“To attract a bear to guard honey.” Which EU countries opposed Putin’s invitation to the summit
On June 24, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the European Union should create a platform for dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Chancellor’s statement was ambiguously perceived by Germany’s partners in the EU, countries bordering on the Russian Federation reacted especially sharply.
The contacts of the official Brussels with the Kremlin were frozen after the annexation of Crimea in 2014; the European Union imposed sectoral and individual sanctions against Russia. Merkel wants the EU to consider inviting Putin to the summit. “We, as the European Union, should strive for direct contact with Russia and the Russian president,” she said.
The plan was supported by French President Emmanuel Macron and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
At the same time, about a dozen of the 27 EU members signaled that they are dissatisfied either with the very idea of a meeting with Putin, or with the fact that it suddenly surfaced just before the start of the summit in Brussels, which takes place on June 24-25. Bloomberg reported this with reference to its sources .
The leaders of the Baltic countries took the proposal to establish a direct dialogue with Putin unambiguously negatively.
According to the Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte, the initiative to invite Putin to negotiations is irresponsible and can only do harm .
“ Falling into a trap once or twice can be an accident, but constantly falling into it is simply irresponsible! A proposal to resume EU summits with the Kremlin at a time when Putin’s regime is becoming more and more totalitarian will only prove to the Kremlin that violence is justifiable, ”Shimonyte said on Twitter.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda spoke figuratively. “An attempt to attract a bear to save a pot of honey,” he commented on the desire of Merkel and Macron to organize a meeting of EU leaders with the head of the Kremlin. “We do not see any radical changes in Russia’s behavior so far. If, without any positive changes, we begin to establish interaction with her, this will send very vague and bad signals, for example, to the countries of the Eastern Partnership, ”added Nauseda after arriving in Brussels, DW informs .
Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins told reporters in Brussels that in order for such a meeting to take place, the problems of the occupation of Crimea and part of Donbass must be resolved, Evropeyskaya Pravda reported .
He noted that the Kremlin understands only the politics of force and does not regard ” free concessions” as a sign of strength.
“ Russia annexed Crimea, Russia is waging a war in Donbass, and Europe shrugs its shoulders and continues to try to talk about dialogue? The Kremlin does not understand this kind of policy, ”the head of the Latvian government said.
In his Twitter, Karins stressed that, given Moscow’s aggressive behavior towards the EU and third countries, “our next steps should be carefully thought out.”
Tallinn is interested in the motive behind the initiative to hold an EU-Russia summit, said Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Kallas. During previous meetings of the heads of state and government of the European Union, everyone agreed that Russia poses a growing threat to unification, she recalled.
“ I wonder what happened now, where this proposal came from, and I really want to hear arguments about what has changed since the last time. All we have seen so far is that the Russians go as far as we allow them. We must clearly understand what is our goal in relations with Russia, what has changed and why it is now on the agenda, ” ERR quotes Callas .
“ Russia must first of all fulfill the Minsk agreements. After that, we could reconsider the current policy, “- commented on the initiative of Merkel and Macron, Estonian Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets.
More recently, Polish government agencies have undergone a cyberattack, which, according to available information, was behind Moscow. Given the presence of hybrid threats, it is difficult to start a dialogue at the highest level , said Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
” The beginning of any direct dialogue is possible only in a situation where there is an actual de-escalation and an actual departure from aggressive policies,” said Morawiecki.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is not opposed to the leaders of the EU countries to meet with Putin in one composition or another, and he “has no problem with this.” However, his meeting with the head of the Kremlin is out of the question, he told reporters. To the question ” why?” Rutte, as the AP informs , answered in one word: “MH17”, thereby recalling the responsibility of the Russian Federation for the downed passenger liner in 2014, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
It is too early to discuss the format of a hypothetical meeting of EU leaders with the Russian president, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis believes. Reported by Digi24 .
He acknowledged that there are different opinions within the EU, so the discussion will not be easy. “There are certain problems in relations with the Russian Federation that we cannot put up with, but there are certain areas where discussion and cooperation would be useful, for example, if we want to have a common plan to combat climate change. We must talk about this [with the Russian Federation], this is a global problem that concerns all of us, ”said Yohannis.
According to Euronews , Sweden expressed its rejection of the Merkel-Macron idea ahead of the summit. And Belgium and Denmark believe that the proposal came too late and that it is unrealistic to come to a consensus on a dialogue with Putin at the current summit.