In my conversations with people in the country very similar questions keep cropping up. How can we protect our way of life when less than 2 1/2 hours’ flight away Ukrainian soldiers in trenches are warding off Russia’s attack on their freedom and ours? How can we perform the herculean task of finally gaining our independence from fossil fuels in Europe while at the same time making our economy sustainable in the fight against the climate crisis? And in such a way that our engine for prosperity does not stall? How can we maintain both mutual respect and our vibrant democracy in the face of fake news, hate and agitation? In principle, we all share the same goal: we want to ensure that Germany remains a resilient and agile country which is able to master the challenges of the future with confidence. We want to ensure that our Europe remains a place where people can live in freedom and security.
Our future is something we will all build together – politicians along with innovative entrepreneurs and scientists, and the countless people who serve our country in a voluntary capacity, be it in sports clubs, in volunteer fire brigades, or in integration or anti-racism projects in their own neighbourhoods. I look forward to discussing the issues openly and honestly with them in the coming days. And as the most urgent challenges of our time do not stop at our borders, it is particularly important to me to join forces with our neighbours in the EU. The last year and a half has shown that together we are strong if we act together – as a society, in the European Union and as the international community.