Public Debate: “Ukraine-Germany: How to Turn Situational Partnership into Priority One”

04:49 PM 9-2-2016

On February 9, 2016 the Institute of World Policy held a public debate: “Ukraine-Germany: How to Turn Situational Partnership into Priority One”.At the event Alyona Getmanchuk, Director of the IWP, and Sergiy Solodkyy, First Deputy Director of the IWP, presented their research on Ukrainian-German relations with the same title.

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The analysis is a part of IWP new ambitious initiative “Ukraine’s Foreign Policy Audit” that will cover Ukraine’s relations with its strategic partners. In the end of the project the IWP will prepare concrete recommendations to revised Ukraine’s Foreign Policy Strategy.
Ulrich Speck, Senior Fellow of the Transatlantic Academy in Washington, Alyona Getmanchuk, Director of the IWP, and Wolfgang Bindseil, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

Ulrich Speck:
Today Ukraine-Germany relations have its momentum as never before thanks to the Euromaidan. There is a sense in Germany that Ukraine is changing and moving ahead from its post-Soviet mores. Ukraine should do everything to strengthen this relationship. Berlin is a key player on the European level for that and also on the bilateral level – both elements are important.
I would not recommend tonot focusing too much on NATO and on the EU; it would be great to have EU membership as a “carrot”, something that gives you a goal and would help very much with investment, people would start to trust that Ukraine will look like Poland in 10 or 20 years but this “carrot” is not available, so you need to develop the political will to reforms from the inside.
And I would rather not look at NATO as something one day should come and save you. I would rather think about defense. It will be useful for you to be able to defend your borders. Defense is something that every state needs, so Ukraine should think more about defense and reforms, than about NATO and the EU. And Germany can help with it.
I would you recommend not to focus too much on Russia. I think it is much more important to tell your own story and do non’t link yourself always to Russia, so the German-Ukrainian relations should be on the map of German-Ukrainian relations as a country, not just in connection with German-Russian relation.
Ukraine has many stories to tell. Euromaidan is an amazing story. Ukraine is a beautiful country, Kyiv is a beautiful city, but spending some time here I really have the feeling that Kyiv is in the shadow but it deserves to be among the main European capitals. This country must connect much more with the West, and Germany I think is ready to do more. And I support the idea of building relations on the level of societies, lands, partnership with cities, exchange programs, anything that will bring this country closer to German society. And also culture., Wwhy not to open the House of Ukrainian culture in the middle of Berlin? So there are a lot of can be done.
What is the risk? The risk is that if Ukraine is not going ahead with reforms there would be a lot of disappointment. I do non’t think that Germany would go back to the old relationship with Russia, it is clearly understanding that Russia does no’t exist; Germany would like to see modern Russia, that is a part of European house,a real partner. Now we see that Russia is or can be dangerous and not ready to be responsible stakeholder in international system. , So I do non’t think that Germany can return to the «Russia first» policy. But there is a risk that Ukraine will not use its opportunities.
Two remarks:
1. I do non’t think that refugee crisis will lead to increase of pro-Russian attitude, because everybody sees what Russia is doing in Syria. So people will see that Russia is not helpful.
2. I do non’t think that German foreign policy is determined by business. Basically German business supports Markel’s line on sanctions. Germany’s interest to Russia has very much decreased very much. The main driver of German policy towards Russia is a security.

Serhiy Taruta, Member of the Parliament of Ukraine, Сhairman of the Interparliamentary Cooperation between the Verkhovna Rada and the Bundestag
Vasyl Khymynets, Director of the First European Directorate Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine
Alexander Markus, Delegate of German Economy in Ukraine
The event was organized within the IWP’s project “New European Policy: Filling the Awareness Gap”. This project is carried out within the National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms (UNITER) project, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Pact in Ukraine.