In The New York Times newspaper, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier reminds that "Thirty years ago on Wednesday, Mikhail S. Gorbachev became secretary general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was the start of a rocky tenure at the head of a system that ultimately proved impossible to sustain or to reform. Europe and the United States seized the moment, and steered the world through the largely peaceful fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War," Joinfo.ua reports.
Today, however, the bond between consolidated Europe and the U.S. is being tested again. Conflicts gradually move closer to the European Union. Firstly, civil war in Syria, upheaval in Libya, and then – the conflict triggered by the occupation of Crimea and Russia's invasion in eastern Ukraine. Consequently, the European order established after 1989, is being called into question, the minister says.
Germany and France tried to tackle the conflict in Ukraine on the basis of four principles. Firstly, there was taken a firm stance against "Russia's aggression" through introduction of sanctions against the aggressor. Secondly, NATO has been strengthened. Thirdly, Europe began to support "Ukraine's transition" through humanitarian, economic and political support. According to Steinmeier, the most important goal is to force Russia to "end the conflict and move toward a more cooperative relationship."
"Admittedly, trust is at a low point," he emphasizes. But the Minsk agreements signed by the leaders of France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine, "provides an opportunity for calming an extremely fragile situation and outlines the path, however difficult, toward a politically negotiated solution." "What is most urgently needed now is a substantially strengthened mission by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is overseeing the agreement, and redoubled efforts to help Kiev focus on the most pressing reform needs," Steinmeier concludes.
Meanwhile, Germany and the EU began to discuss the idea of creating a common European army.