Professor Dr. Rainer Lindner was born in 1966. He is the Chairman of the „German-Ukrainian Forum” and has been Director of the Committee of Eastern European Economic Relations since 2008. He was also an advisor on foreign policy of the Federal Government and the Bundestag at the German Institute for Foreign Affairs and Security (SWP).
As long as there is no peace in Ukraine, there will not be peace in Europe. Of course, the situation that is happening now, including the annexation of the Crimea, contradicts the law. And we must avoid a military solution of the conflict when searching for a way out. It is crucial to run a full-scale peace process. As we see in eastern Ukraine, there is a danger that the conflict will be frozen, which will affect greatly on the situation in the whole of Ukraine … It is indispensable to start a process preserving the unity of Ukraine.
Without a free trade zone with Russia in the near future, including all the country between Russia and Europe, I think these conflicts that we are seeing now will continue. We must, indeed, unite our interests, including economic interests.
It is necessary that, after all, Ukraine and Russia will have some bilateral relations at first. And then only Europe can begin, and Europe should be confident that such a role of a mediator has a chance of success.
Of course, without the inclusion of Moscow and Moscow’s interests nothing is possible. It has to be clarified in bilateral talks which interests exist in Russia, and in tripartite talks we need to find out which common interests exist, and how far reaches the willingness to participate in such processes in Ukraine, the EU and Russia. But maintaining stability, returning stability is, of course, impossible without Russia … It is necessary to strengthen the regions without federalization, to preserve the unity of the country, to organize more effective administration, to fight corruption. And also to look for an opportunity for dialogue between the parties of the conflict, including the international parties.