Germany has intensive relations with Russia, the five Central Asian republics, Ukraine, the three Southern Caucasus republics, Moldova and Belarus. It supports the stable and prosperous development of these countries and regions within the scope of bilateral relations and along with its European partners.
The European Union has two formats of its own for cooperation with its eastern neighbours: the Eastern Partnership, which includes Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Armenia and Azerbaijan, and a “partnership for the future” with the countries of Central Asia. Both aim to support stability, the development and strengthening of democracy, the rule of law and the free market economy in the partner countries.
Building and consolidating bridges
In what are often politically challenging times, the Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries endeavours to build and consolidate bridges. Both within Germany and on trips to the partner countries, he seeks to establish contacts with and to meet representatives of politics, business, science, academia and, in particular, civil society. He covers the whole region between Belarus and the Bering Sea and from the Arctic to the Central Asian steppes and mountains.
The Coordinator believes that dialogue is key to prevent prejudices from forming or becoming entrenched. He brings together people from Germany and from the EU’s eastern neighbourhood. He promotes cooperation to help build and preserve trust between societies. He relies on the power of civil societies.
On 26 August, following the Cabinet decision on his appointment, Johann Saathoff said:
I am delighted with my appointment as Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries. Cultivating relations with these 12 countries is very important to Germany, for they form our immediate neighbourhood. We can see very clearly once more at present that these countries face major challenges and that new ones can quickly emerge.
In its foreign policy, Germany has clear positions and champions democracy and human rights. Personal contacts as well as cooperation between civil societies beyond borders build trust and bridges even where the political situation is difficult. That applies in particular to German-Russian relations. Whether it be in Kyiv, Tbilisi, Nur‑Sultan or Bishkek – I look forward to getting to know the many large and small organisations which help shape our relations.
My previous area of expertise – economic policy and in particular energy policy – will stand me in good stead when it comes to intersocietal cooperation with all countries in our neighbourhood. At the latest since the Paris Agreement, climate and energy policy have been focused on global goals which can only be achieved through ongoing international cooperation. I already have much contact with the region in connection with renewable energies.
Curriculum vitae Johann Saathoff
Johann Saathoff has been Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries since August 2020.