"Europe must also learn the language of power"

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Vor 30 years spread the message that the border "from now on" was open, like wildfire through Berlin. Thousands gathered at the border crossings of the GDR. The surprised border guards finally gave in to the pressure of the masses and opened the turnpikes. The rest is history: these are images of joy and hope that we remember when we think of November 9, 1989. […]

With all the turmoil that political life brings with it, Germany will always thank this especially to the United States, the United Kingdom and France. In this thanks for decades in freedom and security, I would like to explicitly include NATO. The most powerful defense alliance in the world. […]

In no other day of German history are good and evil, hope and disgrace, courage and cowardice, the uplifting and the abyss of man as close together as on the 9th of November. The 9th of November symbolizes the self-doubts that stalk us Germans in the face of these contradictions. But also for the suspicion and the skepticism with which others consider us today. But this also allows us to gauge the blessing and gain that the united Europe means to us Germans, internally and externally, as a guarantor of peace, human rights, the rule of law, as the guardian of tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men. A collaborative work that we can be absolutely proud of. […]

The generation of my children can no longer imagine a life without this Europe. Europe is home to my children, but Germany as well – just like Lower Saxony. They combine this with ease, because they also have internalized that the beauty of Europe is just its diversity. Fortunately, Europe has become a matter of course in her life. However, that does not mean that we do not have to reassert this basic trust in Europe every day. […]

But I am firmly convinced that new strengths can emerge from these supposed and sometimes even real weaknesses in Europe. The power of the idea Europe is unbroken. There is no challenge for Europe that can not be tackled with the strengths of Europe. A good example of this is indeed trade policy. Yes, it is true that in a world where Europe's relative weight is decreasing, many EU members alone would be too weak to effectively negotiate tariffs with the US or through a free trade agreement with Japan. Together, we are 500 million and make up 40 percent of global gross domestic product. Together we are the biggest trading power in the world. […]

Another example is the digitization of our world: The network opens up great new knowledge spaces, it creates social participation and innovation. But that has its price. Googling your name gives you less than a second of information about what you've done so far. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong. The network knows more about you than you do. […]

These data are worth gold, they are traded, but not with the user, but between other companies in a largely rule-free space. Europe has acted – the name is dry, the impact is huge: the General Data Protection Regulation. Meanwhile, professionals outside Europe call this pioneering work a gift to the world. No other global force than Europe could have done this. […]

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