"We want to see diplomatic solutions," declared Chancellor Angela Merkel in her video podcast. "In the case of Ukraine we will now launch a new attempt to have implemented the provisions agreed in the Minsk Protocol. The first fragile shoots can now be seen, which we can perhaps develop further." Irrespective of progress on this front though, past injustice must not be ignored.
Good relations desired
The Association Agreements between the European Union and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova are not directed against Russia stated the Chancellor unequivocally. The aim is to establish closer links between the economic areas. "And Russia should not be an exception in this context."
The Chancellor stressed that "we would like to have good relations with Russia based on partnership". She thus welcomes the important idea of discussing trade issues with Russia. In this context it is crucial for the European Union to act in unison, said Angela Merkel.
No military solution
"This is the most dangerous conflict Europe has seen for decades, but in comparison to the major crises in the Middle East I think it is still a conflict we can resolve," declared Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a newspaper interview about the crisis in Ukraine.
Frank-Walter Steinmeier underlined the fact that there can be no military solutions in the Ukraine crisis. The focus is on de-escalation and conflict resolution, which also means that the EU and Russia must talk frankly and openly about their divergent interests or even irreconcilable differences.
Forging ahead with reforms in Ukraine
On Sunday evening the Chancellor spoke by telephone with the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the French President François Hollande. They agreed unanimously that the Minsk Protocol must remain the basis for improving the situation.
Over and above this, Angela Merkel and François Hollande encouraged Ukraine’s President to launch the planned extensive reform process now that the government has been formed. This is the only way to enable the Ukrainian economy to recover and for the necessary international financial assistance to be provided.