Posted on Jun 25, 2021
European Union leaders on Friday rejected a Franco-German proposal to hold a summit with Russia after Poland and Baltic countries said it would send the wrong message as East-West ties deteriorate, Reuters reports.
After U.S. President Joe Biden met Putin in Geneva on June 16th, French President Emmanuel Macron said a first EU summit with Putin since January 2014 would be "a dialogue to defend our interests". He said the EU must be proactive in its diplomacy with Russia.
But late-night talks at a Brussels summit failed to secure an agreement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
France and Germany want to be able to work with Russia on combating climate change and to find ways to stabilise relations. Merkel said that, even without a summit, "formats will be explored ... under which dialogues can be started".
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said he had supported the summit proposal, but many other leaders were opposed, and Russia's direct neighbours were the most vocal.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told reporters that Putin must stop "aggressive" policies against its neighbours, and that there could be no summit while Moscow held Crimea, annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and sided with separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said the idea was like "trying to engage the bear to keep a pot of honey safe", and Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins said Russia might see a summit as a reward when diplomacy had failed to end the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
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