Italian PM backs EU-Russia summit

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said he would support an EU-Russia summit proposed by France and Germany

Italian PM backs EU-Russia summit

“Discussions on this issue have been long and controversial”, –  he said at a news conference following a meeting of European leaders in Brussels. He said the idea of holding such an event was “a bit of a surprise to a lot of people”.

“But the attempt to hold a meeting in the Russia-EU format had to be done. I said it had to be done”, –  said Draghi, whose speech was broadcast on Youtube by the government palace Kiji.

“However, some countries, in particular Northern Europe, but not only, partly because of the unexpectedness (of the proposal), partly because they are geographically closer to Russia, have essentially shelved the idea, at least for the moment”, –  the Italian prime minister explained.

Italy continues to believe that Russia is an important player in economic terms, that economic and climate negotiations should take place with it, Draghi said.

“At the same time, we have to be frank about everything that goes wrong: espionage, cyber attacks, human rights, hacking, disinformation, and in this respect progress has to be made from the Russian side to maintain the dialogue”, –  he said, declaring a line of “cooperation and frankness” in relations with Moscow.

The Italian prime minister stressed that he was aware of the Franco-German initiative to restart the EU-Russia summits.

“We will see what happens next, that is, whether this meeting will take place in the Normandy format or not. We will see in the coming days”, –  Draghi concluded.

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