Dear Mr. Woyke,
Dear Mr. Kotzur,
Dear Ms. Vice President of the Hamburg Parliament,
Dear Doyenne and Members of the Consular Corps,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the Senate Reception for the “Future of Transatlantic Relations” Conference.
The “Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung” and the “Europa-Kolleg Hamburg” have organized this conference for the second time now.
It is dedicated to the transatlantic cooperation and opens up a dialogue between science, politics and civil society.
This is of great importance because a common understanding among nations, even within the NATO alliance, is becoming more and more complex.
Traditional structures of international cooperation are often outdated or deliberately overturned by individual actors. The “Future of Transatlantic Relations” Conference can provide helpful incentives in this process of modernization.
Good international relations are important TO Hamburg as a traditional hub for international trade and business. As a Hanseatic city, we have centuries of experience in this field.
The Hanseatic League was the first trade-free zone in the world. During the Middle Ages it was a powerful alliance of cities stretching from Lisbon to Novgorod which shaped business, trade and politics in the North and Baltic Sea regions until today.
A part of our history can be seen in this room.
The paintings on the ceiling symbolize the cooperation of the Hanseatic cities, such as Bremen or Lübeck. The stucco artworks represent countries with which Hamburg has always maintained close trade relationships.
This includes in particular North America, depicted here with a cowboy and a Native American – which was the European picture of America at those times.
Today the United States is Hamburg’s second largest trade partner. Our port is connected to all major US ports via direct liner services and container business has grown significantly in the last year.
Some 800 Hamburg companies have business activities in the United States. Beyond our economic collaboration we are connected by common values such as democracy, fundamental rights, freedom and peace.
Hamburg appreciates this partnership very much and advocates for the improvement of transatlantic relationships in a variety of ways. In this regard, there is great expertise in our city.
The “Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung“, the “Europa-Kolleg Hamburg”, the “German Institute of Global and Area Studies” and the “Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy”, they all have a focus on this area.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Helmut Schmidt, in whose spirit the “Future of Transatlantic Relations” Conference was established, was a honorary citizen of our city. He regarded good cooperation between the US, Europe and Germany as a cornerstone for security, peace and prosperity.
Which is why we should further strengthen the transatlantic dialogue and even work together on important future matters, such as cybersecurity, which was a panel topic today, climate protection or renewable energy.
I hope this evening provides an opportunity to discuss these issues and establish new contacts. I wish you all interesting conversations and a pleasant stay in Hamburg.
Thank you very much.