German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday decried the woeful state of relations with Moscow but reiterated her commitment to a European Union-Russia summit, local news reports said.
“The relationship between Russia and the European Union is really not good at the moment. But we also spoke to each other during the Cold War,” said Merkel in a video conference with French Prime Minister Jean Castex.
“So I think not speaking isn’t suited to solving the problems,” she added.
Merkel’s plan for an EU-Russia summit meeting has been dismissed by East European member states, who back a more hard-line approach towards Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Merkel stressed that a summit with Putin would of course require intensive preparation.
She reiterated that it should address all the questions that are of concern to the EU as well as those on which Europe also wants to cooperate.
On the issues of Russian cyberattacks as well as Ukraine and Belarus, Merkel said: “I think it is better to confront the Russian president with these things.”
At last week’s EU summit in Brussels, Berlin and Paris urged direct talks with Putin.
The Franco-German initiative came in the wake of a recent meeting in Geneva between Putin and US President Joe Biden.
But EU leaders failed to reach an agreement on such a summit. In a statement, they stated that “they will explore format and conditionalities of dialogue with Russia” but did not mention a summit.
The statement also called on EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell “to present options for additional restrictive measures, including sanctions” against Russia.
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