Germany is attempting to make a deal with Russia to avoid conflict over Ukraine's entry into the European Union trade zone, although the proposals remain mostly non-binding, the Financial Times reported.
Russia is opposed to Ukraine's entry into the EU trade deal, as it would effectively terminate its trade relationship with the country. Overlapping free trade zones would create customs issues for Russia, with the threat that EU goods would be put on Russian markets with no bilateral trade concessions.
The new proposals were outlined in a letter from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to EU trade chief Cecilia Malmstrom. They would offer the idea of investment and energy concessions to Russia, although no real deal in an effort to avoid a flare in relations over Ukraine.
"By the content of this declaration we could respond to Russia’s wishes and begin a closer exchange of views on energy and investment protection issues, even if the [EU-Ukraine trade deal] does not directly touch on them," the letter obtained by FT said.
The Eastern European and Baltic states appear to have criticized the proposal, according to the Financial Times.