19th Jan 2020

Merkel, Sarkozy, Medvedev to 'brainstorm' on security

  • Merkel and Sarkozy are trying to revive relations with Moscow (Photo: European Communities)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy are on Monday(18 October) to hold a "brainstorming" session with Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev on issues ranging from missile defence to frozen conflicts, following Moscow's request to be more involved in European security matters.

The two-day meeting in the French resort town of Deauville is partly aimed at alleviating Russian concerns over a missile defence shield to be endorsed by Nato at a summit next month, to which Mr Medvedev has also been invited.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

The Deauville meeting will be "a brainstorming exercise, certainly not a directorate of three," the Elysee has said, according to Le Figaro. "Russia is looking more and more to the West and Deauville should be an occasion to accomadate this positive evolution."

In 2003, the German, French and Russian leaders met in the same format to air criticism of the war on Iraq – an issue that divided leaders on the continent. The last meeting of the trio was in 2006 in Compiegne, where Ms Merkel met with former French president Jacques Chirac and the current Russian premier, Vladimir Putin.

Mr Sarkozy could be looking to the Deauville meeting to divert media attention from the prolongued strikes and public dissent over his pension reforms.

Meanwhile, in Berlin, Chancellor Merkel said that the main aim of the event is to "talk about possibilities of letting Russia and Nato co-operate better, because the time of the Cold War is over once and for all."

Moscow has until now fiercely opposed plans to deploy a US missile defence shield in Europe, arguing that it is aimed at Russia rather than so-called "rogue states" such as Iran or north Korea.

At a summit in Lisbon on 19-20 November Nato allies are set to endorse linking up existing European air defence systems to the US' current shield and to extend the invitation to Russia.

Mr Medvedev has been invited to Lisbon but has not responded yet. The French and German leaders will try to convince him that the new missile shield is not a revival of Cold-War-style anti-Russia tactics but part of a new "security architecture" from stretching Vancouver to Vladivostok, as the Nato secretary general recently put it.

The idea of a common security pact from Canada to Russia is one of Mr Medevedev's pet projects and is likely to come up again in Deauville. But no European country nor the US have come out in favour of a major new treaty with Moscow.

"We would like Russia and the EU to be able to take joint decisions," Vladimir Chizhov, Moscow's ambassador to the European Union, told the International Herald Tribune in an interview ahead of the Deauville meeting. "I don't expect to be sitting at every session of the [EU Council's] political and security committee, but there should be some mechanism that would enable us to take joint steps."

Ms Merkel and Mr Medvedev in June jointly proposed the establishment of a new entity - the EU-Russia Political and Security Committee. The new committee is to consist of the foreign ministers from the two sides and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

The frozen conflict in Transnistria, a Moldovan region, could be a focus for the special forum, the two leaders said at the time.

The EU's envoy to Moldova, Kalman Mizsei, recently said Russia must end its military mission in Transnistria and urged the EU and US to be fully engaged in negotiating a peace accord. The EU and US currently have observer status only in UN-mediated Transnistria peace talks.


Davos and Libya in focus This WEEK

The all-powerful will meet in Davos after Berlin tries to resolve the Libyan conflict over the weekend, while MEPs will set the stage for final ratification of the Brexit deal.

China spy suspect worked for EU for 30 years

The former EU ambassador suspected by German prosecutors of spying for China was Gerhard Sabathil, according to EU officials speaking on condition of anonymity.


Why EU subsidy schemes don't work - the evidence

Counter to popular beliefs among policymakers, the positive effects of support schemes are found to be very limited. In order to revitalise Europe, the newly appointed EU Commission needs to reconsider government's role in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Catalan MEPs Puigdemont and Comin look for a party

The former head of the Catalan regional government, Carles Puigdemont, and one member of his government, Toni Comín, have requested to join the Greens/EFA group - but they do not close the door to other political groups.


Big Oil sponsors Croatia's EU presidency

Croatia's national oil company has become the EU council presidency's "official gasoline supplier" - in a move that appears to clash with aspirations of the European Green Deal. Critics say such sponsorships pose a reputational risk with the wider public.

News in Brief

  1. 'No objection in principle' on Huawei cooperation, EU says
  2. French aircraft carrier goes to Middle East amid tensions
  3. EU suggests temporary ban on facial recognition
  4. EU industry cries foul on Chinese restrictions
  5. 'Devil in detail', EU warns on US-China trade deal
  6. Trump threatened EU-tariffs over Iran, Germany confirms
  7. EU trade commissioner warns UK of 'brinkmanship'
  8. Germany strikes coal phase-out deal

Boost for Right in post-Brexit EU parliament

The far-right Identity and Democracy will overtake the Greens as the fourth-largest party in the European Parliament on 1 February, after the UK's MEPs vacate their seats.


Why EU minimum wage is actually bad idea for workers

As president of one of the largest trade union confederations in the EU, I see the need for good working conditions and decent pay in all member states - but an EU-wide minimum wage could be used to lower wages.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us