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Merkel stirs division at European summit by opening up to Putin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s proposal to engage in a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin is stirring up discord at the start of the European summit in Brussels. “This is asking the bear to take care of the bowl of honey,” said Lithuanian President Gitanas Nozoda.

Merkel celebrates the last potentially chancellor’s European summit with a controversial plan: reopen direct dialogue with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. This plan was launched with French President Emmanuel Macron on the eve of the summit, but without informing other member states and European Council President Charles Michel. This led to great frustration in many capitals.

Moreover, the Franco-German proposal is much more positive than the strategy that European Foreign Minister Josep Borrell put on the table a week ago at the request of European leaders. Borrell prepares for More negative spiral with Russia. He wants to keep lines open with Moscow if it suits European interests, for example regarding the climate or consulting with the citizens’ movement in Russia. But he is asking Europe to respond forcefully if Moscow violates human rights or international rules, and he wants to boost the union’s resilience by, among other things, better mapping shady financial flows from Russia.

Top of page European Union and Russia


Conflicts are best resolved when you talk to each other.

Angela Merkel

German chancellor

When she reached the top, Merkel defended her plan. Conflicts are best resolved when you talk to each other. She refers to the meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Putin last week in Switzerland. Macron on the same page: “Europe must defend its interests and not falter in a policy of reaction.”

Moreover, the joint move appears to have been led by the United States. It was no coincidence that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was passing through Berlin and Paris this week. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is one of the few EU leaders who fully supports the Franco-German plan: “Like Merkel and Macron, I am in regular contact with Putin. We have a form for such a dialogue. We must not leave the dialogue with Russia to the United States.

MH17

The Baltic states in particular react strongly to the Franco-German proposal. The Kremlin understands power politics. “Moscow does not see concessions that cost nothing as a sign of strength,” Latvian Prime Minister Krishanis Kariche said. He also called on Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausuda to be “extremely cautious about a radical shift in dealing with the Putin regime”. He warns that this could be very harmful to the union’s eastern European neighbors. “It’s like asking the bear to guard the jar of honey.”


I will not attend a summit with all the leaders of the European Union and Vladimir Putin.

Mark Rutte

Dutch Prime Minister

Nor is Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte a party to the “wiedergutmachung”. He said that I had no objection to a meeting between Council President Charles Michel and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen with Putin. But I will not participate in a summit with all the leaders of the European Union and Putin. When asked why, Ruti shouted: “MH17”. Rebels shot down that Dutch airliner in eastern Ukraine in July 2014 with a Russian Buk missile.

Urban

European leaders will not discuss relations with Russia until this evening after dinner. That dinner would be an equally difficult balancing act. Hungarian Prime Minister’s leaders go Victor Orban questioned about ‘gay law’which prohibits displaying information and images about the sexual activity and sexual preferences of minors.

Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, who wears a rainbow brooch on his uniform, believes Hungary has “gone too far”. “Hungarian law is backward and shamelessly discriminates against people. Moreover, this starts with LGBs and ends with people silencing if they say something they don’t like. We can’t allow that.

“Anyone who thinks that people become gay by reading a book simply does not understand life,” said Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, who has been married to a man since 2015.


Under the communist regime, homosexuality was prohibited. Release them.

Victor Urban

Hungarian Prime Minister

Orbán reacted visibly to all this pressure interest. “The law has been published, and everyone should read it before criticizing it,” he said. According to Orban, the law defends the rights of children and their parents. Everything related to sexual education is the responsibility of the parents only. At the beginning of the summit, “Victor” also referred to his past as a freedom fighter against the communist regime: “At that time, homosexuality was banned. I released them.