"The signal of Washington’s openness may ease some of the European Union's hostility toward Russia … It may become the beginning of the path [toward lifting EU sanctions against Moscow]," Frattini said in an interview.
He added that the bloc was divided into those who would like to overcome tensions with Russia and those who call for even tougher measures against the country.
However, one should not have big expectations about the summit’s outcome, the former foreign minister noted.
"I am afraid that the Putin-Trump meeting is overloaded with expectations, which are going to fail … Frankly speaking, I think it is unlikely that after the summit we will witness a U-turn in Moscow’s and Washington’s policy which they have been pursuing over the past several years," he said, stressing that the talks would unlikely lead to the sudden elimination of tensions between Russia and the European Union.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet with his US counterpart in the Finnish capital later in the day. The Helsinki summit will be the first ever full-fledged meeting of the two leaders, who met briefly twice before: on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.