Germany warns Ukraine over treatment of democracy official
Jun 28, 2010, 14:44 GMT
Berlin - Berlin was annoyed by Ukraine's treatment of a pro- democracy campaigner who works in Kiev for a German organization, deputy government spokesman Christoph Steegmans said Monday.
Nico Lange heads the Kiev office of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a government-funded think-tank which is closely associated with Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
On Saturday when he was arriving back in Kiev by air, Ukrainian officials told him he was not allowed in. He waited eight hours on the brink of deportation as top German officials argued with Ukraine counterparts. In the end, he was let in.
Steegmans told reporters Berlin felt 'ruffled' by Ukraine's treatment of Lange. He appealed to Ukraine 'not to hinder' the work of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in future, and said Berlin would pay close attention to what happened next.
Lange had criticized a lack of democracy in Ukraine several days earlier, telling German-government-funded broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the government of President Viktor Yanukovich seemed to be 'slipping back into the old authoritarian pattern.'
Ukraine later said the Saturday incident arose from a 'misunderstanding.'
Steegmans said Berlin aimed to continue a harmonious relationship with Ukraine.
A political scientist by training, Lange has run the Kiev office since 2006. Abroad, the CDU often promotes German ideas about combining democracy, a market economy and extensive social welfare.
All the German political parties have foundations, usually staffed by advanced academics, to promote good governance at home and abroad.
The foundations are funded and audited by government, but their boards are appointed by the parties. Legally they are neither part of the government nor part of the parties. They operate abroad as aid organizations.