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Government statement

Chancellor wants respect for sovereign Ukraine

A sovereign Ukraine that enjoys territorial integrity remains the goal of the German government, stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel in the government statement she delivered today in the German Bundestag. To resolve the crisis in Ukraine it is important to ensure the full implementation of the provisions of the Minsk Protocol, she said.

In her government statement on the European Council meeting starting today, Chancellor Angela Merkel put events in Ukraine in a historical context. The two world wars had dramatic consequences for Europe. It was not until the Berlin Wall fell and the Cold War came to an end that all of the people of Europe were actually able to exercise their right to self-determination.

Protecting and defending values

"We must never forget how lucky we are to have a united Europe, against the backdrop of European history and against the backdrop of current crises and wars," declared Angela Merkel. Germany and Europe must always "stand up for our values. We must protect and defend them."

If we allow the right of the people of Eastern and Central Europe to self-determination to be called into question "that would mean nothing other than carving up Europe again into spheres of influence – yes, it would mean a new division of Europe," said the Chancellor. Germany’s political actions are then aimed at ensuring "a sovereign Ukraine with territorial integrity, which can take charge of its own future," she declared unequivocally.

Partnership with Russia too

Any return to thinking in terms of spheres of influence would be a major step backwards for Ukraine, for European security, and for Europe as a whole, said the Chancellor. And Germany will not permit this. Coexistence in Europe is based on the law and on respect, stressed the Chancellor, and pledged, "We also want to base our relations with Russia on the principles of partnership, law and respect. And we will do all we can to ensure that relations between Russia and Ukraine also reflect these values."

Germany’s actions continue to aim to ensure the supremacy of the law, rather than allowing the law of the jungle to prevail. "The goal is and will remain European security with Russia, not against Russia." Contacts between civil societies should be stepped up further. "We would like to address the challenges to international security together, and goodness knows there are enough of them," stressed the Chancellor. It is now up to Russia "to accept the offer of dialogue on the basis of the European peace order".

For reforms in Ukraine

There can be no military solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. What is needed is patience and stamina, she said. That is why German policies are pursuing three separate approaches. Firstly, to provide political and economic support for Ukraine. "Following the elections we now expect Ukraine to take decisive steps to modernise the economy, strengthen the rule of law and fight corruption," stated Angela Merkel.

In winter in particular humanitarian aid must be stepped up. Ukraine must be enabled to deliver relief supplies safely to the areas in the east of the country that are controlled by separatists.

For a swift meeting of the Contact Group

Secondly, Germany continues to seek dialogue with Russia. That is why, in a telephone conference with Presidents Hollande, Putin and Poroshenko, she had again stressed "the importance of a full ceasefire," declared the Chancellor. A ceasefire of this sort was agreed in Minsk in September. "So that progress can be made at last here, we would like to see a swift meeting of the Contact Group, which brings together Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)."

Thirdly, sanctions are unavoidable for as long as Russia calls into question the peace order. However, the Chancellor once again stressed, "Sanctions are not and have never been an end in themselves."

Dec 18, 2014