New Director for Eastern Europe at the Federal Foreign Office Andreas Peschke visited Kyiv on 30 and 31 July. His trip focused on the details of how Germany’s partnership and solidarity with Ukraine would be shaped from now on.
Focus on a close partnership
His first official visit to the Ukrainian capital on Thursday and Friday offered Ambassador Peschke the opportunity to meet with a large number of different contacts. The Director for Eastern Europe first met Oleksei Makeiev, Political Director of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Thursday. Afterwards, Peschke exchanged ideas with young pro‑European members of the Ukrainian Parliament as well as with the chairman of the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, Mykhaylo Okhendovsky. He also took advantage of his trip to Kyiv to talk to representatives of the business community, the press and civil society.
At the beginning of the week, Peschke had already met a group of human rights defenders at the Federal Foreign Office for talks in Berlin. Their discussion primarily addressed the current situation in eastern Ukraine.
In light of Germany’s ongoing engagement for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, Ambassador Peschke was also very interested in talking to Ukrainian representatives of the working groups on business, political affairs and security of the Trilateral Contact Group which operates within the framework of the Minsk agreements. During the week Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier met with chairman of the Trilateral Contact Group Ambassador Pierre Morel in Berlin for a discussion on the efforts to move the political process forward.
Germany actively engages
Director for Eastern Europe Peschke told his interlocutors in Kyiv that the close partnership between Germany and Ukraine was unique. According to Peschke, there were currently few countries in the world with which Germany worked so closely to provide support.
The partnership was based on three pillars: a strong commitment to finding a political solution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, support for Ukraine’s economy – above all in terms of decentralisation, energy efficiency, modernisation and fighting corruption – and finally close relations between the countries’ societies, between cities and municipalities as well as in the field of culture.
According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science, some one million Ukrainians are currently learning German at 8,500 schools in the country, namely half of all Ukrainian schools, 40 of which are are schools known as PASCH schools. An additional 4,500 Ukrainians take German lessons every year at the Goethe‑Institut in Kyiv. In September the German Embassy in the capital will once again collaborate with intermediary organisations to host its popular ‘German Weeks’.