Message from Guido Westerwelle, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, on the occasion of the Day of German Unity, 3 October 2011
The Berlin Wall was built 50 years ago. It was toppled 28 years later by people who took a courageous stand for their freedom. The moving images of the peaceful revolution of 1989 still linger in my mind. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets, chanting “we are the people”. The East German people’s yearning for freedom triumphed and Germany celebrated the end of its division. At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, a jubilant crowd climbed onto the Wall. A year later, on 3 October 1990, came the formal political unity of Germany.
Today we are moved by images of demonstrations in the Arab world. There too, brave individuals are taking to the streets for a life of freedom. Change is sweeping the region. Germany is supporting the people of North Africa as they expand rule-of-law structures, enforce human rights and strengthen democracy.
We are well acquainted with the power of freedom thanks to our own history. Freedom, democracy and protection of human rights are key elements of our foreign policy. The very preamble of the Basic Law charges us “to promote world peace in a united Europe”.
Peace policy means more than just our dedicated advocacy of disarmament. We want the shaping of globalization to be governed by rules. Social, economic and environmental challenges have a direct impact on peace and security. That is why our dedication to combating climate change and our advocacy of responsible economic governance, to name two examples, are components of our preventive foreign policy, which is committed to peace, development and security worldwide.
Europe is the foundation of our foreign policy. Today we are not only marking the Day of German Unity but also celebrating the reunification of Europe. Germany remains a driving force in European integration. If we did not already have the EU, we would have to invent it now as our continent’s response to globalization. Europe is not only about reckoning with our past – it is about winning our future.