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Joint German-Danish declaration on the 60th anniversary of the Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations

26.03.2015 - Press release

On Thursday, 26 March 2015, Federal Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier and his Danish opposite number Martin Lidegaard commemorated the signing of the Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations with a ceremony in Berlin. The two Foreign Ministries issued the following joint declaration:

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1. We have gathered today to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the rights of German and Danish minorities and the strengthening of German-Danish bilateral relations by means of the Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations. The two declarations form the basis of peaceful and prosperous co‑existence between minority and majority on both sides of the border. At the centre of the declarations is the freedom to profess loyalty to one of the two minorities, which may neither be contested nor verified by the state. The declarations have been highly instrumental in paving the way for the development of amicable and close ties between Germany and Denmark and giving German-Danish relations a special and unique character.

2. Our great thanks goes to the minorities and their organisations and representatives as well as to the many people in and beyond the border regions who, over the past six decades, have contributed to the process of understanding and the good relations between minority and majority in one way or another. At the same time we express our appreciation for the many initiatives for the two minorities that have successfully been established since 1955 on both sides of the border. Our thanks go to all the people who have driven these initiatives forward – in communities, districts and regions as well as governments and parliaments.

3. Last year we in Denmark and Germany commemorated the 150th anniversary of the war of 1864. We did this in remembrance of the great human suffering and the losses inflicted by the war, but also in the awareness that the enmity of former times has now been replaced by a warm-hearted friendship and close cooperation between our two countries in all areas – both bilaterally and internationally. We can continue to build on this as we shape a peaceful and successful future for our two nations.

4. Germany and Denmark are close trading partners. We welcome the many forms of cooperation between governments and authorities at all levels, between enterprises and our societies, for example in the areas of tourism, culture, training and higher education. We are convinced that there is further potential for strengthening cross-border mobility in the German-Danish border region. The development of the cross-border labour market and the common economic space is a joint priority. We intend to fundamentally intensify and expand our cooperation to achieve these goals.

5. We want to strengthen the transport infrastructure linking our two countries. The establishment of the Fehmarn Belt fixed link will connect eastern Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia even more closely with Germany. We also continue to attach great importance to the Jutland Corridor and underscore our common interest in resolving the traffic problems affecting the crossing of the North Sea-Baltic Sea canal.

6. We are aware that protecting national minorities is crucial to stability, democratic security and peace in Europe, and declare our support for the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. The Danish minority party has no minimum threshold for election to the Schleswig-Holstein Regional Parliament. Both minorities have their own school law which includes the right to hold their own examinations.

7. In the European Union Germany and Denmark will continue to work for peace, stability and prosperity for all citizens – also through joint initiatives. We want to create in all Member States the conditions for sustainable economic growth and full employment in the long term. We are working together in all important international cooperation formats to guarantee peace and security in Europe and throughout the world, guided in this by our common values such as respect for human rights, protection of minorities, the rule of law and democracy.

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