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Germany Pushes for EU-Russia 'Cooperation' Talks

© Sputnik / Sergey Guneev / Go to the photo bankFrom left to right: Flags of Germany, Russia and the EU
From left to right: Flags of Germany, Russia and the EU - Sputnik International
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Germany's foreign minister offered the idea of a slight concession for Moscow to avoid a flare in relations after the EU-Ukraine trade deal takes effect.

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.

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite arrives for an EU summit in Brussels - Sputnik International
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However, the proposals remained in the form of an "exchange of views" which would grant few clear benefits. It could, however, put off the EU's energy union by seeking "to raise the prospect of a start to co-operation between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union, in combination with a peaceful solution in eastern Ukraine."

The Eastern European and Baltic states appear to have criticized the proposal, according to the Financial Times.

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