6th Dec 2022

Germany and Russia call for new EU security committee

Germany and Russia have called on the EU to create a new foreign minister-level security forum to handle issues such as Transnistria.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made the proposal at a joint press conference following bilateral talks in Meseberg castle, 40km north of the German capital, on Saturday (5 June).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • Ms Merkel and Mr Lavrov held 10 hours of talks accompanied by just a few senior aides (Photo: kremlin.ru)

"There is now a committee of ambassadors in Brussels that deals with security issues," Ms Merkel said, referring to EU Council's Political and Security Committee (PSC). "This committee could be further developed, so that there is regular and ongoing contact not only at ambassador level, but between the EU and Russia at the foreign minister level."

She added that Berlin will put forward the idea at the next PSC meeting in Brussels on Tuesday in order to "attack" the creation of "such a mechanism."

Mr Medvedev backed the idea, saying: "We must make a special forum where we can exchange opinions on current issues of international security. We can also prepare advice on various legal issues of co-operation."

Both sides mentioned Transnistria - a strip of land in Moldova which is controlled by pro-Russian rebels and which hosts a Russian military base - as the kind of problem the new body could deal with.

"You could try something like that in concrete cases that we still have to resolve. In our opinion, the situation in Transnistria is a very favorable example," Ms Merkel said.

The Meseberg meeting saw the two leaders and a small "handful" of advisors hold behind-closed-doors talks for 10 hours, according to German press agency DPA.

It comes less than a week after an EU-Russia summit in Rostov-on-Don in which the EU rejected Russian calls for a speedy visa-free travel deal but in which the two sides agreed a brief joint statement on EU help for modernising Russia's economy.

Mr Medvedev pressed the visa issue on Saturday.

"For our citizens, for the citizens of Russia as well as the citizens of the European Union, this is something extraordinarily important. If we go ahead, it will change our lives. It will make us a true strategic partners," he said.

It is unclear if the security committee proposal, which would involve regular meetings between EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, has been consulted with Ms Ashton's office.

"We hope and we think that this could see a positive response in the entire European Union," Ms Merkel said.

Asked by journalists why the proposal was being floated at a bilateral meeting instead of at the EU level, Mr Medvedev noted that Germany and Russia have a "long-term" partnership.

"All ideas have their founding fathers who enforce these ideas and take them forward. In this sense, I believe that I can call on good ideas first bilaterally," he said. "It doesn't mean that we don't back our work with Brussels or want to replace it with co-operation with other states. It's just to have ideas emerge at a personal level."

Ms Merkel said: "This is not a bilateral agreement. But it serves that purpose. There are always situations where one member state moves ahead a bit on a particular topic."

Story updated at 3pm on 8 June. The original article said: "the two sides failed to agree a detailed memorandum on EU help for modernising Russia's economy" at the Rostov summit. An EU contact said it was never the intention to agree a "detailed memorandum" at the event

Portugal was poised to scrap 'Golden Visas' - why didn't it?

Over the last 10 years, Portugal has given 1,470 golden visas to people originating from countries whose tax-transparency practices the EU finds problematic. But unlike common practice in other EU states with similar programmes, Portugal has not implemented "due diligence".

Socialists opposed parliament taking Qatar rights stand

The socialists in the European Parliament are leading compromise talks on human rights in Qatar despite voting against putting the issue to a plenary vote. The move comes after the Left demanded that the European Parliament take a stand.

No top EU officials going to Qatar World Cup

None of the four top EU officials are going to the Qatar World Cup amid a stink on human rights, but some are more brave than others in criticising the gas-rich emirate.


Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia

Vladimir Putin himself is somewhat suspicious of Serbia's leader, as are most who deal with the opaque Aleksandar Vucic. The Russian president has preferred to keep his Serbian counterpart compliant, via a tight rein of annually-reviewed gas pricing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  3. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  4. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  5. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos

Latest News

  1. EU countries struggle to crack Hungary's vetos
  2. Frontex expanding migrant route-busting mission in Balkans
  3. EU ministers in fresh battle on joint debt, after Biden subsidies
  4. EU: 'We'll see' if Moscow actually stops selling oil over price-cap
  5. Bad Karma
  6. Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia
  7. Hungary's funds showdown in focus This WEEK
  8. EU must break Orbán's veto on a tax rate for multinationals

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  2. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  4. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  6. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us