written by On April 21, 2014 in 2010-2016, Europe, Ukraine, WIIS Blog

By Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller and Dr. Daniela Schwarzer

Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its efforts to destabilize the transitional government in Kyiv have reframed the relationship between Europe and Russia in Europe’s eastern neighborhood from an uneasy geopolitical balancing into full-on systemic conflict. The competition over Ukraine also puts the rest of the eastern neighborhood at significant risk. The EU together with the United States must now do what it takes to protect Ukraine’s right to choose its future path. The Europeans will have to pay a price for Ukraine’s transformation, and some EU member states will be more vulnerable than others to pressure from Russia. But the cost of not countering Russian attempts to destabilize Ukraine would be even higher. Germany will be a key player, given its economic and political power in the EU, its geographical location, and its special ties with Russia.

The immediate task is to stabilize the transition in Ukraine. This will mean incentives and support for Ukraine; effective, targeted sanctions against Russia; and protection for vulnerable states in the neighborhood and in the EU. For the medium-to-long term, the West should prepare for two possible scenarios for its relationship with Russia: a de-escalation scenario, and a “Cold War II.” In both cases, the EU should overhaul its Eastern Partnership policy, providing much stronger political and economic backing for democratic transformation and association with the West. In the latter scenario, the EU should reduce its own vulnerability to Russian action and increase its capacity to project soft and hard power in the region. The external threat has the potential to give decisive momentum to European integration, e.g. in the areas of energy and defense.

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Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller has been a Senior Transatlantic Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Berlin since 2009. Before, she served as the director of the Berlin office from 2005 to 2009. 

From 1994 until 2005, Constanze Stelzenmüller was an editor in the political section of the Hamburg weekly DIE ZEIT. From 1998 onwards, she was defense and international security editor; previously, she covered human rights issues, humanitarian crises in Africa and the Balkans, as well as international criminal tribunals. Stelzenmüller holds a doctorate in law from the University of Bonn (1992), a Master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1988), and a first state examination in law from the University of Bonn (1985). From 1988-1989, she was a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. She was a GMF Campus Fellow at Grinnell College in Iowa, a Woodrow Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar in Washington, DC, and a member of the Remarque Forum (a conference series of the Remarque Institute at New York University).

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Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller has been a Senior Transatlantic Fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Berlin since 2009. Before, she served as the director of the Berlin office from 2005 to 2009.

From 1994 until 2005, Constanze Stelzenmüller was an editor in the political section of the Hamburg weekly DIE ZEIT. From 1998 onwards, she was defense and international security editor; previously, she covered human rights issues, humanitarian crises in Africa and the Balkans, as well as international criminal tribunals. Stelzenmüller holds a doctorate in law from the University of Bonn (1992), a Master in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University (1988), and a first state examination in law from the University of Bonn (1985). From 1988-1989, she was a Visiting Researcher at Harvard Law School. She was a GMF Campus Fellow at Grinnell College in Iowa, a Woodrow Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar in Washington, DC, and a member of the Remarque Forum (a conference series of the Remarque Institute at New York University).

 

Daniela Schwarzer is the Director of the Europe Program at the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). She joined GMF’s Berlin office in January 2014.

Before joining GMF, Dr. Schwarzer headed the European Integration Division at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP, the German Institute for International and Security Affairs), Europe’s largest foreign and security policy research institute, from 2008 to January 2014. SWP advises the German government and Parliament in international and security affairs. She joined the Institute in 2005. In 2012-2013, she was a Fritz Thyssen visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and a non-resident fellow of the Transatlantic Academy at GMF. She has been an adjunct faculty member of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin since 2010 and has taught in graduate programs in universities in Europe and China since 2001.

 

This was originally published by the German Marshall Fund.