Speech of the German Ambassador.
Colleagues of the French and the German Embassy,
Ladies and Gentlemen :
Two embassies in one house ?
Germans and French under one roof ?
Will it be beer or champagne, sausages or camembert ?
Are you really sure that you want to take that commitment ?
Imagine Bangladesh had an embassy together with India in Berlin – how could that work out ?
And what are you going to do in case of a sudden political crisis between Paris and Berlin ? Who will move out and take a room in the next hotel ?
Those were some of the questions Michel and I could hear from our friends in Dhaka over the past few weeks when we told them about today’s event.
What did we say to that, Michel, you and I ? I believe we mostly smiled. We smiled because we are simply not aware of any major issues at the political level. How could we be worried about divorce as we are finally joining our forces today on this piece of lawn in Baridhara ?On the contrary, we are relieved. Relieved that, after years of hard work of countless colleagues in our two capitals, we are finally allowed to temporarily change into masons today, laying the first two stones of our new embassy building. Let me thank all our guests who have come to share this unique moment with us.
A unique moment indeed as this is definitely a first in our common history. Today, the members of both our embassies may proudly see themselves as pioneers. Never before did France and Germany actually build a house together to be used for their respective embassies in a third country.
Practical considerations may have helped us to take this decision – fair enough. Dhaka is a challenge for everyone venturing into issues of real estate. Using limited space in the most intelligent way is something we can learn from our host country. The decision to build this house is a case in point.
How did we conceive it, and how do we build it ? The answer is quite simple : we are putting together what we can do jointly, and we are keeping apart what should continue to be done separately. We are not building a Franco-German embassy, but a building for the French and the German embassy – this is an important nuance. Michel’s successor will not be obliged to be driven in a BMW, and my successor will not have to serve Beaujolais at his Oktoberfest. We remain what we are, what we are known for, and what – hopefully - we are appreciated for.
For more than 1200 years, we have been different, yet close. Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, or Karl der Große, may be our common ancestor. But his sons started to quarrel, and his empire was lost – not even Napoleon, a thousand years later, was able to reunite it for more than a short while.
Putting an end to a sequence of painful chapters of our common history, Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer finally signed a treaty of which we are celebrating the Golden Jubilee today. Peace between France and Germany is now well established. Cooperation and understanding have reached the deeper layers of our two societies. We are happy to remain different, but committed to walking our way together within the continent of Europe, which has finally found its balance after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We will build more houses together, showing our friends on other continents that Europe is one, yet diverse, full of different colors and shades, but proud of its heritage and identity.
May this new building become a place of friendship, trust, and good vibrations between France, Germany and Bangladesh.
Thank you very much for your attention.