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All eyes on Brussels as EU leaders take on east Med conflict

The EU's 27 leaders are set to meet in Brussels on Thursday to find ways out of escalating tensions between Turkey and bloc members Greece and Cyprus over gas exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean region.

The EU‘s 27 leaders are set to meet in Brussels on Thursday to find ways out of escalating tensions between Turkey and bloc members Greece and Cyprus over gas exploration activities in the eastern Mediterranean region.

The summit was initially scheduled for last week, but it had to be postponed when European Council President Charles Michel entered quarantine because of contact with a person infected with Covid-19. He has since tested negative for the virus.

While a host of issues are on the agenda, the heart of the discussions will centre on Turkey.

“Our objective is to create a space for a constructive dialogue with Turkey to achieve stability and security in the whole region, and to ensure full respect for the sovereignty and sovereign rights of all EU member states,” Michel told leaders in an open letter ahead of the meeting.

Relations with the EU‘s neighbour have deteriorated in recent months after Turkey sent a seismic research vessel into disputed waters in July.

“This will only be possible if Turkey engages constructively. All options remain on the table to defend the legitimate interests of the EU and its member states,” he said.

Although the one-week-delay bought Michel some time to bring the countries to the negotiation table, sanctions are unlikely to be decided on during the meeting on Thursday, according to one EU source. Another EU source said on Wednesday that it remained unclear whether sanctions would be agreed upon.

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