German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Schloss Meseberg on August 18, the federal government announced. Merkel will discuss “current foreign policy issues” with Putin, including the Syrian conflict, the situation in eastern Ukraine, and issues in the energy sector, particularly the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will transport gas directly from Russia to Germany.
“Next Saturday, on August 18, the chancellor and government representatives will receive Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Schloss Meseberg,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert announced. Merkel and Putin will hold a press conference before the start of the meeting.
Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed the details of the meeting.
On July 24, Merkel held negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Berlin, discussing Syria and Ukraine. The meeting was also attended by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov. Lavrov and Gerasimov later met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris in order to discuss the same topics.
Gerasimov is under EU sanctions and is theoretically banned from entering the EU, but this was waived by Germany in order to let the meetings take place.
It was also reported that the Nord Stream 2 project could be realized without Denmark’s involvement. An alternative route which circumvents Denmark does not require additional permissions, and does not affect the final cost of the project.
On March 21, European MPs supported a bill by the European Commission which extends the rules on the EU’s internal gas market to gas pipelines not on the continent, including to Nord Stream 2, which in its current form does not comply with the rules of the EU’s so-called third energy package, because it belongs entirely to Russia’s Gazprom.
The US and Ukraine actively oppose the Nord Stream 2 project. The parliaments of Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Estonia have also spoken against the construction of the gas pipeline.