Guest settles accounts with Olaf Scholz – “unworthy spectacle”

Claudia Kade is the head of the political department at the newspaper "The world".

Claudia Kade is head of the politics department at the newspaper “Die Welt”.Image: ZDF screenshot

Alexandra Karg

Ukraine’s invitation was extended many weeks ago, and now Olaf Scholz has finally accepted it: the chancellor is traveling to Kyiv. On the eve of his trip, the guests at “Markus Lanz” discussed the visit to Ukraine.

The former mayor of Berlin and party colleague Michael Müller was convinced that Chancellor Scholz’s trip was a “strong signal”. Political scientist Gwendolyn Sasse had great expectations of the visit – also with regard to Ukraine’s possible accession to the EU.

These were the guests at “Markus Lanz” on June 15:

  • Michael Müller (SPD), politician
  • Claudia Kade, journalist
  • Gwendolyn Sasse, political scientist
  • Prof. Stefan Kooths, economist

Scholz in Kyiv: “Strong signal” vs. “Unworthy spectacle”

Michael Müller (SPD) was Governing Mayor of Berlin from 2014 to 2021.

Michael Müller (SPD) was Governing Mayor of Berlin from 2014 to 2021. Image: ZDF screenshot

For weeks Chancellor Olaf Scholz was criticized for refusing to travel to Ukraine, but now he is going. How is this trip to be evaluated and what message does the SPD chancellor have in his luggage?

Michael Müller (SPD) spoke of a “strong signal”. In particular, the fact that Scholz is traveling with the heads of state of France and Italy is a sign “that the EU answer to what Putin is doing there”.

Journalist Claudia Kade was less enthusiastic about the Chancellor’s belated decision to pay a visit to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “It was actually an unworthy spectacle how long it was fought over,” said Kade.

According to the head of the political department of the newspaper “Die Welt”, the visit was long overdue. In her opinion, it is also related to the forthcoming G7 meeting in Bavaria. Kade: “You want to demonstrate beforehand that you weren’t totally inactive.”

EU accession: political scientist expects a clear position

Political scientist Gwendolyn Sasse considers the signal effect of Olaf Scholz' visit to Kyiv to be politically significant.

Political scientist Gwendolyn Sasse considers the signal effect of Olaf Scholz’ visit to Kyiv to be politically significant. Image: screenshot zdf

After much hesitation, Gwendolyn Sasse, director of the Center for East European and International Studies, sees the expectations of the chancellor as particularly high. Unlike Michael Müller, she criticized the trip in the EU trio, which by no means represented the entire EU. In this context, Sasse spoke of the “old EU”. The political scientist recommended:

“It would be better if someone from Poland would come with us tomorrow.”

Sasse also expected a clear position from Olaf Scholz on the question of Ukraine’s EU accession, especially because the Chancellor announced in advance that he would only go to Ukraine as soon as there was something to discuss.

Personally, she considered the commitment to EU candidate status to be an important political signal. “Tomorrow there should be a clear position on this issue as well,” said Sasse.

“Markus Lanz”: A new EU with Ukraine?

Prof. Stefan Kooths is Vice President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

Prof. Stefan Kooths is Vice President of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.Image: screenshot zdf

Economist Prof. Stefan Kooths also supported the prospect of Ukraine joining the EU. Kooths was confident: “The EU cannot remain as it is.” EU accession by Ukraine, and thus a very poor country, could offer the opportunity to reflect once again on the orientation and goals of the European Union.

The fact that the EU at the same time claims to want to be the “most advanced knowledge-based economic area in the world” and at the same time makes the largest expenditures on agriculture does not go together.

According to the economist, Ukraine’s accession to the EU could give the impetus to reconsider the basic structures of the EU. “We should contribute our common interests and there are many,” said Kooths.

While the guests and moderator Markus Lanz are discussing Olaf Scholz’s upcoming visit, he is already on his way to Kyiv. It will become clear whether the assumptions, hopes and prophecies from the studio will come true when the Federal Chancellor appears in front of the cameras in Kyiv for the first time.