Cape Breton Post

Call for Russia summit meets EU resistance

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BRUSSELS — France and Germany called on Thursday for a European Union summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin but met firm resistance from Poland and Baltic countries who distrust the Kremlin.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the first EU summit with Putin since January 2014 would be a chance for dialogue and won support from Austria’s chancellor as EU leaders arrived for their regular summer meeting in Brussels to discuss a new strategy to improve ties with Moscow.

“We need a dialogue to defend our interests ... it is a dialogue necessary for the stability of the European continent,” Macron said.

“We cannot remain in a purely reactive logic when it comes to Russia,” he said. “I hope that we can, with real European unity and coordinati­on, have this … dialogue.”

EU leaders are also set to ask the European Commission and the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell for “options for additional restrictiv­e measures, including economic sanctions” against Russia, according to a draft of the summit statement seen by Reuters.

The EU already has economic sanctions on the Russian energy, financial and arms sectors over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of the Crimea peninsula and individual sanctions on Russians accused of human rights abuses and for using banned chemical weapons.

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