31st May 2020

EU-Russia summit postponed

  • Vladimir Putin had in October threatened not to attend the summit (Photo: NATO)

A summit that was supposed to be held between the EU and Russia on Thursday this week has been postponed at Moscow's request.

The decision to postpone the bilateral meeting was taken after Russia complained that it did not want to meet with the European Commission in its continued state of disarray.

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"There is a very simple explanation", said a Russian government spokesman announcing the reason for the postponement.

"The new EU Commission has not been appointed yet. The delays meant the preparations could not be as effective as everybody would wish, so it seemed better to hold negotiations after the new appointments".

The Commission is currently in caretaker status as incoming president José Manuel Durao Barroso had to reshuffle his team in order to obtain MEPs approval.

However, the indefinite postponement is also a mark of the serious disagreements over what was to be discussed at the summit.

Moscow is pushing for an agreement to be signed on four common spaces: economic; freedom, security and justice; external security; and research and education.

But serious points of contention remain in justice and home affairs and external security.

Member states themselves were also split about whether to offer a deal with Russia on some of the package, leaving the rest for later.

Those pushing for all spaces to be agreed at once were concerned that agreement on only two of the spaces would have relegated issues such as human rights to second place.

In October, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to boycott the summit over the issue.

EU-Russia summit rescheduled

A bilateral summit between Russia and the European Union has been rescheduled for next week after the original meeting was postponed due to disagreement over issues such as security.

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