BERLIN, June 28. /TASS/. It is better for EU nations to discuss problems in relations with Russia directly with Moscow rather than among themselves, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday.
"To my mind, such a summit [EU-Russia] should address all matters of concern for us and on which we want to cooperate," she said in an online address to a French-German parliamentary assembly.
According to Merkel, problems in relations with Moscow include "hybrid attacks" that all EU member countries come under. "They are France, Germany, Italy, I heard about that from Baltic states," she claimed.
"President [of the US Joe] Biden made it quite clear about cyberattacks. And why cannot Europe do the same?" she went on to say, adding that the European Union might be capable of sticking to a "common position" during a possible "working conversation with the Russian president." There are a lot of topics for discussion, in her words.
"Whether it's Belarus or Russian influence, whether it's Ukraine and the Minsk process," she cited. "But there are strategic matters — disarmament, peace, security. There are issues of Syria’s and Libya’s future and we can discuss with the Russian president whether we could reach common results."
"I think it would be better to not merely continue discussing it among ourselves but to also organize a discussion on these matters with the Russian president [Vladimir Putin] and say that successful cooperation is impossible on such a basis," she said. "Indeed, relations between the European Union and Russia are bad but negotiations were conducted even during the Cold War. In this context, I don’t think that silence can lead to problem resolution. We have outlined the topics we want to discuss with Russia and are working on the format and conditions with which talks with Russia can be held."
"It means we have made a step forward but have to yet reached the goal," she added.
After a marathon discussion of Russia-related topics on June 24-25, the leaders of 27 EU nations failed to agree to an initiative of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to organize a Russia-EU summit. Instead, according to the summit’s final statement, the EU leaders instructed EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to look at the possibility of arranging dialogue with Russia on separate topics of interest for the European Union and to explore options for further anti-Russian sanctions, including economic restrictions, to contain Russia’s future possible activities deemed by the EU as harmful.
Russian president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, described as ‘illogical’ and ‘harmful’ the position of the Baltic states and Poland, which are amassing NATO forces on their territories while speculating about a Russian threat.