• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Four things Germany must now do for Ukraine

The Local · 25 Feb 2014, 12:08

Published: 25 Feb 2014 12:08 GMT+01:00

1. Compare apples to apples

A lot of observers in Germany have commented on Ukraine being on the verge of economic collapse.

Turning the economy around is the key to sustaining the political freedom won in the bloody fights in Kiev over the last months.

German economists, businessmen and policy advisers have a lot to offer the new Ukrainian government to help it get on the path to economic reforms.

But one thing they should remember is that adopting Germany’s current policies will not boost Ukraine’s economy.

To become like Germany today, Ukraine will need to adopt policies closer to those Germany did in the 1950s.

Ukraine cannot afford to have the state spending at the current German level of about 45 percent of GDP. A state share of about 30 percent - as in 1950s Germany at the time of the Wirtschaftswunder (Economic Miracle) - could work much better.

The EU policy package which allowed the Baltic countries to become the richest among the former Soviet states should also be applied to Ukraine.

German politicians may not want to promote limited government intervention in the economy given their stance at home, but they really have to if they want to see Ukraine developing rapidly.

2. Don’t stick to familiar faces

Slavic names are tricky. It might very well take a German speaker a week to remember and learn to pronounce a new Ukrainian politician’s name, but German politicians should resist the temptation to stick to the ones they’ve already learned, like Tymoshenko or Klitschko.

The uprising showed that Ukrainians are distrustful of their old political leaders - even those who opposed the regime of President Yanukovych.

They have their reasons to be and the democratic cause in our country will only succeed if foreign countries - be it the West or Russia - restrain from picking a favourite before Ukrainians have actually gone to the polls.

3. Get rid of the visa wall

According to research from 2012, only 17 percent of Ukrainians have ever been abroad beyond Russia, Egypt and Turkey - the latter two are popular budget vacation destinations.

One of the key reasons for that is the strict visa regime western states adopt against Ukrainians.

It is hard to build a democratic country when you have never been to one. It is also hard not to consider sympathizing with some sort of nationalistic ideas if you are treated as a second-class citizen by a German border-guard just because it says “Ukraine” in your passport.

It is also difficult to believe western officials are sincere about their support for democracy in your country when journalists at Ukrainian news outlets cannot get a multi-entry Schengen visa, and applying for a single-entry one takes months.

4. A bailout is not the only solution

Ukraine’s finances are in such a troubled state that an IMF loan might be the only realistic short-term solution, but this won’t save Ukraine’s economy in the medium-run.

Story continues below…

This, however, doesn’t mean there is nothing Germany can do to help Ukrainians in their economic hardship.

For one, Germany could lobby the EU to cancel tariffs EU businesses have to pay for trading with their Ukrainian counterparts.

If the EU and Germany are serious about helping economic development in Ukraine, they have to step beyond the current “deep and comprehensive free trade areas agreements” offered to the non-EU eastern European states.

Import quotas that “protect” EU consumers from buying too many Ukrainian goods do more harm than good.

Maria Semykoz is originally from Ukraine but now works as a management consultant in Berlin. She has written for Forbes, National Review and Daily Caller and has an M.A. in Political Economy from Miami University, Ohio.

SEE ALSO: The German pastor in Kiev who helped the injured

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany says 'won't let anyone take Europe from us'
Steinmeier called the European Union “a successful project of peace and stability”. Photo: DPA

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday that the EU would weather the shock of the British vote to leave the union as he convened crisis talks.

Brexit vote
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
A sign in Berlin's tech giant and startup-building company Rocket Internet. Photo: DPA.

London is currently thought of as the main hub for startups in Europe, but that will all turn around when the UK leaves the EU, tech industry experts say.

Brexit vote - Analysis
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
British Leave campaigners celebrate Brexit result. Photo: DPA

Britain leaving the EU means trouble ahead for Germany - and its hardest task will be convincing the Brits to drop a self-defeating ideology, a leading foreign policy expert told The Local.

How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Photo: DPA.

Considering a change of passport after the UK's vote to ditch the EU? Here’s how to do it.

Germany makes fracking verboten
A sign in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA.

German lawmakers approved a law that essentially bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

Brexit vote
German far right 'cries for joy' after UK votes to leave EU
Left to right: AfD's Beatrix von Storch and Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

The far-right AfD party called for a "new Europe" and the resignation of the EU's top two politicians in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Brexit has cut into European unity
Angela Merkel at a press conference after the Brexit vote on Friday. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created a "cut in Europe" and the project of European unity.

Couple copulating on bridge shut down Autobahn
Kaiserlei Bridge in Frankfurt. Photo: Dontworry / Wikimedia Commons.

It was a highly unusual choice of location for a romantic rendezvous, police in Frankfurt point out.

Brexit vote
Germany: Brexit vote is a 'sad day for Europe'
A British flag along with other flags of European Union member countries flies in front of the European Council building in Strasbourg, France. Photo: EPA.

Top German leaders declared that it was a "sad day for Europe" after British voters opted to leave the European Union.

Viernheim hostage-taker wasn't carrying lethal weapon
A police officer stands guard in front of the cinema in Viernheim. Photo: DPA

The 19-year-old German man who took over a dozen people hostage in a cinema in western Germany on Thursday was carrying replica weapons, prosecutors have confirmed.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Gallery
7 photos which show the aftermath of Bavaria's Autobahn bridge collapse
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Bayer's Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
7,910
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd