Germany vows to make reviving Normandy format talks key to its EU Council presidency
Reviving talks with Ukraine and Russia will be among the priorities of Germany’s EU Council Presidency, the German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs (AFET) committee on Monday.
Germany assumed the EU Council Presidency on July 1 amid a very challenging moment for the European Union, with the bloc’s fiscal response to the Coronavirus crisis and its budget for 2021-2027, the post-Brexit relationship with the UK, and the enlargement process topping the foreign affairs agenda.
“We want to prepare for the time when we could again talk more intensively about strategic relations with Russia,” Maas told EU lawmakers while presenting the country’s priorities for the EU Council Presidency, adding that
He added that any progress in bilateral “strategic relations” with Kremlin depend on securing a stable ceasefire and putting an end to the violence in eastern Ukraine.
The Normandy format was created in 2014, in a bid to resolve the conflict between Kiev and the breakaway republic’s in the eastern part of Ukraine, and involves the leaders of Ukraine, Germany, France and Russia. During his discussion with AFET members, Maas acknowledged that negotiations on the implementation of the Minsk agreements are in a stalemate.
Maas’ comments came a few days after the German government proposed that the EU imposes sanctions on Russian hackers responsible for a large-scale cyberattack on the Bundestag in 2015.
The massive cyber attack on Germany’s lower house of parliament in 2015, forced its computer systems to be shut down for days, with Germany’s domestic intelligence agency accusing Russia’s military intelligence (GRU) for the cyber hacking.
(c) New Europe