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Report: After the Federal Elections — 7th Germany Breakfast Debate

Photo: New Europe Center (NEC)

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).