Des. ambassadør Andreas Meitzner til den Tyske Genforeningsdag

Des. ambassadør Andreas Meitzner til den Tyske Genforeningsdag forstør billede Andreas og Agnes Meitzner (© Den Tyske Ambassade)

- Det talte ord gælder -

Ein Grußwort vom designierten Botschafter Andreas Meitzner anlässlich der Feierlichkeiten zum Tag der Deutschen Einheit am 5. Oktober 2017 in Kopenhagen

Jeg vil gerne, sammen med min kone Agnes, byde jer hjerteligt velkommen. Tak fordi I er kommet for at fejre den tyske nationaldag og markering af vores genforening, som skete for 27 år siden. Denne dag giver også mulighed for at fejre det gode forhold og de tætte bånd, der eksisterer mellem Tyskland og Danmark.

It is a particular pleasure for me to welcome you today in my function as the new German Ambassador to Denmark. As you may have noticed, I am still practicing my Danish. Therefore, I hope that you will excuse if I proceed in English.

In Germany, the 3rd of October is a historic day, when we usually reflect upon some of the most important events in our recent history: the peaceful revolution of 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification in 1990. On this day we celebrate the overcoming of a deep divide that not only split up Germany, but the whole of Europe by the so called Iron Curtain. We are proud to celebrate 27 years of a peaceful German unity which has also helped pave the way for greater European cooperation and integration.

27 years have passed since that day, during which the ties of friendship between Denmark and Germany have also constantly become closer and closer. I am delighted to see that so many Danes take an active interest in what is happening in Germany – be it relating to cultural, economic or political developments. According to a recent opinion poll published by Jyllands Posten only ten days ago, 80 percent of all Danes state today that they have a positive or very positive image of Germany – what a tremendous success when you realize what Nazi Germany did to the Danish people during the five years’ occupation from 1940 to 1945.

In fact, over centuries both our countries have built strong geographic, historical and cultural ties. Take for example our two languages, that share the same roots and are “like sisters who give presents to each other”, as the great Danish poet Adam Oehlenschläger stated in a conversation with Goethe when they exchanged ideas and thoughts in Weimar over 200 years ago.

This year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation -  which started in Germany, but it was the Danish king Christian III. who was one of the first European monarchs to establish the Lutheran Church as the State Church throughout Denmark. Less than one year ago Queen Margrethe reminded us of this special bond between Luther and Christian III. when she travelled to Germany for the opening of the newly renovated castle church in Wittenberg.

In the past year, Denmark has also been the host to a series of major exhibitions of contemporary German artists such as Daniel Richter in Louisiana and Anselm Kiefer at Copenhagen Contemporary, which were received with great enthusiasm by the Danish public and press.

And I have been pleasantly surprised to see how many German artists and ensembles are participating in the European Capital of Culture Aarhus this year.

And not to forget this year`s soccer match between the German and Danish national football teams at Brøndby Stadium in June celebrating of the 25th anniversary of the Danish victory at the European Championships in 1992.

And as united as we are by virtue of our shared experiences, we are also connected in the common challenges that we face. These include managing the growing influx of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, addressing the threat of islamist terrorism, helping stabilize numerous crises and conflicts around the world and making the European Union stronger for the coming generations.

As the world becomes more and more globalized with increasing levels of cooperation, it also seems that the problems we face today have become more complex than they were 27 years ago. And many of them are trans-national and do not recognize borders.

It is clear to me that this complexity will require a continued willingness to cooperate, and to strengthen both the capabilities of our individual countries and our collective action – especially through the European Union. We should never lose sight of the important achievements that the EU has brought about and the immense benefits it continues to provide. An ever closer European Union, this is my firm belief, is the only way the cope with the problems that lie ahead of all of us. That’s why we welcome the new dynamic that the discussion of President Macron’s visionary picture of a future Europe will definitively bring about – to the benefit of all European citizens and societies.  

In his speech on Tuesday on the occasion of the Day of German Unity, Federal President Frank Walter Steinmeier reminded us Germans that “our path must always be a path of peace and friendship with our European neighbors, and never a return to nationalism”. A path which should acknowledge our differences and appreciate the values we have in common.

Today as we celebrate our day of unity, I would therefore like to invite you all to reflect on the many shared interests and values that unite not just Germany and Denmark, but all countries within the EU, and beyond.

And I would personally like to express my great appreciation of the warmth and friendship that have been extended to me and my wife since we arrived. It is my hope and ambition that the coming year will offer us many opportunities to further enrich our relations and strengthen the ties between Germany and Denmark.

Thank you.