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Virtual Speech by Ambassador Jörn Rohde on the occasion of the German Unity Day 2020

Botschafter Jörn Rohde zum TDE 2020

Botschafter Jörn Rohde zum TDE 2020, © Deutsche Botschaft Pristina

01.10.2020 - Artikel

Ladies and gentlemen,

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, Liebe Landsleute,

herzlich willkommen, mirë se keni ardhur, srdačno dobrodošli, welcome,

Together with my wife and the whole family of the German Embassy, I would like to thank you for virtually joining us today to celebrate our Day of German Unity. This has become the new reality during COVID-times.

Dear friends,

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of one of the most joyful and decisive moments in recent German history – our national reunification. No one - including myself along with half of my family from my father’s side living behind the Wall - really saw this coming, yet when on 9 November 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, these events set a process in motion that could not be stopped. Shortly afterwards, this culminated in the official reunification of the two Germanys on 3rd October 1990. Today we are celebrating this peaceful revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall, that led to this unity and democratic freedoms that we almost take for granted today.

This piece of concrete which I broke myself off the fallen Berlin Wall serves for me as a reminder of these joyful days. The people in East Germany and all over Eastern Europe wanted the same as we had enjoyed in West Germany since 1949: a democratically elected government, the rule of law, freedom of speech and the freedom to travel. The driving force which started this peaceful revolution called themselves „Bürgerrechter“, the „Citizen’s Rights’ Activists“. They confronted the dictatorship in the GDR for a better future and by demanding „Wir sind das Volk!“ „We are the people!“. Soon the slogan changed to: ‘Wir sind ein Volk’- we are one people!

Despite the fact that the process of really reunifying the country, of addressing the huge inequalities in terms of living standards, of unequal economic prospects and opportunities for young Germans in the East and the West of the country, that this has taken a long time and is still not fully completed, unification is a success. For me, this anniversary also signifies 30 years of hard work and immense solidarity and investments by the German people in the East and the West to make our reunification a success. Even today, every German taxpayer contributes to this process by a so-called „solidarity tax“ to make the reunification a felt reality in all parts of the country.

Dear friends,

another sign that unification has been successful is our chancellor: Angela Merkel – an East German –leads Germany since more than 15 years. Another East German, Joachim Gauck served as German President from 2012-17. Equally important for me is the fact that our international partners were at our side during these times, and our decision to embrace

being part of the European family helped immensely. So today, Germany is surrounded by neighbors who are our friends and who supported reunification and integration in the EU.

With the end of the Cold War, Europe could grow closer than ever. And this process continues.

Liebe Landsleute,

dieser 30. Jahrestag der Wiedervereinigung ist ein ganz besonderer Tag für uns Deutsche. Wie schade, dass wir diesen Tag nicht gemeinsam feiern können. Doch das holen wir nach, versprochen!

Ich möchte mich bei dieser Gelegenheit auch persönlich bei Ihnen bedanken, dass Sie weiterhin – auch in diesen schwierigen Zeiten – hier vor Ort Ihre wichtige Arbeit machen. Damit tragen Sie dazu bei, dass die Lebensverhältnisse besser werden und mit Ihrem persönlichen Engagement pflegen Sie unsere deutsch-kosovarische Freundschaft. Dafür möchte ich Ihnen danken.

Dear friends,

We are supporting here in Kosovo the efforts to normalize its relations and to – ultimately – work towards European integration of the whole region to unlock the potential for all citizens of the region and beyond.

Germany and the EU are investing in this process here: in 2019 the EU and its Members States as a whole invested more than 194 Million EUR --more than all other donors combined. And this year, faced with the COVID pandemic, we were quick to allocate an additional 171 Million EUR to address the immediate health needs and economic recovery.

With Germany holding the Presidency of the EU Council, we are keeping this region on the agenda. The enlargement of the EU and the process of European unification has to continue. Yet it is clear that a lot of hard work is required to make this dream a reality.

Steps on this path to integration need commitment every day: implementing the rule of law, fighting impunity and corruption, improving governance to enable economic development, better living standards and following a clear vision for where the European perspective will take Kosovo and the wider region. Let’s focus all of our efforts towards a collective vision for this region.

After three decades of living in a united Germany, a whole generation has grown up without any memories of the Berlin Wall or the inner German border.

Let’s celebrate this Day of German Unity as a day that symbolizes all this: that the collective commitment to a joint vision of democracy, solidarity, togetherness, diversity and freedom will lead to a better future for all.

Herzlichen Dank! Faleminderit! Hvala! Thank you!

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