Prime Minister: learn from Angela Merkel

Yesterday, Roman Olearchyk in Kiev and Jeevan Vasagar in Berlin reported for the FT that Angela Merkel, on behalf of the German government, has called for the Ukraine to consider a federal solution. Ms Merkel, who has frequent contacts with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, held talks with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko before the summit in Minsk onTuesday, which will be attended by leaders from the EU, Ukraine and Russia. A summary:

The German chancellor said: “There must be two sides to be successful. You cannot achieve peace on your own. I hope the talks with Russia will lead to success.”

Germany has played a key role in mediating between Russia and Ukraine. Peace talks held in Berlin this month discussed specific proposals to secure the border between Russia and Ukraine, and prevent the flow of weapons, but the talks ended without agreement. Mr Poroshenko has said any peace agreement must involved Russia pulling its “mercenaries” from Ukrainian territory and halting the flow of arms to separatist militants.

angela merkel in kiev

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s vice-chancellor, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper: “The territorial integrity of Ukraine can only be preserved when one makes an offer to the regions with a Russian majority. A smart concept of federalisation seems to me to be the only way.” He added that the goal of German efforts was above all “to avoid a direct military confrontation between Ukraine and Russia under any circumstances”.

Mr Gabriel said he saw no possibility of a return of Crimea to Ukraine: “No one currently assumes that the annexation of Crimea can be swiftly reversed.”

Kiev’s leadership has repeatedly rejected Moscow’s calls for federalisation, but Petro Poroshenko’s peace plan does envision decentralisation of government by granting more governing authority to regional government than exists in the Russian Federation. Mr Poroshenko has said any peace agreement must involve Russia pulling its “mercenaries” from Ukrainian territory and halting the flow of arms to separatist militants.

Russian officials insist Ukraine is irreparably split along its ethnic and linguist east-west fault line and that ethnic Russians around the country are under threat. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for a federalization of its former satellite state into two (or more) regions with greater economic, political, and cultural autonomy.

Ms Merkel announced a credit guarantee of €500m for Ukraine’s energy and water supply, and €25m in aid for refugees.

ukrainian refugeesThousands of people leave their homes

The parlous state of civilians is detailed in another FT article: ‘The Laskirev family tried to stay neutral as the Ukrainian army and Russian-backed separatists battle for the Lugansk region. But over the course of four months of heavy fighting, they have begun to blame Ukraine’s new president and the government in Kiev for the conflict. “Who gives a son a weapon so that he can go and shoot his own mother? Ms Laskireva says. “That is not right . . . Everything was fine. There was some stability and now we have to run from our homes. Now, we do not know what to do.”

 

And one of the less appreciated contributory causes?

 

There is little reference to the March IMF-imposed austerity measures which many feel are compounding pressure on the country’s working class. In 2010 the FT reported that ratings agencies Moody’s and S&P, warned that such ‘austerity’ measures increase the potential for ‘social unrest’. . .

 

A search revealed many references cloaked in abtstruse lanuage – see the IMF’s World Economic Outlook (2012), PAGE 140: “Adjustment to external shocks economies where “latent social conflict” is high— as measured by proxies such as income inequality, ethnic and linguistic fractionalization, and social mistrust—adjustment tends to be inadequate, prolonging the negative effects of the shock”.

 

Michael Pizzi commented in April: “What has puzzled many analysts about the loan program is that the IMF appears to be ignoring its own advice by demanding such severe austerity measures so soon after an uprising”.


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Posted on August 24, 2014, in Admirable politician, Government, Planning, Vested interests and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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