BRUSSELS—German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said at a Carnegie Europe event Monday that “today’s international crises—from Ukraine to ISIS—are not a coincidence. They are symptomatic of a world where the structures of international order are eroding.”
Speaking on Germany’s recent and unprecedented foreign policy review, Review 2014, Steinmeier explained that “as a globally connected society and an export-based economy, Germany, more than others, depends on a functioning rules-based order.”
For Steinmeier—in his second stint as foreign minister under Chancellor Angela Merkel—“the European Union is the world’s most sophisticated example of a regional order. As such, we need to defend it.”
Steinmeier emphasized that “Europe can only be strong on the outside if the inside architecture is solid.” He noted that he “could not imagine what the values, the reputation, and the strength of European foreign policy would come to if Great Britain weren’t a part of it, [or] what would happen to [Europe’s] outside credibility and effectiveness if Greece left the euro.”
On the Ukraine conflict, Steinmeier said: “We have to be sure that violence doesn’t escalate again. We need to make sure that the military situation is calmed down in order to set the preconditions necessary to bring about a political process stipulated in the Minsk agreements.”
However, he warned that “we shouldn’t fool ourselves . . . The process will be very long. I don’t exaggerate when I say that it could take years, or decades, or even longer, for a political solution [to the Ukraine conflict].”
On EU-Russia relations, Steinmeier said much “depends on whether Russia will be steering or disturbing the political process [in Ukraine]. The question will be whether we will be able to restore the trust that has been shattered.”
A transcript, audio, and video produced by Deutsche Welle from the event are available on the Carnegie Europe website.
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Carnegie Europe is the Brussels-based center of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Through publications, articles, seminars, and private consultations, Carnegie Europe aims to foster new thinking on the daunting international challenges shaping Europe’s role in the world.