President of the European Council Charles Michel told news agencies on Friday of his proposal for holding a multilateral conference with Turkey, on defusing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Stressing that Turkey and Greece were also informed of the conference, Michel considered it the best way to reduce tension in the region and open a dialogue channel.
He added that EU leaders will also decide on a ‘whip and carrot’ approach concerning Turkey when they meet on September 24, 25.
Michel said “we will identify our foreign policy tools, a whip and carrot approach, namely what tools to use to improve the relationship and what tools to use if we are not respected.”
He added that “we want to be respected.”
Michel said the thorny issue of maritime borders in the eastern Mediterranean, energy, security and migration could be discussed at the upcoming meeting.
“We do not accept unilateral conduct on the part of Turkey that is incompatible with International Law,” he noted.
On Monday, Michel had a phone conversation with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis ahead of his planned visit to Athens on September 15.
Key topic of the conversation was the increasingly tense situation in the Eastern Mediterranean. Michel expressed again the solidarity of the European Union with Greece and Cyprus.
So far, Michel has not elaborated on the real purpose of the multinational conference with Turkey, including the countries that he intends to invite.
According to KTG information, invited will be countries on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the aim will be the demarcation of maritime zones.
But will Michel invite or exclude Cyprus that Turkey does not recognize and refuse to be in the same room with the Greek-Cypriot government?
Charles Michel may enlighten us when he will be in Athens next week.
I suppose – and according to traditional practices in international/multinational conferences – the multinational conference on East Med will also need some donors for the purchase of rulers to draw the maritime zones according to Turkey’s liking.
PS I consider Michel’s proposal as a “bubble” with the sole purpose to show that the EU cares about the thorny issues in the East Med and takes initiatives to find solutions.
However, so far, the new EU leadership, form head to the toe, has not shown us any signs of strong leadership with vision.