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War in Ukraine – Different Perspectives from Germany and the EU?

IEP / Sophie Morar
IEP / Sophie Morar

The war against Ukraine demands the solidarity of European states. However, different perspectives on the war are emerging in Germany and its neighbouring countries. Those were the topic of the discussion concluding the rEUnify project in Dresden.

Six months after the Russian war against Ukraine began, many countries in Europe pledged rapid support. Civil society was instrumental in supporting government efforts to take in people who had fled Ukraine. At the European level, several sanctions packages against Russia were adopted.

However, debates on the form of support for Ukraine are conducted with different focus in the countries of the EU.

Ljudmyla Melnyk, for example, points out that the German debate is still very much guided by the images and narratives of Ostpolitik and revolves too much around arms deliveries. She misses a perspective that includes Ukraine as an independent actor in the conflict. In her view, the resilience of Ukraine, Ukrainians and the Ukrainian army in the face of the war plays too small a role in public perception. Politics, the media and society should support the development of regional perspectives more strongly.

The discussion guests from Poland, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and France reported that their societies are still largely in favour of supporting Ukraine. However, there was a danger that the political and social attention for the war would decrease - also in view of the expected restrictions for the population.

Likewise, people in Poland in particular look with disappointment at Germany. They would like to see Germany take on a leading role in supporting Ukraine and faster action. As a result, German-Polish relations have noticeably deteriorated since the outbreak of the war. The German government must succeed in credibly implementing the policy of "Zeitenwende" and further expand the support already provided to Ukraine.

The event concludes the rEUnify project and took place with the kind support of the city of Dresden.

Team & authors

About the rEUnify: A comparative study of national perceptions regarding German reunification project: What is the significance of German reunification for Europe today? The project rEUnify compares and discusses historical memories and national perceptions of German reunification in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, France and the Czech Republic.

Image copyright: IEP / Sophie Morar