German Business-Dialogue with Moscow

By Oleg Nikiforov

An acute domestic and foreign political situation, established after factual refusal of Kiev to sign the EU association treaty, encouraged German business circles to specify in public its line in this issue.


By this German entrepreneurs in comparison with European politicians, who judged the line of Russia in relation to this treaty, supported three-party dialogue between Brussels, Moscow and Kiev. Considering influential Eastern Committee the German industry needs new talks between the EU and Russia, as well as other states of the Customs Union. The statement of the Head of the Eastern Committee Eckhard Cordes states that Brussels should be open for Ukraine and should take the course for establishment of the Common Economic Area with the Eastern Partnership states and Russia and other Customs Union states. By this he reminds that Ukraine as well as Moldova and Georgia and other states of the Eastern Partnership depend on good economic relations with the EU and Russia. In this situation, according to Cordes, it is senseless to force Ukraine or other Eastern Partnership states choosing sides, as European politicians do at the moment.


As known, in the middle of November Cordes visited Kiev to meet the President Yanukovych. That is why he treated seriously enough the arguments of Yanukovych on the need to postpone the association treaty signing, as it would result in losing of traditional partners of Ukraine and would simply overload the economy of the country, which may not hold such an extreme turn. “We should find a solution, - demanded Cordes, - in order for the Eastern Partnership states could deepen their EU association treaties and simultaneously have a possibility to cooperate with the Customs Union states”. As the Eastern Committee’s Head considers, the Eastern Partnership program is not against Russia and it should assist stabilization of economic situation and economic growth in whole Eastern Europe. But we can get the trust of Russia in this issue, he underlined, only in case of Russia would be involved into this process as a partner. Cordes thinks that the pause after the refusal of Kiev to sign the EU association treaty during the Vilnius Summit should be devoted to a deeper study of claims expressed by Russia on this treaty and to find corresponding solutions.


According to Cordes  and it is extremely important for Germany to undertake the initiative now and to encourage its partners to get down to negotiations in a three-party format.


The line of business circles of Germany to a known extent repeats famous suggestions of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on three-party talks. We should not exclude that these suggestions were coordinated with German business circles during the visit of Cordes in Kiev. But we should remind that the reaction of the European Union politicians on the suggestion of Kiev to start such negotiations, expressed particularly in a severe fight-back of the Foreign Affairs Minister of Lithuania chairing the EU till the end of this year Linas  Linkevičius, who declared about “unacceptability and unprecedented character” of this format. By the way Moscow, as a permanent representative of Russia for the EU Vladimir Chizhov noted, is ready for the three-party talks with Ukraine and the European Union in economic issues and they only wait for the decision of the EU representatives. “The idea of this three-party dialogue between Russia, the EU and Ukraine is not new. Russia has always been open for such format. But naturally this should be done at the state of the corresponding decision-making, and not for the discussion of finalized, signed documents, not in the mode of already accomplished facts”, – he stated according to ITAR-TASS.


It is clear that between “new” and “old” member of the European Community there are disagreements regarding the Eastern Partnership objectives. In some East European capitals this idea is perceived rather as political mean for limitation of influence of Moscow within the post-soviet area. And this point, as the Eastern Committee’s statement demonstrates, there is a principal difference in the approach of “new” and “old” members of the European Union. In this respect the demand of German business towards German Government to undertake the initiative of three-party negotiations is understandable. There no doubts that it is Germany as the most currently powerful member of the European Community is able to encourage anti-Russian circles of the EU to compose themselves and get down to negotiations with Moscow.


Translated by EuroDialogueXXI from ng.ru