Sunday

23rd Jul 2017

Slovakia's Fico goes to Russia

Slovak prime minister Robert Fico will travel to Russia on Thursday (25 August) for a meeting with president Vladimir Putin.

A spokeswoman interviewed by Reuters declined to provide details of the meeting.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It comes ahead of the G20 summit in China on 4-5 September, where German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande will also meet Putin about the situation in Ukraine and the implementation of the so-called Minsk ceasefire agreement.

It also come before EU member states start a discussion on EU-Russia relations and the bloc's sanctions on Russia.

EU sanctions on Russia are due to be a topic of a planned meeting of EU leaders in October, where they will be discussed within the context of a wider discussion on the bloc’s Russia policy.

A first discussion will be held at an informal meeting of foreign ministers in Bratislava next week.

Slovakia currently chairs the EU Council presidency, giving Fico some leeway to shape the EU agenda.

The Slovak prime minister has in the past been a fierce critic of the sanctions, which were put in place after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea in 2014. They are renewed every six months, but critics - including Fico - say they have failed to yield any results. Fico considers Russia an important economic partner, particularly in the field of energy.

Slovakia’s foreign minister Miroslav Lajcak said in June that the EU should change the course of its relations with Russia.

The other meetings

On Thursday morning, before flying to Russia, Fico will have a bilateral meeting with French president Francois Hollande in Paris. On Friday, he will meet Merkel and leaders of the other Visegrad group countries (Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland) in Warsaw.

Lest week Merkel defended the measures, saying they should be prolonged as Russia has not lived up to its commitments under the Minsk agreement.

In an interview with RedaktionsNetzwerks Deutschland she said that Russia had caused a huge crisis by its actions in Ukraine.

"Europe had to react against this violation of basic principles," Merkel said. "This [the accord] is and remains the yardstick for the future of the sanctions.”

She added that she was working with Hollande "with all one's strength" to urge Ukraine and Russia to abide by the Minsk deal.

The Franco-German duo spoke on the phone with Putin on Tuesday (23 August), the Kremlin told Reuters, adding that Putin had shared his concerns over Ukrainian "provocations" with his counterparts.

Earlier this month, Putin accused Ukraine of plotting terrorist attacks in Crimea. But Kiev said that Moscow had fabricated incidents as a pretext for new military action against Ukraine.

EU to uphold ban on Putin's 'cronies'

EU states are expected, next week, to extend for six months their blacklist of Russians and Ukrainians deemed responsible for the war in Ukraine.

Juncker: Death penalty will end Turkey's EU bid

Turkish president Erdogan said he would reinstate capital punishment, for people behind last year's failed military coup. But European Commission president Juncker says the move would end Turkey's bid to join the EU.

Cyprus talks up in the air

A week after the failure of negotiations to reunite the islands, Greek Cypriots are calling on Turkish Cypriots to reaffirm their commitment to the process.

News in Brief

  1. Polish parliament adopts controversial justice reform
  2. GMO opt-out plan unlikely to go anywhere in 2017
  3. Slovak PM threatens to boycott inferior food
  4. France takes Google's 'right to be forgotten' to EU court
  5. Turkey accuses German companies of supporting terror
  6. Israel's Netanyahu caught calling EU 'crazy'
  7. UK does not collect enough data to expel EU nationals
  8. Polish president threatens to veto justice reform

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  2. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  3. ECPAFood waste in the field can double without crop protection. #WithOrWithout #pesticides
  4. EU2017EEEstonia Allocates €1 Million to Alleviate Migratory Pressure From Libya in Italy
  5. Dialogue PlatformFethullah Gulen's Message on the Anniversary of the Coup Attempt in Turkey
  6. Martens CentreWeeding out Fake News: An Approach to Social Media Regulation
  7. European Jewish CongressEJC Concerned by Normalisation of Antisemitic Tropes in Hungary
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer Episode 1: How the EIB Sweeps a Development Fiasco Under the Rug
  9. CESICESI to Participate in Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee on Postal Services
  10. ILGA-EuropeMalta Keeps on Rocking: Marriage Equality on Its Way
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEuFoA Director and MEPs Comment on the Recent Conflict Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
  12. EU2017EEEstonian Presidency Kicks off Youth Programme With Coding Summer School

Latest News

  1. Dutch coalition talks lengthiest in 40 years
  2. Polish parliament steps up showdown with EU
  3. EU urges UK to clarify its Brexit positions
  4. Law expert: direct EU powers have become too complicated
  5. Winter is here for Spitzenkandidat, but he'll survive
  6. Mafia money pollutes the EU economy
  7. Central Europe should be wary of Brexit stopping
  8. Poland's 'July coup' and what it means for the judiciary