On April 12, 9 days before the final bout on April 21, both presidential candidates will go to Europe to the bridegroom.
On this day, a meeting of Petro Poroshenko with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron is to take place. On the same day, the French leader invited Vladimir Zelensky, the winner of the first round, to the audience. And Macron will meet with him first, the rendezvous is scheduled for 3:00 pm in the Elysee Palace, and Poroshenko – at 6:00 pm.
Many people saw in this sequence a sign that France has already made its choice – and it is not in favor of the current president. Although Poroshenko himself assures that a meeting with Macron and Merkel is a signal from Europe about his support. And it is clear that the guarantor will do everything to maximize the promotion at the reception at the European leaders. However, the fact that Zelensky is called to Europe can only prevent Poroshenko’s public relations.
The Ukrainian edition of Strana figured out what to expect from the European Smotrina finalists of the presidential race, who are jokingly called “the first round of the debate between Poroshenko and Zelensky in Paris.”
The West, which has so far been watching the Ukrainian election campaign neutrally, has now cast its vote. True, it sounds confused. European diplomats and the media have repeatedly said that Poroshenko for Europe is more predictable, and Zelensky is a dark horse, but they are ready to work, they say, with any winner.
The dual position manifested itself first in the position of the Special Representative of the State Department for Ukraine Kurt Walker, who alone said that Washington would work with any president of Ukraine, and another that Poroshenko was better.
Merkel, who, after the conflict with Russia in the Kerch Strait, refused to send ships to help Poroshenko, a few days before the second round, she still meets with the incumbent president, which some regarded as a sign of support from her (however, the meeting, according to Bild, under question, since the 90-year-old mother died on the eve of the chancellor, she may have to leave for the funeral that day.
But more important, according to experts, will be the meeting of candidates with Macron, who, after Merkel’s statement about leaving politics, in fact remained the “senior in the EU” determining his foreign policy.
“With meetings with Poroshenko and Zelensky in the European Union, they want to understand what will happen next in Ukraine and how to build relations with it. The field of conversation with Macron European position will be clarified. In France, some experts are skeptical about meetings with presidential candidates in another country, believing, firstly, that Paris needs to be neutral to foreign elections, and secondly, that Macron should first establish order in his own country, with “yellow” waistcoats “, and then try on the role of” the ruler of Europe. “ According to data from the Elysée Palace, Macron is dissatisfied with the corruption that Poroshenko threw up, but Ukraine remains an ally in confrontation with Russia. But how will Zelensky – is unclear. This is exactly what Macron wants to understand, ”said French political analyst Dominique Reini.
On the eve of the meetings with the Ukrainian candidates, the Elysee Palace issued a statement that the meeting with the President of Ukraine “will allow to sum up the relevant projects of our two countries on the development of bilateral relations and prospects for resolving the conflict in the Donbas.”
Zelensky, noted in Elisey, will be accepted as “another qualified candidate for the second round of presidential elections in Ukraine.”
“It is interesting for Europe to hear first-hand from the highest-rated candidate his opinion on a number of issues – including the work of the Normandy format and relations with Russia, the USA, the EU. Also interested in ensuring the normal, without excesses of transit of power. It is these questions that worry Macron and Merkel, ”says political analyst Konstantin Bondarenko.
The fact that Zelensky will be accepted first in Paris is determined, according to him, by the ratings and by the fact that Poroshenko is understandable to the West, and the first acquaintance is to be with Zelensky.
By the way, EU leaders usually do not meet with candidates from other countries, there have been cases in history only with less developed countries. And it seems that Ukraine is placed in the row of “third countries”.
“Earlier, at such events (meetings of Western leaders with the current president and possible successor) were held only with representatives of some African and Asian countries. For example, Charles de Gaulle and Khrushchev invited Prince Souphanouwong and his opponent Souvanna Foumou from Laos in 1961 to come to her to understand which way the country would develop if one or the other came to power, ”says Bondarenko.
In the expert community, some regard the meetings of candidates with Merkel and Macron as an attempt by Europe to intervene in the Ukrainian elections.
“The West claims that it does not interfere in the elections, but on the eve of the second round, Macron calls Poroshenko and WE on the carpet, Merkel has already met Pe, and Trump leads everyone. I do not believe that he invited them to taste French wine with frog’s legs, ”political scientist Nikolai Loginov writes on Facebook.
By the way, on the French forums about this ironic.
“Poor Ukraine! Where is her sovereignty? If candidates are knighted by the future president of Europe, who promises the winner his entry into the European Union, if he follows his recommendations, ”writes forum user Eugène Echwerri on Le Figaro’s website.
“There is no way to solve problems in France, because Macron wants to take care of Ukraine,” the commentator under the nickname Poussezpas is outraged.
According to the British political scientist Gregory Schwartz, Merkel will support Poroshenko in the elections, since it is easier for Germany to deal with a person whom they know than with Zelensky, from whom it is not clear what to expect.
“Therefore, Poroshenko may use this trip to his advantage,” predicts Schwartz.
Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky, however, considers “Poroshenko’s support for Chancellor Merkel” as a political technology fake
“Mrs. Chancellor, to put it mildly, does not like the history of the President of Ukraine going into the mist. The main reason: in 2015–16 he really thought of himself as great and considered that “Merkel is a petty political figure of the Poroshenko era”. Other reasons: the Chancellor, like a typical German and the daughter of a priest, does not like unbridled corruption with all kinds of Maldives there. She herself lives in a simple apartment on Marienstrasse, next to the Brecht Theater. Poroshenko’s team does not understand that dimensionless and immense fakes ultimately drive themselves to the bottom, ”says Belkovsky.
The meeting of Zelensky and Poroshenko with Macron, in the opinion of political analyst Ruslan Bortnik, will be the final stage of the battle for political support of the country of the European Union – in the form of political recognition, joint photos, and the dialogue that has begun. And in the form of a future proposal of financial support.
“The EU, in fact, did not give 500 million euros of loans, which it was going to allocate a month ago. Ukrainian-European relations are not experiencing the best period associated with the decision of the Constitutional Court on the abolition of the article on illegal enrichment, ”the country expert said.
So far, the EU, according to him, does not have a single, monolithic position on Ukraine, and the West is ready to engage in dialogue with any of the winners of the Ukrainian election campaign.
“And if they are going to talk with Zelensky about whether he will continue the course towards European integration and whether he will carry out European reforms, the range of questions for the current president can be much broader.
Poroshenko will be asked where the money allocated by the EU is spent, why not all reforms gave an effective result, why the anticorruption reform is stalling, why the Constitutional Court decided to cancel the article on illegal enrichment and has not yet adopted a new law. Poroshenko will not only have questions, but also, of course, complaints, ”Bortnik believes.
From both Europe wants to get guarantees of stability.
“From Zelensky – that he will not raise the Maidan in the event of his defeat in the second round, from Poroshenko – that he will not cling to the chair by illegal methods in the event of his defeat. Any destabilization in Ukraine threatens to change the foreign policy vector, a huge geopolitical defeat for the EU and the US in Ukraine. Therefore, one of the key issues at the meeting will be issues of stability – military and political, ”the expert predicts.
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