“At the moment it looks like Germany has a strategic interest in Ukraine, but lacks a far-reaching vision,” Kateryna Zarembo, deputy director of the New Europe Center, took part in the international conference “Ukraine in the Election Year 2019: New Tendencies and Developments in Politics and Civil Society”. Organized by the Institute for European Policy (IEP) the conference became a central event on Ukraine in Berlin within the inter-election period – the organizers invited entire “squadron” of Ukrainian analysts and German top experts on Ukraine.
After speaking at the first panel discussion, along with Alexander Hug, former Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, Andreas Protman, leading Ukrainian portfolio at the German Foreign Ministry and Katrin Böttger, IEP Director, Kateryna Zarembo shared the latest views of Ukrainian and German experts on current Ukrainian foreign policy challenges.
What is the future of the Minsk process under Zelensky presidency?
⁃ Germany is satisfied with its first contacts with President Zelensky, a visit to Berlin is being prepared soon
⁃ The purpose of Berlin is to “reload the peace process.” So far, there has been only conflict management, not resolution
⁃ Zelensky is perceived as a president prioritizing humanitarian part of the settlement (“people first” formula, in contrast to “safety first” formula)
⁃ There is an understanding that the implementation of any security measures on cease-fire regime establishment requires the will of both parties. During the past week the number of ceasefire regime violations increased by 50% compared to the previous period
⁃ At the upcoming revision of sanctions against Russia in Brussels, the issue of their removal will not be discussed. Sanctions can be lifted only after the full implementation of the Minsk agreements
Is there life after Nord Stream 2?
⁃ The Naftogaz reform is a prerequisite for perceiving Ukraine as a reliable transitory
⁃ The creation of German, Central and Eastern European companies consortium, which could take the Ukrainian gas transport system for lease with an aim of transit, is currently being discussed
⁃ Putin assured Merkel that the transit through Ukrainian territory would continue. Germany takes his word for it
Ukrainian battle in the Council of Europe: to win or not to win?
Kateryna Zarembo expressed her impression of this issue discussion: “As for me, I reminded German colleagues about the next Ukrainian battle in the Council of Europe and urged German parliamentarians to express their support there (unfortunately, current Germany’s position is opposite to Ukraine’s interests). When I heard that the fact of sanctions against Russia in the EU being kept for five years is a miracle, I replied that there is nothing bad in miracles, meaning that the EU is actually capable of more. Everything depends only the will – at the moment it looks like Germany has a strategic interest in Ukraine, but lacks a far-reaching vision. It is in Ukraine’s interests to help Germany to develop it. “