Monday

26th Jun 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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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.

Interview

EU visa waiver unlikely to import Ukraine crime

Visa-free travel, which began last week, unlikely to prompt a Ukrainian crime wave, an EU police expert has said, but Ukraine itself is seeing increases in lawlessness.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel on collision course with US at G20 summit
  2. Schulz outlines German election strategy, hits out at Merkel
  3. Berlusconi's party sees comeback in Italian local votes
  4. Low turnout in Albanian election set to mandate EU future
  5. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  6. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  7. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  8. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  3. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  4. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  5. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  6. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  7. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  8. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  9. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  10. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  11. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  12. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?

Latest News

  1. UK previews offer on EU nationals' rights
  2. EU approves rescue of Italian banks
  3. Cohesion policy for a stronger Europe
  4. Cheap meat is a bigger problem for climate and health
  5. Ministers to reject minimum parking spaces for electric cars
  6. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  7. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  8. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits