Ladies and Gentlemen,
On October 3rd 2015 is a very special day especially for me, since this is my first National Day reception as Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Kingdom of Thailand. My wife Lucia and I are looking forward to our stay in this wonderful country and to meet with each and every one of you.
For Germany this is a very special Day of German Unity as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of German reunification. We celebrate this day with joy and gratitude as it marks a truly historic day – not only for Germany, but also for Europe and the world!
As we are celebrating the German Unity it is important, however, to remember another anniversary which we are also celebrating this year:
The 70th anniversary of the end of World War II – a “day of liberation” also for the German people – that marks the defeat of the Nazi regime which – in the name of Germany – brought terror and atrocities never experienced before to the people of Europe and beyond.
The same year, as a reaction to the traumatic experience of two world wars, the UN Charter was signed and the United Nations Organization established. In these very days, world leaders are gathering in New York for the 70th UN General Assembly in order to address global challenges and find solutions for conflicts around the World. This highlights the importance of multilateralism and the essential role of the United Nations – today more than ever. Peace and security cannot be achieved nor preserved without a strong and effective United Nations.
Since then, Europe has been experiencing the longest period ever of peace, prosperity and stability. Germany, today, lies in the centre of this unified Europe and is a reliable and responsible partner within the EU and the international community. And history has been benign with our country. The peaceful revolution in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 opened the door for the reunification of East and West Germany on 3rd October 1990. It marked the end of the Cold War and the political rift in Europe.
These historic events have been achieved by courageous people who claimed their right to free expression and self-determination, to human rights and the rule of law – the pillars of democracy and the foundation of our prosperous social, economic and political system.
These achievements, however, should never be taken for granted!
The conflict in Ukraine, the war in Syria, the terror of the Islamic State as well as the most recent refugee crisis in Europe and elsewhere have shown that we live not only in an ever more interdependent but also in a more fragile world. Never, since the end of World War II, have we seen more conflicts than today with so many people deprived of fundamental rights and basic needs.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
As we are celebrating 25 years of German Unity, Germany does not shy away from taking over foreign policy responsibility. We are committed to a strong, solidary and united European Union and are working to find solutions for international and global challenges – together with our friends and partners.
For over 150 years, our countries have enjoyed strong and vibrant ties in all fields. Thailand is – for the EU and especially for Germany – a partner with whom we share common interests and values and a longstanding friendship – in good and difficult times. And as Thailand is currently undergoing a difficult political transformation we hope to see your country return to a democratic process as soon as possible and stand ready to assist Thailand as a friend in this endeavour.
I am very happy to see that the friendship and relations between our two countries are constantly growing – with personal contacts on all levels and in all fields. Thai-German economic cooperation is a long success story. Today, Germany is Thailand’s largest trading partner in Europe with more than 600 German companies successfully doing business in Thailand. Cooperation projects cover a wide range of issues with a special focus on vocational training, environmental protection and economic sustainability. We enjoy longstanding and strong relations in the cultural, scientific and educational fields. We are pleased to see that Germany is very popular among Thai students and we have a wide range of academic partnerships.
Thailand is not only a major travel destination for German tourists. Today, more than 30,000 Germans are working and residing permanently in Thailand.
German Ambassador to Thailand