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Speech by Federal Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier to present Hamburg’s Olympic bid at the Ambassadors Conference

24.08.2015 - Speech

Olaf Scholz,
Alfons Hörmann,

2024 sounds a long way off. But things are gradually getting serious now as far as the Olympic bids are concerned. There are only two years to go before the International Olympic Committee in Lima decides who will host the Games. The competitors are moving into position. Paris, Rome, Budapest – perhaps Los Angeles. Boston is out of the running! It’s getting very exciting now.

All the more reason, I think, to roll our sleeves up once more and to look together what resources we can still muster and how we can use them to bring the Olympic Games to Hamburg!

On that note, a warm welcome to you, Olaf Scholz! And a warm welcome to you, Alfons Hörmann!

Ladies and gentlemen,

The fact that you are both here today – at the annual Ambassadors Conference – is very fitting! After all, no other German city represents our country’s relationship with the world as well as Hamburg. But the “gateway to the world”, as Hamburg confidently describes itself, doesn’t just lead to a one‑way street! We don’t just gaze symbolically into the distance in the wake of the freighters, tankers and cruise ships leaving the port. The door opens in both directions: the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is a gateway that gives the world a view of our country.

That is why I want to ask you – and now I’m addressing my ambassador colleagues – let us use this gateway as an opportunity – also for our foreign policy!

We will be more successful in many ways if our partners look upon our country with trust and goodwill.

That is why Hamburg’s Olympic bid is such a great opportunity. The Olympics in Hamburg could be a wonderful sequel to Germany’s fairytale summer of 2006. That year, even The Daily Telegraph, not generally known for its pro‑German sentiments, turned its back on fondly held stereotypes, commenting, “The Germans began to have fun.”

If Lima decides in our favour and we then go about things the right way, the Olympic Games on the River Elbe will not only influence the image we communicate to people throughout the world, but shape it in a positive sense.

Olaf Scholz,

I am convinced that you will stir up enthusiasm for the Olympic Games in Hamburg among people all over the world.

My message to you, dear Olaf, is that you can count on our full support! On the support of our ambassadors and on my own personal backing.

I know from experience that we have plenty to offer in this area. Let us just cast our minds back to the 2006 FIFA World Cup. And particularly to the time leading up to it! The events that helped present our country in a whole new light didn’t just unfold on the football pitch and in the grandstands in Germany. It was also a result of the numerous happenings, receptions, background talks, football tournaments and large-screen transmissions organised by our colleagues at the missions abroad.

You, too, can now count on this expertise and enthusiasm in practical terms.

Specifically, that means that we will involve you whenever we can in connection with my trips abroad.

It means that our ambassadors will make the 2024 Olympics a top priority.

It means that you are warmly invited to participate in major events at our missions abroad, such as celebrations to mark the Day of German Unity.

On this note, let us seize this opportunity together and bring the five Olympic rings to the Elbe. With sporting ambition, fair play and fun!

Thank you very much.

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