Germany, like no other country in Europe, is interested in defusing tensions with Russia. But this new "Eastern policy" cannot be, as has happened in the past, purely German, she should be only European. The path to the normalization of Russia's relations with the EU and the West in General, passes through the Donbass. With this thesis was made by the German foreign Minister Gabriel held at the Berlin foreign policy forum Fund named Cerberus.
The foreign Minister of Germany has not changed its assessment of Russian actions against Ukraine. He condemns Russian intervention in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, calling it a violation of Ukrainian territorial integrity. Thus, the Minister said, Moscow has called into question the necessity of upholding international law and world order in General.
"At the moment, trust in relations between Russia and NATO is so undermined the capital — says Gabriel — that both sides begin to question the policy of reducing nuclear weapons, held in 80-ies of the last century".
The German Minister expressed doubts about the long term effect of the 1987 ban on the deployment of nuclear medium-range missiles in Europe and did not rule out a new nuclear arms race on the continent. And the main victims in such a "cold war 2.0" , according to him, it will be Germany.
Gabriel on sanctions and the UN mission in the Donbass
To prevent such developments, the foreign Minister of Germany considers it necessary to return to Russia in the field of legal order, which for so long provided security in Europe. But not only through sanctions, which he still calls a valid instrument of pressure on the Kremlin.
"It would be a major advance, said Gabriel, if we were able to agree with Russia on a stable mission of "blue helmets" of the UN in the East of Ukraine to finally achieve a long-term ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons".
The fact that Moscow is actually willing to discuss the issue, he believes the encouraging and offers in exchange for agreement on the "blue helmets" to provide European aid in post-war restoration of Donbass and to take the first steps towards the lifting of sanctions.
"It would not be a final solution to the conflict in Ukraine and implementation of Minsk agreements, says Gabriel, but was a breakthrough and a big step toward a new policy of détente in relations with Russia".
However, the new policy of détente in modern conditions can not only be German, explained Gabriel. Successful, in his opinion, it can become only if it will support the new members of NATO and the EU from Eastern and Central Europe.
New Eastern policy — nice, but unrealistic
Programme Director Eastern Europe and Central Asia at the German society for foreign policy (DGAP) Stefan Meister does not believe in the reality of the new European Eastern policy.
"I don't see how the EU can agree on a new policy of détente toward Russia, he said in an interview with DW. Just because the positions of countries members of the EU are too different". But Russia expert sees no sincere action aimed at easing tensions. The conflict between Russia on the one hand, the EU and Germany on the other, according to him, on the contrary, aggravated. Therefore, what Gabriel said, Meister believes the rhetoric, the expression of unrealistic expectations of the Minister.
The foreign policy expert of the parliamentary faction of the CDU Roderich Kiesewetter also was critical of the proposed foreign Minister of the new Eastern policy of Russia.
Before talking about détente or disarmament, he said in an interview with DW, "it is necessary to achieve implementation of the Minsk agreements, to show that we can not accept long-term occupation of the Crimea." The European Union, he said, "needs to learn how to secure their interests in the security sphere".
The role of Russia and the EU on the world stage
In principle, Sigmar Gabriel also advocated a more active role of the EU on the world stage. "Either we are a force for good in this world, or the rest of the world, we will organize at its own discretion," said he.
Gabriel listed three possible from his point of view version of the future global order. The first one is "G-zero": a system in which, that is, every man for himself. Such position the Minister compared the situation in Europe after the signing of the peace of Westphalia, that is, since the end in 1648 the Thirty years war until 1945.
The second option — "G-2", a revival of a bipolar world with the only difference that the second place along with the United States superpower is not Russia, and China. The third option, which Gabriel considers it preferable, — "G-x" where "x" is less than the G-20, but not identical to the G-7. And in this world that has not two, but not twenty poles, he would like to see the EU in a new, more active role.
But isn't this approach the German Minister a slap in the face for Russia, claiming the role of the great powers? No, because these are the realities of world politics, says Stefan Meister.
"From the point of view of the economy and resources, and its attractiveness Russia is not a global and regional power, — the expert specifies. — Yes, it has nuclear weapons and a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, which reflect the global ambitions, but it is not power that defines the world order, she has no resources. This role may apply only to China and USA".