Germany and Spain: Similarities and Differences in Approach to Ukrainian Crisis

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-11-46-55

M. Khorol'skaya (,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation;
E. Cherkasova (,
Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), Russian Federation.), 23 Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation

Abstract. The Ukrainian crisis has led to a serious deterioration in Russia-EU relations. Meanwhile, there are both common features and differences in approaches of different European Union countries to the events in Ukraine. The Federal Republic of Germany as the largest state of the Union most interested in resolving the crisis exercises the greatest influence on the solidary position of the EU. In turn, the formation of Germany’s stance is seriously influenced by positions of political parties in the country, especially those belonging to the “big coalition” in power. The standpoints of the leading German parties on key issues of resolving the Ukrainian crisis are close. They recognize only political measures aimed at normalizing the situation, and support the Minsk Agreements. Russia’s “annexation” of the Crimea is condemned, but at the moment it is “out of the brackets”. In German politics, there are two main approaches to cooperation with Moscow: supporters of the first approach are in favor of maintaining the sanctions until the implementation of the Minsk2; supporters of the second one require rejection of the sanctions policy and improving bilateral Russian-German relations. Spain, on the contrary, due to geographical remoteness and a low level of economic relations with Russia, perceives the Ukrainian crisis almost exclusively through the prism of national interests related to the problem of preserving the country’s territorial integrity. This article analyzes the approach of Germany (on the example of the political parties’ standpoints) as most characteristic for the EU, and that of Spain (comparing Catalonia and the Crimea) as most reflecting the specificity of individual EU countries’ positions. The question of similarities and differences between the situations in Catalonia and the Crimea is a “case study” of the broader problem of the correlation between the principles of maintaining a country’s territorial integrity and the right of nations for self-determination. The priority in this analysis is given to the situation in Catalonia, and the situation in the Crimea is viewed in a wider context of Spain’s attitude to the Ukrainian crisis. 

Keywords: Germany, political parties, Ukrainian crisis, Russia, Spain, Catalonia, Crimea, independence, autonomy, referendum, constitution 


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For citation:
Khorolskaya M., Cherkasova E. Germany and Spain: Similarities and Differences in Approach to Ukrainian Crisis. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 11, pp. 46-55.

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