Surprise! If Merkel and Macron want Putin in Brussels

A letter to von der Leyen for Biden to understand. Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel want Vladimir Putin back to the EU negotiating table. The blitzkrieg of the ambassadors’ document in Brussels that led to the displacement of everyone, Italy is preparing its proposal. Mikhlidze (Eye): The EU’s foreign policy does not exist

Behind the scenes, their diplomats have been in the works for a while. But now it’s black on white: Emmanuel Macron e Angela Merkel They want to report Russian President Vladimir Putin at the negotiating table of the European Union. To break the news is financial times. Wednesday afternoon, the eve of Koreber, the ambassadors of France and Germany in Brussels, Philip Legleys – Costa It’s Michael Klaus, a memorandum to the upcoming European Council requesting “a review of the current forms of dialogue with Russia, including meetings at the level of leaders.”

According to the American newspaper, the proposal reached the meeting table “without warning” and raised “astonishment” among the ambassadors of the European Union member states. In fact, Russia and the European Union no longer hold official meetings between heads of state and government since 2014, when the Russian armed forces invaded Crimea. Italy, at the moment, has not yet formulated its proposal, as it turns out a In the Franco-German document, which was prepared with the aim of inclusion in the conclusions of the European Council, the EU’s return to “selective cooperation” with Russia in areas of mutual interest is encouraged, and the EU Commission and the EU Service call for external action to make “concrete proposals and levers”.

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Among the sectors identified as common ground for dialogue with Moscow, reports financial timesClimate, environment, arctic, cross-border cooperation, health, space, counterterrorism and foreign policy areas, including Syria and Iran.

The timing of the initiative says a lot. This Wednesday afternoon, a government agency quoted the Russian Ministry of Defense as saying Interfax, reported that some warning shots were fired by the Russian border guards and air forces against the British destroyer HMS Defender in the Black Sea. A few minutes later, a British defense statement denied the incident, stating that the Royal Navy ship had made “harmless passage” in Ukrainian territorial waters.

Just a week ago, in Geneva, the President of the United States Joe Biden met the Russian president Russian President Vladimir Putin At the summit a window opened for détente, without solving many of the remaining knots between the two powers, from respect for human rights in Russia to military tensions in Eastern Europe.

“Perhaps the diplomatic initiative has the same goal as the meeting between Russians and Americans in Switzerland: to draw red lines – he says Nonna Mikhlidze, Head of the Europe and Eurasia Program at the Institute of International Affairs (Iai) – however, the method is counterproductive. If sanctions do not work, if Russia does not take the EU seriously, as High Representative Josep Borrell’s trip to Moscow has shown, it is because there are member states that act on their own, starting with France and Germany. ”

The memo now risks provoking opposition reactions within the European Union, and facing potential opposition from eastern European member states such as Poland or Slovenia. During the meeting of the European Council in May, heads of state and government had already raised the issue of reorganizing relations between the European Union and Russia.

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But the closing statement of that meeting, notes financial timesMuch less conciliatory with Moscow than Merkel and Macron’s olive branch. A month ago, the Council concluded with a warning of the “negative spiral” of bilateral relations, denouncing the “malicious actions” of the Kremlin, including incidents of espionage in Europe (one of which was organized in Rome, with the arrest of naval forces). officer Walter Piot) and calling for “costing” the perpetrators of cyber-attacks.

The Franco-German acceleration also has special political weight because the two countries have long been the cornerstones of European policy toward Russia. Both pillars are in the form of a “quartet” with the United Kingdom and the United States (now “Quint” with the return of Italy last April), which are also part of the “Normandy formula” with Russia and Ukraine, the negotiating table for compliance with Minsk and cease-fire agreements in the Donbass region of Ukraine .

But the “blitzkrieg” of Merkel and Macron may not only target Brussels. United States Secretary of State Anthony Blinken On Wednesday I landed in Berlin for the Second Libya Conference. It’s the first stop on a European tour that will take him to Paris, Rome and the Vatican, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs predicted at a press briefing. Phil RikerHe will also focus on tensions with Russia.

For some time now, France and Germany have put pressure on Washington, DC to be able to relaunch selective cooperation with the Russian government, especially on the economic front. Already in March, a “mini” video conference between Putin, Merkel and Macron on the Covid-19 emergency sent a clear message to the White House. On May 31, I reiterated a note at the end of the Franco-German Cabinet: “We affirm our readiness to continue dialogue with Russia on the basis of common principles of the European Union and to consider carefully some areas of common interest.” .

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Among the reasons why the two countries are pushing forward in Brussels, Michlidze explains, there may be another. “We are in a certain year, with a hot campaigning for the legislative elections of 2021. There is not a day when the government does not pass a new law to silence the opposition and independent media. France and Germany probably fear a turbulent and unexpected reaction from the Kremlin. Whenever Putin encounters internal problems, he tries Diverting attention with a new foreign policy initiative.

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