EU’s von der Leyen says Europe must be involved in Ukraine talks
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Friday that negotiations to resolve tensions between Russia and Ukraine must involve Europe.
Speaking ahead of crunch security talks between the United States and Russia next week, von der Leyen told a press conference in Paris: “One thing is clear: no solution without Europe. Whatever the solution, Europe has to be involved.”
She added that the European Union was “very present” in Ukraine, with financial aid totalling 6 billion euros ($6.7 billion), as well as highly dependent on its position as a transit hub for gas imports from Russia.
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking alongside von der Leyen, stressed that US-Russia talks were a positive development, but said they would not affect “European security architecture” which was “up to us to build.”
“It’s a good thing that there are discussions between the United States and Russia,” he said.
“The coordination between the Europeans and Americans is exemplary on the matter,” he added, while also calling for the European Union to hold its own talks with Moscow.
“Dialogue does not mean making concessions,” he said.
With tens of thousands of Russian troops massed on Ukraine’s border, the administration of US President Joe Biden has accepted talks in Geneva next Monday with Moscow which has proposed agreements to limit NATO’s expansion.
US officials say they are willing to discuss concerns, but few observers see the US administration as interested in making a deal.
Biden and Putin held their first face-to-face talks in Geneva in June.