Dear Admiral Brinkmann,
dear Admiral Nykvist,
dear Captain Giss,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the Hamburg Town Hall and congratulations on the 10th anniversary of the Sea Surveillance Cooperation Baltic Sea.
This spring, the German Navy receives the chair of the Cooperation, and you choose to meet in Hamburg to celebrate the 10th anniversary of SUCBAS.
Hamburg has close ties to our neighbours in the Baltic area. We have a long-standing tradition as a port and trade city which started over 600 years ago, when the first merchants came together to form the Hanseatic League.
Already in the middle ages, the Hanseatic League followed the idea of peace and free trade in Europe, with equal rights and rules for every member.
League members began to protect each other at sea, making the waterways safer for their transport of goods. All this led to a unique period of prosperity and growth in the member cities.
These basic principles of the former Hanseatic League are still relevant today. Free and safe trade and commerce with fair rules for all parties form the basis of a productive economy and prosperity.
The safety of our waterways and the Baltic Sea region plays the same crucial role as in previous centuries.
The cooperation of navy partners Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Great Britain and Germany is an essential part of the safety in the Baltic area.
Apart from joint drills, the Sea Surveillance Cooperation Baltic Sea is also about the transfer of knowledge: The member states learn from each other how they can effectively organise criminal prosecution in maritime traffic and work together to protect the natural sea environment.
The Sea Surveillance Cooperation strengthens the Baltic Sea area, which is an important part of Europe.
In a world of more than seven billion people, we need a strong European Union if we really want to influence international politics and be a serious contact for transatlantic or asian partners.
We advocate a strong Baltic Sea area, not only in terms of security, but also education, scientific cooperation, and economic exchange.
In the network STRING, twelve regions have banded together to advance international infrastructure projects like the Fehmarnbelt link and the railway connection between Gothenburg and Oslo.
The security of the Baltic Sea region is relevant to all of Europe. The Sea Surveillance Cooperation Baltic Sea is of vital importance for the security of the Baltic Sea.
Each member state is contributing a lot to safeguard the stability of the region. We have great respect for this engagement.
I wish you all an interesting session and a wonderful time in Hamburg.
Thank you very much.