"We hoped that the leaders of EU countries would display more courage to start a rapprochement with Russia, which in recent months sent signals on de-escalation [related to EU-Russia ties]", N-TV quoted Cordes as saying.
His remarks came after it was reported that the Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (Coreper) had decided to extend sanctions against Russia for another six months.
I have asked @EU2015LU for Coreper Friday to agree 6 months roll-over of Russia sanctions. EU's goal remains complete Minsk implementation— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) 15 декабря 2015
The governments of 28 EU countries have yet to confirm the decision; however, this is a mere formality.
European Council President Donald Tusk, who chaired the two-day meeting in Brussels earlier this week, attributed the extension of the sanctions to the Minsk ceasefire agreement on eastern Ukraine.
The measures were imposed following the reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014 and the escalation of the Ukrainian crisis.
Kiev and its Western allies have repeatedly blamed Russia for backing supporters of the independence of eastern Ukraine's Donbass region, accusations that Moscow vehemently rejects.
While CEO of Metro, the largest German and third-largest global retail and wholesale company between 2007 and 2011, Cordes significantly expanded the company's presence in Russia. By the time he left the company, it had over 100 stores throughout the country and over 25,000 employees.