The “German Question” that Baffles EU’s Neighbors: Can Berlin Become a New Center of Gravity for Associated Countries?

Bidzina Lebanidze

Since at least the US ”pivot“ to Asia under the administration of Barack Obama the Associated countries in the Eastern Partnership (EaP)[1] initiative have found themselves stuck in a political and security limbo, defined by a resurgent Russia, the declining role of the US and an EU struggling to cope with its new role as a geopolitical actor.

Neither the turbulent years under Donald Trump nor a return to normalcy under Joe Biden have changed much for Kyiv and Tbilisi. Recent evidence shows that reorientation of US’s foreign policy away from a focus on Europe and towards Asia is a systemic change, not a personal choice, and will not be reversed anytime soon.

When considering these swiftly unfolding geopolitical changes, a question is often asked by foreign policy practitioners and scholars in countries at the EU’s Eastern frontiers: since US interests in European affairs has decreased somewhat, can EU’s eastern neighbours rely on Germany, as Europe’s most powerful state, to provide for their security and back their Euro-Atlantic aspirations? This policy document attempts to answer this question by unpacking Germany’s complex approach towards the EaP countries and underlining its major limitations.


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