German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in Ukraine today for bilateral talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on economic ties and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
The talks agenda will primarily focus on boosting EU-Ukraine ties and reaffirming Europe’s commitment to defending the Minsk peace agreement. An uptick in violence in the country’s restive eastern regions of the country has elevated concern about Europe’s ongoing commitment to the peace process. This will be increasingly difficult as Ukraine begins to pass passing the first sets of of criteria for NATO membership criteria and as its economic association agreement with the EU gains full implementation.
Merkel also arrives in Ukraine as her party faced another major political humiliation in elections in the German state of Hesse, forcing her resignation as leader of the CDU and raising concerns about the longevity of her chancellorship and wider influence. The rapid destabilisation of German politics in the past year has also elevated concern about Germany’s ability to guide EU policy. While Kiev remains reasonably secure from an economic perspective, the relative failure of the Minsk platform—combined with domestic politic gyrations in Germany and throughout Europe— raises long-term concerns about Europe’s material commitment to the process. For now, peace. The continued gyrations in European politics are also likely to see peace in Ukraine will be placed on the EU’s the back burner in the medium-term.
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Kai looks at security and political turbulence in the emerging market economies and also serves as a publisher with The Daily Brief.