Tal med anledning av firandet av den Tyska enhetens dag, 4 oktober 2017

Botschafter Heimsoeth Bild vergrößern Botschafter Dr. Hans-Jürgen Heimsoeth (© Auswärtiges Amt)

Tal med anledning av firandet av den Tyska enhetens dag, 4 oktober 2017

Det talade ordet gäller


Ministrar, Excellencies, kära kollegor, mina damer och herrar!

Varmt välkomna till Villa Ekarne!

Jag är mycket glad över att så många gäster har kommit hit idag för att fira den tyska enhetens dag tillsammans med oss.

Auch meine Landsleuten hier in Schweden heiße ich bei uns herzlich willkommen.

Ladies and gentlemen!

Twenty eight years ago, the Berlin Wall fell – the wall which had separated our country and people for 28 years.  We can say that we now have been reunited as long as the wall separated the two postwar Germanys.

But can we say everything in Germany is back to normal ? No. We still have quite an output and productivity gap between East and West. And also our mindset built on disparate historic experiences, on diverging real life experiences of living in a more complex world and on dissimilar intercultural know-how is still different in East and West.

This also showed in the elections for the new Bundestag which took place 10 days ago. These elections found some attention in Sweden and beyond.  Most of the attention is due to the fact that we now have a right-wing party, AFD, in the Bundestag which gathered 12% of the votes. This party does not have a neo-nazi pedigree but unites xenophobic, partly racist, elements with others who see themselves as losers of globalization, afraid of loosing their identity, and protest-voters, also from the middle classes. 60% of their electorat gave to protocole to vote AFD out of protest. In a certain way, Germany has moved closer to a European normality.

We don’t take this with a shrug but in the same time not exaggerate the results. It will be important to address the fears which this vote expresses. But, this was no “jordbävning”, no earthquake. With 80% of voters still committed to parties in the center, center-right to center-left our people are firmly committed to following the proeuropean, democratic, law-based policy of the last decades. As in the 13 individual Länder where the AfD has now been sitting for the last 3 years they will have no impact on government policies.

We are now expecting negotiations for a new coalition to start soon. Since the social democrats have been ruling out another grand coalition the focus of the talks will be on the – so-called- Jamaika coalition: Christian-democrates with Liberals and the Greens. Marrying competitive economy with environmental and climate friendly policies is the challenge we all are facing and I am confident that this new and younger cabinet will bring new input to our policies.

Looking at our relations with Sweden we can be happy about the development over the last year. The visit of Chancelor Merkel  end of January proved that we have a close view of the common challenges and the policies we need to follow up on.  Our parliaments have close relations as the visit of Bundestagspräsident Lammert showed. Our Ministers of Defense signed a LoI in July which will contribute to the deepening of our defense relations. And we rely on Sweden participating actively  in our common defense endeavours be it with NATO or within the European Union. I am happy Sweden, after France last year, is partner of this years Security Conference in Berlin. Our trade and investment relations are still going strong with Germany being the first partner of Sweden. But happily it is not only a question of quantity:  as two of the most innovative countries world wide we work closely together to cope with the challenges of todays competitive markets.  Angela Merkel herself underlined during her visit of the German-Swedish Tech Forum how important it is that Germany and Sweden bring important topics for competitiveness, like digitalization or environment-friendly mobility, forward

The European Union will remain the cornerstone on which we build our policies at home and in the international arena. It is, for us, a community of – today - 28 nations and we are committed to keeping it on track and moving ahead.  Hence we welcome the new impulses which have come through the Commissions President Jean-Claude Juncker and  the French President Emmanuel Macron. This is the right direction – and we will have to work on translating ideas into reality. The German government will, once the governmental coalition formed, certainly bring its ideas into the discussions. Discussions in which all member-states, and foremost Sweden, should participate actively.

So let me just bring out a toast to the German unity, to the well-being of our host country, Sweden, and to German-Swedish relations, Skål.