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Rede des Botschafters Christian Heldt beim Empfang anlässlich des Tages der deutschen Einheit am 4.10.2018  in Pristina

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„Herzlich willkommen, mirë se keni ardhur, srdačno dobrodošli,

My wife and I, together with my wonderful team of the German Embassy in Pristina I am so proud of, we very warmly welcome you to our National Day reception, marking the anniversary of German reunification 28 years ago.

As you can see, we are also celebrating our ten years of formal diplomatic relations in the tenth year of independence of the Republic of Kosovo. Urime! Čestitamo!

And we are on this very day marking our particular appreciation of almost 20 years of service of some 50.000 German soldiers in Prizren, where the Bundeswehr field camp will turn into a new venture between our two countries next year, the Innovation and Training Park ITP. I am particularly honored that this special moment of our bilateral relations in Prizren later today will be led by very distinguished guests from Berlin, our vice-ministers for defense and development cooperation, State Secretary Silberhorn and State Secretary Flachsbarth, together with a member of the German Bundestag and other special guests from the German Army. Their participation today personalizes the motive under which change and continuity of our German engagement in Prizren stands: The Bundeswehr moves, Germany stays. And for Kosovo: The Bundeswehr now focusses in Pristina with KSF and remains dedicated with our NATO partners.

Verehrte Frau Staatssekretärin, sehr geehrter Herr Staatssekretär, Frau Abgeordnete, verehrte Gäste aus Deutschland, herzlichen Dank für Ihr Kommen, herzlichen Dank dafür, daß Sie heute Nachmittag beim Appell auf dem Schadervan die Bundeswehr im würdigen Rahmen offiziell aus Prizren verabschieden und die zivile Nachnutzung mit dem Innovations- und Trainingspark einläuten.

Herr Staatssekretär, insgesamt über 50.000 deutsche Soldatinnen und Soldaten haben sich  für unser Land im Süden von Kosovo fast 20 Jahre lang gemeinsam mit unseren NATO-Partnern für Frieden und Freiheit eingesetzt. Wir alle vor Ort sind Ihnen dankbar dafür, heute Nachmittag für die Bundesregierung diesen Beitrag für Sicherheit und Frieden zu würdigen. Damit hat die Bundeswehr die Grundlage geschaffen, auf der nun die zivile Nachnutzung in Prizren beginnen kann.

Frau Staatssekretärin, auch dafür sind wir alle von Herzen dankbar, was Sie und das Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit hier möglich machen. Das Signal, auf der Basis von Sicherheit und Stabilität verstärkt Zukunftsperspektiven für die bilaterale Zusammenarbeit und für die junge Generation von Kosovaren zu entwickeln, ist ein nicht zu überschätzender Beitrag, den unser Land hier leistet. An Sie und alle Beteiligten beim Aufbau dieses großartigen Projekts: Danke.

Liebe Landsleute,

Ihnen allen, die Sie in den unterschiedlichsten Aufgaben und Engagements hier in Kosovo an einer besseren Zukunft für dieses Land arbeiten, ein besonders herzliches Willkommen zum Tag der Deutschen Einheit, der uns alle heute zusammenführt. Nicht steht immer alles im Rampenlicht, umso mehr möchte ich Ihnen danken für Ihre Beiträge zu dem, wofür Deutschland hier steht: Ein aufmerksamer und verläßlicher Partner, der ohne allzuviele Worte dort anpackt, wo er gebraucht wird.

Ladies and gentlemen,

the ITP is just one facet of the cooperation through which Germany stands by your side on the path to European and transatlantic integration. I am grateful that President Thaçi and Prime Minister Haradinaj will also be speaking to us in a few minutes on this long-standing relationship between our countries, going way beyond the formal frame of the past ten years.

We have come a long way, but there still is a lot of work to do. Allow me to dwell upon the key words of our national anthem “Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit”. You could translate the verse with  unity and justice and freedom. So join me on a little trip to Kosovar future in 10 years from now seen through those keywords of Germany’s anthem:

Unity: Kosovo will be a consolidated state within it’s established borders. A joint national narrative of all political forces formed in 2019 will have put the country on the path of EU accession and NATO membership. Kosovo for the first time in history will have been elected as non-permanent member of the United Nation’s Security council in 2027. People will be proud to wave the Kosovar flag –needing no other to identify- when the national soccer team will carry home the European championship title in 2028, with the team’s captain who holds the cup entering Pristina coming from Gracanica.

Justice: Thorough reforms will have made public administration to motors of change at the service of all Kosovar citizens. The mountain of old unfinished court cases will have been worked through. Kosovar parliament will just have adopted legislation following Scandinavian role models making public expenditure and decision-making the most transparent and efficient in Europe. The young and internationally qualified generation will be in the decision-making positions to implement what is best for the public good. Kosovo will have skyrocketed in the international rankings of transparency and good governance. Court proceedings will beat European records in efficiency and investors will have started flocking in, finding that Kosovo offers the best legal framework and the best rule of law in the region.

Freedom: Starting with visa liberalization, young Kosovars will have travelled the then European Union, where they will have studied, networked and experienced standards they brought home. Women will have established themselves all over in key responsibilities in both the public and the private sector. A famous Kosovar media partner will just have won a key European award for independent journalism. A former rector of the University of Pristina will have been elected President of the board of the European Agency for Quality assurance in higher education after outstanding achievements of the academic sector in Kosovo. And the best is still to come: More and more German citizens will be migrating to live and work in this new member state of the European Union, Kosovo, in the meantime turned into the Western Balkans powerhouse of economic and social development, my compatriots looking for a sunnier perspective in life...and better coffee.

To make it short: Kosovo will have become a boring country in the eyes of crisis diplomacy.

I see amusement, but nothing is impossible if the people of Kosovo wants to make this happen. Germany is there to accompany you on this path together with all our friends and partners. That is what Europe is about: to share dreams and visions, then work jointly to make them happen.

Danke, faleminderit, hvala, thank you, I now pass the floor to the President of the Republic of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj.”

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