Dear Ambassador Dr. Witter.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore is well worth visiting; although we had great expectations, Singapore is far greater than we thought.
Singapore shows the world what it means to be a “smart nation”. Our cities need smart solutions to promote business efficiency, environment-friendly technology and to generate a better quality of life. I am delighted that I shall be able to talk about this with Foreign Minister Balakrishnan, the minister in charge of the smart nation initiative.
Singapore is a centre of world trade. Here it is plain to see that a global port needs a digital soul. Hamburg likewise has expertise in smart port projects.
Singapore’s World Cities Summit is a unique opportunity to speak with internationally acknowledged experts about smart city projects. In order to develop new commercial space on scarce resources of land, we must think of moving up as well as out. Hamburg will be adopting the idea of flatted factories and thus launch a concept for developing commercial property that is new in Germany and Europe. Today we visited the JTC Surface Engineering Hub, which is five stories high. It is impressive to witness how technology overcomes gravity. “Height” is being re-defined in Singapore.
Hamburg and Singapore have excellent trade relations: As port cities, we know how important free trade is. I therefore very much welcome the understanding reached between the European Union and Singapore on the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.
Germany and all the other European governments view with regret the vote taken by the people of Great Britain to leave the EU. We shall respect their vote and find other ways to collaborate.
The principle of a united Europe is what has brought peace to the European continent, and the Single Market and free movement of goods and labour are among the key achievements of the EU.
Singapore is a bridge into Asia. And we readily admit that we can learn from Singapore, a metropolis where the digitalized world is taking shape, and a partner with whom we wish to have closer business ties.
Thank you very much.