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Grußwort von Europa-Staatsminister Michael Roth anlässlich der Einweihung der neuen deutschen Botschaftskanzlei in Kopenhagen

17.05.2018 - Rede

-- es gilt das gesprochene Wort --

State Secretary Vestergaard Knudsen,


Ladies and gentlemen,

What a view! I have always found Copenhagen fascinating but the “Nordhavn” district and this building combine everything that makes this city so special: it is environmentally friendly, vibrant, dynamic and extremely modern, almost futuristic.

So maybe the relocation of the German embassy to one of the landmark buildings of Nordhavn is a symbol of the development of our bilateral relations – which are today more than lively and progressive. Denmark and Germany are not just neighbors. We have become very close friends and reliable partners – we trust each other.

In 2020 the current Danish-German border will have existed for one hundred years. The two minorities that have existed on both sides of the border have played an important role in bringing our countries closer and closer together. The German-Danish border region is often regarded as a role model and a laboratory for cross-border cooperation in Europe and beyond!

Ladies and gentlemen,

Denmark and Germany share many common interests, especially in foreign and European policy: Both our countries pursue ambitious climate goals. We are strong promoters of an fair and free trading system. And most importantly: We share fundamental values and interests. We agree on the vital importance of European values including the rule of law and we both want to defend and also strengthen Europe as a Union of values.

These values bind everybody but we are open to different ethnicities, cultures and religions.

Especially now when we are discussing how to bring Europe forward, how to achieve reforms and how to invest in our common European future.

Speaking of reforms and of the future of Europe, I believe that we first of all have to face the fact that we Europeans find ourselves in a pretty uncomfortable world today. We witness fragility and armed conflicts in our immediate neighbourhood. We see fundamental changes in the international multilateral order. We see the rise of new actors on the international stage that do no longer share our values and our interests.

At the same time, the relative weight of European countries is shrinking in the global context, in terms of population and in economic terms. In today’s world, every EU Member State, whether it has 6 million or even 80 million inhabitants, is a medium-sized country at best.

What we witness is only the beginning of this international trend. This makes one thing very clear for me: Our only choice is between having a joint voice in the world or no voice at all. We Europeans need to unite to shape our future – or our future will be shaped by others.

What we therefore need is, I believe, more cooperation and more cohesion. Put simply: If we want to shape our future in the EU and bring Europe forward, we need all Member States to engage in the debate, big or small, representing the whole range of views and interests.

It is not the size of a country that matters in the EU. What really matters are ideas, creativity and a pro-European commitment. In this respect the smaller countries – like Denmark – have a lot to offer! And they are valuable players in our European team.

By standing together in meeting the internal and external challenges ahead, we can demonstrate that Europe can be so much more than just the sum of its parts. A divided, fragmented Europe, however, will be paralysed and unable to create the added value expected by our citizens. I am convinced that the citizens’ dialogues both our countries are organizing over the coming months will provide important input to the debate on the future of Europe.

Germany, in the years to come, will continue to work towards strengthening European cohesion – together with Denmark and other like-minded partners. Just as daring architects did with this building, we want to preserve the strong existing foundations we have and develop something new on top of it!

“I wish my colleagues at the Embassy all the very best and every success in their new building.”


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