German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday continued to make the case that a face-to-face summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin is the best way to address regional issues with him, days after other European leaders rejected her proposal for such a meeting.
Merkel, along with French President Emmanuel Macron, proposed the summit idea during a European Union meeting in Brussels. Eastern European leaders, particularly members who share borders with Russia, rejected the proposal, saying such a meeting would reward Putin for recent aggressive Russian behavior such as cyberattacks or the deployment of troops on the border with Ukraine.
The EU leaders instead agreed to establish guidelines and conditions for a future summit.
Speaking Monday during a virtual meeting between the French and German parliaments, Merkel once again defended the proposal, saying it is better for EU leaders to talk directly to the Russian president instead of discussing issues amongst themselves.
“The relationship between Russia and the European Union is really not good at the moment, but even during the Cold War, people talked to each other,” Merkel said. “So, I think silence is not conducive to solving the problems.”
Merkel did say that the discussions about how future summits might be held were helpful and bring the EU one step closer to holding a meeting.
Merkel pointed to U.S. President Joe Biden’s one-on-one summit with Putin earlier this month and said confronting Russia face-to-face can also result in cooperation on some issues.
KremIin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters last week that “President Putin was and remains interested in establishing working relations between Moscow and Brussels.”