On the first day of its summit in Brussels, the 27 members of the European Union did not agree to the terms of a proposed EU-Russia summit and vigorously debated Hungary’s new LGBT law.
The Russian summit, proposed by France and Germany, encountered opposition from most Eastern European countries, who felt such face-to-face discussions seemed to reward Russian President Vladimir Putin for his recent aggressive actions, such as cyber attacks or the gathering of troops on the Ukrainian border. .
Speaking to reporters ahead of the second day of the summit in Brussels, German Chancellor Angela Merkel regretted that her fellow EU members could not agree on the terms of such a summit, which, according to her, was necessary to settle the problems with Russia. But she said EU members have established what conditions and preconditions must be met before a future summit can take place.
Merkel said the most important thing was for the bloc to act together, rather than individual states acting alone.
In his comments to reporters, French President Emmanuel Macron agreed, saying unity among member states is what is most important. But he also asked why Eastern European countries had not expressed similar objections to US President Joe Biden’s meeting with Putin earlier this month.
Merkel and Macron said most EU members have voiced their objections to recently approved legislation to Hungary banning performances interpreted to “promote” homosexuality or gender fluidity to anyone under the age of 18. 18 years old. Merkel said EU members have let Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban know that the legislation goes against European values.
Macron said the legislation is an example of some European states pulled by “models of society, political models, which are contrary to our values.”
Merkel also said she had warned member states against the rise of the delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. The variant spreads faster and can lead to more serious symptoms. She said it was on the increase in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and if left unchecked it could stifle recovery from the pandemic. She urged countries to step up their immunization programs.