. Has been done.
Arriving in Brussels on Thursday, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kailas soon clarified his doubts about a summit with Moscow.
“We all agreed that Russia is a major threat,” she said. “They are more aggressive. I wonder what has happened now, where does this proposition come from [from]? And I’m really, really looking forward to hearing their arguments [about] What has changed since last time? Because Russia only goes as far as we let them.”
The monthly meeting of EU leaders will address other topics, but last-minute proposals by Berlin and Paris on re-establishing ties with Russia take center stage. Moscow says Russian President Vladimir Putin is in favor of it. Ukraine’s foreign minister called it “dangerous”. Eastern European countries are also pushing back.
Ivano Di Carlo, Russia analyst at the European Policy Center in Brussels, said that “of course, the German-French proposals were surprising. Therefore, it could lead to some division within the European Council. … some Central and Eastern Europeans at such times.” When there are no positive signals coming from Russia, the country will consider it a reward for Putin.
restriction, as well as linkage
France and Germany say they want to use the economic sanctions stick if they merge, but also want to engage with Moscow – which Brussels describes as a negative spiral in EU-Russia relations. Backing his proposal is the summit in Geneva between US President Joe Biden and Putin last week – but also the disputed warship clash between Russia and former EU member Britain this week.
French President Emmanuel Macron says talks with Russia are necessary to protect European interests and stability. But he insisted the EU would not do anything that would threaten the bloc.
European leaders will also discuss Turkey, with reports Brussels will announce several billion dollars in refugee aid and border controls for Ankara. Rights groups criticize efforts to prevent migrants from coming to Europe. Amanda Paul, senior analyst at the European Policy Center, says many in Turkey believe Europe is not doing enough.
“This is a huge burden on Turkey,” she said. “The Turkish economy has suffered greatly due to the Covid pandemic, and taking care of these millions of refugees is a burden and they have been doing it for a few years.”
On the agenda for Friday is COVID-19. While cases are dwindling and borders are opening up in many parts of Europe, France and Germany are calling for greater coordination on travel from outside the bloc, to fight the highly contagious Delta variant.
Hungary’s controversial LGBT laws and comprehensive migration policies are also items of discussion.