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Speech by Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the Opening of the CeBIT Australia in Sydney

31.05.2011 - Speech

Together with his Austalian counterpart Kevin Rudd Foreign Minister Westerwelle opened the CeBIT Australia in Sydney on 31 May 2011 and held the following speech.

-- Translation of advanced text --

Dear Kevin, Premier of the State of New South Wales, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Morning Australia,

It is an honour for me to participate in today’s opening of CeBIT Australia here in Sydney. Sydney is a popular destination among German students and tourists. The magnificent opera house and the spectacular harbour are only the starting points of all there is to see. Sydney is a harbour for business, too. No wonder CeBIT Australia has found its roots here.

CeBIT Australia is a remarkable success story, and it shows. 600 exhibitors and more than 30.000 visitors are expected this year. This is an excellent track record. I am glad to congratulate CeBIT to its tenth anniversary. And we are grateful and delighted that Germany is the first partner country of CeBIT Australia.

There is a growing number of German companies here at CeBIT. Many of them are closely co-operating with Australian partners. The most prominent example is CeBIT itself and its German mother company, Deutsche Messe AG.

In terms of geography, Australia and Germany are far apart. But when it comes to our values, Australia and Germany are very close. Our common values are a solid basis for our cooperation. Our shared values include democracy, diversity, the rule of law and the commitment to international cooperation. We share a similar understanding of the value of individual freedom. All of these values bind us together. This is why I attach so much importance to this visit to Australia.

On the basis of our common values we are close friends. On this basis, both of us reach out to new partners. When Australia as an Asian-Pacific power or Germany as an European player seek new partnerships then this is not only to the benefit of the respective country but it is also in our mutual interest. Shaping globalisation means nurturing existing partnerships and friendships and also forging new partnerships. Seeking new partners is not diminishing proven friendships. Foreign policy is no zero sum game. In the era of Globalisation politics must keep advocating openness. Australia and Germany are countries that know our world is changing dramatically. We draw the consequence, we answer these challenges, we take part in reshaping economic and geostrategic relations.

German foreign policy is value-based and interest-led. That is not a contradiction but two sides of the same coin. German-Australian relations reflect this perfectly. We work together in many fields, from nuclear disarmament to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Tomorrow, we will discuss how we can work together to support the peaceful democratic transition we are seeing in Northern Africa and the Arab world. And we sign a Joint Declaration on Australian-German Resources and Energy Cooperation. We will engage in a dialogue on raw materials. Australia is one of the global leaders in this field. We can both benefit from a close partnership - in commerce, in technology and innovation, and in governance questions of raw material markets.

Australia has a dynamic neighbourhood. The economic rise of these countries provides great benefits, for their people, for the fight against poverty, and for us. It also reinforces global competition for companies. More than many other countries, Australia and Germany have to stay at the forefront of research and development in order to maintain their prosperity.

International trade and exchange is not new. What is new in globalisation is the pace at which change is taking place. Information, ideas, goods and services are exchanged worldwide and more quickly than ever.

Information technology is the key technology of globalisation. In this field the most impressive innovations have been made. It is this technology that has had the strongest impact on our societies. The internet has created a new social reality. Never before have more people been connected.

Not only is an event like CeBIT Australia unthinkable without the internet. The internet is irreplaceable for our wealth and our freedom in a knowledge-based and open society.

The internet facilitates trade, innovation and education. International dialogue and the exchange of ideas benefit from it. I was impressed to see how much creative potential a networked world sets free when I recently participated in launching a global design competition for a logo for human rights.

Over 2000 design proposals from 149 countries were submitted in the first two weeks.

The internet pushes a globalisation of values. It empowers civil society. In North Africa and the Middle East the democratic awakening is above all the achievement of brave women and men. But information technology has given wings to their struggle for democracy and freedom.

The internet clearly has had an impact on our reality all the way to foreign policy. Internet policy has itself become an issue of foreign policy. Free access to information is a human right. Freedom of expression, of assembly and of association today must also be protected online.

Just last week, the G8 countries have agreed on a number of goals and principles they want to pursue in the field of internet policy. International coordination is necessary, for the sake of a global net. Not only coordination among states. Civil society, providers and the internet economy have a lot to contribute to this process as representatives of an emerging global society.

The internet never forgets, nor does it forgive. Data privacy, intellectual property rights, protection against cross-border crime and cyber crime, all these are issues where national norms need to be compatible in a global net.

No country can govern the internet alone. The great benefit of the internet is, that it is one single, global, accessible and free internet. We should keep it that way. One cannot protect the world wide web by creating many different national Cyberspaces.

what is true for the internet is true for globalisation in general. Globalisation creates a need for more global governance and more international coordination. No country can meet the challenges of our time on its own, be it financial market stability, homeland security or the protection of the environment. In a world of soon seven billion people, new topics like energy, raw materials, climate, food prices, and disease protection arise as global challenges. And new challenges require new partners, too.

Germans and Australians know it is time to act on climate change. Rising sea levels and rising food prices have become a question of security. Clean technology will help us meet this global challenge. Let me say this in the typical modest way Germany is famous for: Germany is a world leader in renewable energies. German industry has a lot to offer in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, transport and mobility and more.

There is no innovation without first-class education. Knowledge is a key resource in today's world. That's why I am happy about the excellent cooperation of our two countries in the field of research. I will only mention one number as an example: There are 250 bilateral university cooperations between Germany and Australia.

we need bilateral cooperation as well as international cooperation and effective multilateralism.

For that we need international institutions that are effective and have international legitimacy. The G20 of which Australia and Germany are members, is part of that. We are committed to having a stronger link between the work of the G20 and the United Nations. The United Nations is the heart piece of world politics based on cooperation. It has universal legitimacy, global reach, and can enact binding international law. We support the reform of the United Nations Security Council to better reflect the realities of today.

Germany believes in a rules-based globalization. Values and interests go hand in hand in that. Common norms in international law, cooperation, and multilateralism are the best basis for development, prosperity, security and peace.

Australia and Germany are strong partners in addressing these global challenges. We are strong partners in our bilateral relations, to our mutual benefit. And Australians and Germans are strong partners here in Sydney at the CeBIT Australia.

But, to be honest, there is one area where we are not strong partners. That is in sports. Here we don't even have the same values. Your Australian football, your Rugby – I am sure it is rule based, but I certainly accept Australian domination in this field. But not when it comes to beer. And about the quality of your wines we can argue. As friends.

I wish all of you here great success for this great trade fair.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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