After hacker attacks and disinformation campaigns, Russia is threatened with additional economic sanctions from the European Union. In certain areas, however, one remains open to cooperation.
At the EU summit in Brussels, Russia is to be threatened with additional economic sanctions. According to information from the German Press Agency, the latest draft for the final declaration of the meeting states that there is “the need for a determined and coordinated reaction by the EU and its member states to any further malicious, illegal and disruptive activity by Russia”.
The EU must therefore make full use of the instruments available to it. To this end, the EU Commission and Foreign Affairs Representative Josep Borrell should present “options for further restrictive measures”, including economic sanctions.
Cooperation still possible
At the same time, according to the draft for the final declaration of the summit this Thursday and Friday, it should be emphasized that the EU remains open to cooperation with Russia in certain areas. These include, for example, climate protection as well as the fight against international terrorism and health policy. Initially, however, it remained unclear whether after the summit an attempt would be made to resume the top-level dialogue with Russia that was discontinued in the course of the Ukraine crisis.
Berlin in the morning, Brussels at noon: after Chancellor Angela Merkel made her presumably last government declaration in the Bundestag, she traveled to the EU summit in the Belgian capital. (Source: Johanna Geron / AP / dpa)
Chancellor Angela Merkel made a strong case for this on Thursday in her government statement at the summit. “In my opinion, we as the European Union must also seek direct contact with Russia and the Russian President,” she said in the Bundestag. It is not enough for American President Joe Biden to speak to the Russian President. The European Union must also create discussion formats. Otherwise the conflicts will not be resolved.
Last top talk in 2014
The last EU-Russia summit so far took place in January 2014. After that, Russia absorbed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, and the EU suspended all top-level talks. Eastern European EU states in particular did not want to change anything until the end. You point out, among other things, that the Ukraine conflict is still unsolved and that Russia is provoking the EU with hacker attacks and disinformation campaigns.
Due to the conflict in Ukraine, EU economic sanctions have been in force since 2014. The trade and investment restrictions are to be extended for another six months in the near future.
Ukraine warns of talks with Putin
The Ukrainian government has warned EU leaders against resuming talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. EU summit with Putin “without progress on the Russian side is a dangerous deviation from the EU sanctions policy,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitri Kuleba in Brussels on Thursday.
Such a step would prevent Russia “even more from implementing the Minsk agreements” for peace in Ukraine.