Putin’s meeting became a hot issue at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.
Germany and France did not receive sufficient support from other EU countries for their proposal to hold a high-level meeting between the EU and Russia.
EU leaders discussed relations with Russia at their summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday night.
Prime minister Sanna Marinin (sd) focused on what it means to co-operate with Russia in accordance with EU principles.
Prior to the meeting, Germany and France had raised the idea of a summit between the EU and Russia. However, the intention to hold such a meeting was not included in the conclusions of the EU Summit.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had spoken in favor of the EU seeking direct contact with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Today, it was not possible to agree that we should meet immediately at a high level,” Merkel commented according to news agency AFP after the meeting.
Summit the conclusions state that the EU is ready to continue the dialogue and work with Russia in certain areas, such as climate and environmental issues, where the EU has an interest.
Marin said she emphasized the value of high-level dialogue at the meeting.
“At the same time, however, the EU must respond firmly to Russia’s actions against international law,” Marin told reporters by telephone after the meeting.
He did not specify which Member States supported the German and French proposal and which opposed it.
“Naturally, different Member States had different angles and positions of entry, but I will not go into them. It is essential that we have a common perspective on how we engage in dialogue with Russia and what principles we adhere to. ”
German and France’s proposal for the summit went public on Wednesday. Almost immediately, it seemed clear that the idea would not receive unreserved support from all member states. Traditionally, the Baltic countries and Poland, for example, have wanted to draw a strong line in relations with Russia.
No EU-Russia summits have been held since Russia took over Crimea in 2014.
The summit, which began on Thursday, also discussed the EU’s relations with Turkey. According to Marin, the EU is ready to cooperate with Turkey, but only under certain conditions.
The willingness to cooperate is a small step forward, as tensions in the eastern Mediterranean appear to have eased somewhat. The EU also continues to see concerns about Turkey, for example with regard to the human rights situation.
EU countries leaders called on the Commission to promote continued EU funding to support refugees from Syria in Turkey and other countries in the region. According to the news agency AFP, the EU is preparing to pay EUR 3.5 billion to Turkey for the accommodation of refugees in 2021-2024.
In addition, EU leaders adopted brief conclusions on immigration, stating that the use of migrants for political purposes was not acceptable. However, there was no wider discussion on migration.
The summit will continue on Friday with a debate on economic recovery.