From postponement to postponement, from report to report, the European Union (EU) is unable to specify the “Complete strategy” that Paris and Berlin would like to develop with regard to Russia. The summit of the Twenty-Seven, Thursday, June 24, in Brussels, provided further proof.
Noting the divisions between the member countries and the ambient stagnation, France and Germany wanted to push the EU to react. They offered a dialogue ” demanding “ with Moscow, “ without giving up any of our values and our interests ”, had repeated the French president.
After several hours of discussions, the usual press conference of the Presidents of the Council and of the Commission was postponed, without explanation. Angela Merkel nevertheless indicated that there had been no agreement for a direct meeting at the level of European and Russian leaders. However, she judged “Important” that “Formats” for a resumption of this dialogue with Moscow be studied. “Personally, I would have liked a bolder step forward, but we will continue to work”, added the German Chancellor.
“Take care of the substance before the form”
No official comment, however, on the French side. Except that it would never have been a question of ” Mountain peak “, but many “Take care of the substance before the form” and to create the conditions for the envisaged high-level discussion. “Dialogue will take place, our strategy has been endorsed”, assured a source.
During the heated debates which lasted into the night, Poland, Sweden and the Baltic States expressed very clear reservations, believing that nothing indicated a Russian desire to move towards de-escalation. Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister, did not reject the principle of a negotiation, but said his refusal to participate in it personally.
The summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Joe Biden on June 16 in Geneva pushed the French President and German Chancellor to act. On June 18, Emmanuel Macron traveled to Berlin. For different reasons, the two leaders had chosen to shake up their European partners, even as the Biden administration was deploying its own strategy. Not satisfied either with the slump with Moscow, or with the congratulations sent by certain member states to Washington in a sort of geopolitical delegation, France and Germany had sensed the danger, that of a purely symbolic European Council, on June 24.
You have 61.84% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.