Report: After the Federal Elections — 7th Germany Breakfast Debate
Exploratory talks are taking place in Berlin and soon a coalition will be formed. Experts from both countries discussed how a new federal government will change German-Ukrainian relations.
The federal elections were followed just as closely in Ukraine as the exploratory negotiations currently taking place. From the Ukrainian perspective, uncertainties are associated with the election winner, the Social Democrats. One expert assessed that Olaf Scholz had made his position clear: the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas were an urgent problem. No clear statement could yet be made about the influence of the party left, especially since many of the MPs are new to the Bundestag. However, the Green Party and the FDP could be a corrective as junior partners in a traffic light coalition.
A central challenge for the bilateral relationship is the realignment of foreign policy priorities. The focus is often on “hot topics” such as migration and terrorist financing. If Germany’s foreign policy resources, which are already limited, were to be taken up more by conflicts within the EU in the future, German-Ukrainian relations could suffer.
In addition, the speakers emphasised that future issues, such as renewable energies, should be included in the dialogue. The transitional phase of the coalition negotiations should be used as an opportunity for German-Ukrainian relations. Topics and concerns should be actively formulated.
The Breakfast Debate “Ukraine-Germany: The Role of the Federal Elections for Bilateral Relations” in Kyiv, which was attended by many participants, took place in a hybrid format. Anka Feldhusen, German Ambassador to Ukraine, gave the welcome address. Three speakers highlighted their assessments of the state of affairs after the election: Wilfried Jilge from the Berlin Centre for International Peace Operations (ZIF), André Härtel from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) and Gustav Gressel from the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).
The Germany Breakfast Debates are part of the project “German-Ukrainian Researchers Network” (GURN 2) and are organised in close cooperation with the Ukrainian partner organisation New Europe Center (NEC, Kyiv).