Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, alongside a number of other Eastern European countries, have expressed their dissatisfaction with words by French President Emmanuel Macron according to which Russia should be offered security guarantees after the war.
Reuters reports that the dissatisfied were facilitated by current EU presidency Czechia, with Poland and Slovakia joining the Baltics. The countries' foreign ministries refused to comment and it remains unclear whether the Czech Republic participated in the demarche.
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs remained similarly tight-lipped when approached by ERR, even though a ministry spokesperson admitted a meeting was held at the French Foreign Ministry.
"The Estonian ambassador and several other representatives of EU Member States attended a meeting at the French Foreign Ministry evening of December 12. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the Ukraine war, including aid for Ukraine and outcomes of a conference to support Ukraine to be held in Paris on Tuesday. We remain united in providing all manner of support for Ukraine in defending its territorial integrity and values that matter to us," Kerstin Meresma, press representative of the Estonian MFA, said.
President Macron said in a December 3 interview with French television network TF1 that Europe must prepare for its future security architecture and weigh how to give Russia security guarantees once it returns to the negotiating table. "This means that one of the essential points we must address – as [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin has always said – is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia," Macron said.
According to Reuters, Ukraine and the Baltic countries expressed their displeasure immediately following the remarks, with the French administration and foreign ministry rushing to soften tensions.
The agency reports that Czechia sent Member States a draft demarche stating that Russia's earlier initiatives in terms of security architecture have been aimed at dividing and weakening Europe. The document listed various developments in mutual security relations, starting with the 1997 NATO-Russia relations base document and ending with Moscow's demands prior to it attacking Ukraine in 2021.
Reuters' information suggests Czechia, joined by representatives of several other Member States, handed the document over to the director of the mainland Europe department of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs on Monday.
Estonia's representatives have refrained from publicly criticizing Macron's remarks. When prompted, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told ERR last week that she will discuss Europe's security organization when she meets Macron in person, nevertheless adding that talking about peace with Russia is dangerous before Russian forces have been forced out of Ukraine and the country's security ensured.
Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski