Speech by Federal Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier at the opening of the new German Embassy chancery in Tunis on 24 April 2014

24.04.2014 - Speech

-- Translation of advance text --

Foreign Minister,
My dear Laurent, Ambassador,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome to the new chancery of the Federal Republic of Germany in Tunisia! The new building is attractive, and it was also urgently needed! The architect, Mr Slim Kebir, has created a bright and friendly space which conveys openness and transparency – two maxims that we hope will continue to characterise our relations with Tunisia.

A new chancery was highly necessary! Since the revolution Germany has doubled its Embassy staff, and its cooperation with Tunisia has increased fourfold. This new Embassy building in Tunis therefore also symbolises Germany’s strong commitment to a modern, democratic Tunisia under the rule of law and to the country’s citizens.

I am delighted that my friend Laurent Fabius is able to attend this inauguration ceremony today. We have just visited Moldova and Georgia together, and have now commenced our talks here in Tunis, with the aim of underscoring our common engagement for the European Union’s southern and eastern neighbours.

Since the revolution Tunisia has been going through very testing times. All of you – politicians, parties and civil society players working together –have put the common good above all other interests and have thus facilitated the adoption of the new constitution.

Here in Tunisia many developments were sparked which since 2011 have transformed the Arab-Muslim world. Not everywhere have the changes generated more freedom and democracy. Yet the Tunisian model is an impressive example of tenacity in staying the course as well as level‑headedness in pursuing a common goal. It is a role model for the entire region – and further afield.

Foreign Minister,

This Embassy represents the interests of the Federal Republic of Germany in Tunisia. Yet in these days particularly it also has a special responsibility to do everything in its power to support you, your government and the Tunisian people as you continue along the path of reform.

Ensuring economic stability and overcoming security challenges is vital if Tunisia is to succeed politically. Together, Germany and France are therefore working for Europe to make this a special priority over the coming years.

At this point I would like to thank several people without whom the rapid implementation of this building project would not have been possible. My thanks go to the developer, Mr Fathi Neiffar, for all the commitment he has shown.

I would also like to thank former Ambassadors Wolfram Kerll and Jens Plötner – the two predecessors of Mr Reinicke, the new head. Thanks to the efforts of all the colleagues involved, it has taken only two years to complete the project.

One hundred years ago the famous German artists Paul Klee and August Macke toured Tunisia together. We want to commemorate their travels with a series of events throughout the year. Arriving in Tunis on 7 April 1914, Paul Klee wrote in his journal: “We know we will be able to work well here.”

My hope for all the German Embassy staff is that you will be able to record the same sentiments in your own journals!

I wish you much joy in this new building.

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