The presence of six member states at Putin’s inauguration does not worry the EU

The European Union is not concerned by the presence on Tuesday of representatives of six of its member states at the inauguration of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a spokesperson assured Wednesday.

France, Hungary, Slovakia, Greece, Malta and Cyprus all six sent a diplomatic representative on Tuesday to this inauguration, which marked the start of the fifth six-year term of the Kremlin autocrat, at the end of an election deemed neither free nor fair by the West.

Asked about this presence, Peter Stano, the spokesperson for the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, considered that it was the consequence of sovereign bilateral policies of the Member States.

“This does not call into question European policy towards Russia and Ukraine. It is rather a matter of protocol,” he commented. The EU’s foreign policy is determined either by a common position adopted unanimously, or by bilateral policies that member states develop themselves, he recalled. “It is their sovereign decision to participate in such events.”

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the EU has already adopted 13 sets of sanctions against Moscow, supporting kyiv. “The European position is therefore very clear. And the participation of certain diplomats in a protocol event does not call into question this position,” added Mr. Borrell’s spokesperson, specifying that the EU ambassador in Moscow was not present at the event.

In Brussels, member states are holding negotiations on a fourteenth set of sanctions. EU ambassadors will hold a first exchange of views this Wednesday afternoon. They will also discuss how they intend to use the financial profits from Russian assets frozen with the Brussels-based securities depository Euroclear. An agreement would be within reach.

This article is originally published on rtl.be

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