In Paris, the preparations for negotiations leaders “channel four” — Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France to resolve the conflict in the Donbass. Each of the countries taking part of the “Norman format” negotiations pursues its own interests, and the overlap of these interests made negotiations possible. Analytical portal RuBaltic.Ru figured out why “Norman format” is needed in Germany and what are the goals of Berlin, participating in the negotiations on the fate of Donbass.
Coming December 9 talks in the “Normandy format” is largely due to the activity of the President of Emmanuel Macron on the foreign policy direction. The French leader is willing to accept in Paris the colleagues from Russia, Germany and Ukraine to discuss the prospects of the Minsk agreements. The organization representative meeting on the Ukrainian crisis can be considered in line with public statements of the Macron about “brain death” NATO, the controversy with Donald trump and other bright initiatives designed to demonstrate the independent character of French foreign policy.
At the same time, agreement on a new meeting in the “Normandy format” from the West would be impossible without a fundamental agreement of Germany. In Berlin there is no objection to the fact that the negotiations “channel four” can lead to positive results. They have a good premise: constructive rhetoric of the President Zelensky, the results of breeding the warring parties in the troubled areas, positive signals from Russia.
German, like Russian, has not been set to hold a meeting for the sake of meeting, and the upcoming talks in Paris should be seen primarily in terms of preparedness in Berlin and Moscow.For Germany the Normandy format is an important platform for dialogue with Russia to discuss the Ukrainian crisis and its attendant problems. Despite the fact that the format was developed on the initiative of France, that Berlin is considered the unofficial voice of Europe and to a certain extent the entire West. Among all EU leaders (not to mention the USA) only Angela Merkel has sufficient experience in negotiations and international authority to effectively and constructively to discuss with Vladimir Putin.
At the talks “channel four” leaders of Russia and Germany could discuss not only the implementation of the Minsk agreements, but also related issues, for example, gas transit through the territory of Ukraine.
Thanks to the “Normandy format” reduction of contacts at the highest level after 2014 between Russia and Germany was not an absolute. In the days of the greatest aggravation of the Ukrainian crisis, Angela Merkel actually served as intermediary between the West and Russia. This fact gave the opportunity to maintain a dialogue on issues of bilateral relations.Thanks to the “Normandy format” Germany is strengthening its relations with France, remaining in the current European tandem in the leading position. President françois Hollande was not able to emerge from the shadows of an experienced Chancellor. Assertiveness and vitality of the Emmanuel Macron demonstrates the commitment of Paris to seize the initiative from the German colleagues. In reality, however, Paris has little to offer in the negotiations, in addition to individual institutional initiatives.
The economic interests of Germany are represented in Ukraine is much wider than that of France, and the involvement of Berlin in East European issues higher French activity in this direction.On the eve of Ukraine’s presidential election, both candidates were equally warm (ie, indifferent) adopted by Macron, whereas in the Federal Chancellor’s office chose to set clear priorities, organizing a meeting only with Merkel Petro Poroshenko.
On the other hand, formal diplomatic weight of Paris useful for the German leadership. Is unlikely that the Ukrainian crisis will require updating the status of France as a nuclear power. But a veto, and the vote in the UN security Council can be relevant. The French partners can shift and voicing of unpopular or questionable reputation initiatives unacceptable to careful the German diplomacy.
The Normandy format was the training ground for German diplomacy to resolve international crises.Numerous intricacies in the middle East and unrest in Latin America remain outside the serious influence from Berlin. However, in Ukraine, Germany acts as an interested player.
It is no coincidence that one of the most important initiatives to resolve the crisis in Ukraine is the President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier. German politicians gain valuable skills for the promotion of German and European interests in an unstable geopolitical space when interacting with major international players.
In terms of the cooling of us-German relations under the President of Donald trump, the participation of Germany in the “Normandy format” has acquired a new meaning in the context of dialogue between Berlin and Washington.
In his time in Germany did not support the proposal of the Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to expand the “channel format” at the expense of inclusion in it.Despite the apparent unity of the West in the Ukrainian crisis, Berlin and Washington have different favorites in the political life of Ukraine and not United in their assessment of the future of the Eastern European States.The United States is in this situation for Germany is not the dependable and powerful overseas partner and competitor for economic and political influence.
Germany, like Russia, is interested in resolving the Ukrainian crisis. Military tensions in the Donbas, continued recession of the Ukrainian economy, political chaos is fixed for Ukraine the status of a source of instability in the East of the European continent.
The resumption of large-scale hostilities in the South-East will lead to a wave of refugees to the EU territory, forcing the German government again to Fund their placement and content.Progress in the establishment of peace in Ukraine would allow Germany to start the process for the revision of anti-Russian economic sanctions, in favor of what are the influential political forces inside the ruling coalition and among the opposition.Artem Sokolov