EU nations lodge formal protest over Macron comment – Reuters
France is facing a backlash from a group of fellow EU member states over President Emmanuel Macron's proposal that NATO should offer Moscow security guarantees, if and when the parties to the ongoing Ukraine conflict sit down for peace talks.
Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and Slovakia have lodged a formal protest against Macron's suggestion, according to Reuters.
Citing diplomatic sources, the news agency reported that the Czech Republic, which now holds the EU Council presidency, had assisted in preparing the demarche, which was delivered to the French foreign ministry. However, it is not clear whether Prague itself, or any other nations, backed the document, the report adds.
According to the report, the draft demarche distributed by the Czech Republic to EU member states last week argued that Russia’s previous efforts with respect to European security architecture sought to divide and weaken Europe.
On December 3, Macron told the French TF1 TV channel: “We need to prepare what we are ready to do, how we protect our allies and member states, and how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table.”
Macron added that one of the “essential points” NATO had to address is Russia’s concern that the military bloc “comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia.”
His suggestion quickly came under fire from Ukraine and the Baltic states.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski, for his part, told reporters that Russia had no right to “expect security guarantees from anyone.”
He also warned those thinking otherwise that they were making a “strategic mistake.”
French diplomats tried to downplay the comment, insisting that it was taken “out of context.”
Meanwhile, Macron himself urged European allies not to “create controversy where there is none.”