German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed regret that her EU colleagues did not accept the Franco-German proposal to organize a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
She said this at a briefing after the EU summit, reports Politico.
Merkel, however, considers it a positive development that the discussion “will at least continue.”
She rejected the argument of critics, such as Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who said that inviting the Russian leader to the summit would be an undeserved “reward.”
Merkel noted that U.S. President Joe Biden was able to have a “very serious conversation” with Putin, and “I did not have the impression that it was a reward for the Russian president.”
“This discussion showed me that perhaps from a European perspective, it’s not enough to have the president of the United States talking about these kinds of talks,” she said.
She also added that many EU countries engage in dialogue with Russia on a bilateral basis. “I don’t see any advantage in everyone doing it bilaterally, and we, as a union, have not had such dialogues,” Merkel said.
As a reminder, European Union leaders could not agree on a proposal by France and Germany to hold a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin soon after Poland and the Baltic states said it would send the wrong message.
EU leaders at the summit advocated selective engagement with Russia but suggested that the EU high representative prepare options for restrictive measures, including economic sanctions.