• Ben Noble

Old or New? German Influence in Eastern Europe


Chancellor Merkel with Poroshenko and Putin. Source: The Presidential Press and Information Office (CC) commons.wikimedia.org

Many of those who examine the conflict between Russia and Ukraine do so, not unreasonably, by focusing almost exclusively on the two protagonists involved. But it is easy to forget that the crisis was precipitated in the first place by Ukraine’s relationship with the European Union, with Viktor Yanukovych’s government falling after pro-EU protesters demanded that he draw closer to the EU instead of Russia. The new government under Petro Poroshenko has since been supported by the EU [112.international, 2019]. But why has the EU sought to move its frontiers and influence ever eastward, even at the risk of

Russia? The answer lies with Germany, arguably the most powerful of the EU member states and widely regarded as the main driving force behind the Union, alongside France. Germany has a long history in Eastern Europe, and seeks to influence the region today as much as it always has - modern day German foreign policy bears more resemblance to the past than one might expect. Today, the EU is in many ways a vehicle for Germany to implement the same broad goals in Eastern Europe as it has had since