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1st German-Ukrainian Breakfast Debate

How can German aid to Ukraine become more sustainable? How is it perceived in both countries? What role does communication play? We discussed these and other questions at the first German-Ukrainian Breakfast Debate in Berlin.

Germany-Ukraine relations – where do we stand?

In the course of the Russian war of aggression, the position of the German government towards arms deliveries to Ukraine has changed. After initial restraint, Germany is now the second-biggest supplier of military support for Ukraine behind the USA. In addition, they provide financial support and donations for the areas of humanitarian aid and reconstruction. Nevertheless, according to the consensus among the speakers at the Breakfast Debate, the German government's course lacks sustainability and strategic vision. Although the Ukrainian side commented positively on the now more transparent communication about the weapons supplied by Germany, it still needed to be made clear to the own population in particular what was at stake for Europe.

Germany's military support must be increased in order to enable the recapture of the occupied parts of the country in the south, which are very important for the Ukrainian economy, and to put Ukraine in a better negotiating position.
Furthermore, the issue of human resources must be focussed more strongly in reconstruction and in the implementation of democratic reforms. In order for refugees to return to Ukraine, there must be security guarantees, housing and adequate access to education and jobs.

The first German-Ukrainian Breakfast Debate took place on the 12th of October, 2023 under the title "Germany-Ukraine relations - where do we stand?" at the Palais Populaire in Berlin. The speakers were Alyona Getmanchuk, Director of the New Europe Center in Kyiv, Olga Aivazovska, Head of Board at the Civil Network OPORA in Kyiv and Wilfried Jilge, Eastern European historian and Ukraine expert, Associate Fellow for the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Senior Adviser Ukraine and wider Black Sea region at the Integrated Response HUB, Stabilisation Platform, GIZ, Berlin. IEP director Prof Dr Funda Tekin opened the discussion with a welcoming speech. Our colleague Laura Christoph moderated the event.

The Ukraine Breakfast Debates, which were first held in 2017, have become an important exchange format for German and Ukrainian experts in Berlin. In 2020, a counterpart was established in Kyiv with the Germany Breakfast Debates. In the scope of the UA Transformation Lab project, both formats are being merged into the German-Ukrainian Breakfast Debates, which will continue to offer a platform for bilateral dialogue in the future. The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Team & authors

About the UA Transformation Lab: Think tanks for Ukraine’s reconstruction and EU integration project: The UA Transformation Lab combines research on reconstruction and EU integration of Ukraine with a capacity-building programme on policy analysis and advocacy. It strengthens bilateral dialogue and knowledge transfer between Germany and Ukraine.

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