Willkommen auf den Seiten des Auswärtigen Amts
Madam President, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear guests,
Thank you for joining us to celebrate 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall!
For everybody old enough to have lived it, this is an unforgettable moment.
To us Germans, it is the happiest day of our history, a day of grace.
For decades, the Berlin wall and the border that divided Germany had claimed hundreds of victims among the people who tried to overcome them, in order win their freedom individually.
To us teenagers from Western Germany, as we stood in front of it during a trip to Berlin, it seemed eternal, irremovable.
We could go to East Germany and meet people – but they would never in our lives, so we thought, be able to visit us back.
Today we understand, that the wall was a demonstration of weakness of those who needed it, of the regime that relied on it.
And this, back then, was true for all of the East: the communist political system needed strict control and isolation from the outside world for its survival.
What happened on the evening of November 9, 1989, came as a surprise, a happy shock.
But it did not happen of itself. It was brought about by the hundreds of thousands of people in East Germany who had taken to the streets, in a rising tide of demonstrations. And this in turn, would not have been possible, not thinkable, without the example given by the nations of Central and Eastern Europe during those weeks and months.
What happened in Germany was inspired by the success of Solidarnosc in Poland, by the amazing „Baltic Way“, the human chain that had stretched Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, earlier that year. People had seen how Hungary had started to open its border. They knew how many had already reached the West through Warsaw, Prague and Budapest.
This was one European movement. It went on and reached each and every country, including, let ´s not forget – including Russia itself.
But in its vanguard was Georgia, first among the nations of what was then the Soviet union. Here in Tbilisi, Moscow resorted to bloody violence –and had to learn how futile this was against the determination of the Georgian people.
November 9th does not belong to Germany alone. It is a truly European day. It brought about the Europe that we all live in now, and that we work to strengthen.
The fight against walls is not over, as Georgia knows best. But after the experience of 1989, how safe are those today who still have to rely on barbed wire? How strong are their political constructions?
So right here in Georgia, we work together for the Europe that we now know is possible. We work with the instruments of diplomacy, dialogue and engagement across the lines. We work for democratic, economic and social progress across all borders.
Thus, Madam President, for us Germans, there is no better place to celebrate this day than here in Tbilisi, together with you, with our Georgian friends and with friends from so many countries.
Thank you, Georgia, for your friendship! Thank you for your contribution to the European cause!