Today, on 3rd of October, we commemorate a historic event, the 30th anniversary of reunification of West and East Germany following the fall of the Berlin wall. Thirty years are a fairly brief moment in a nation’s history. However, if we take a human lifespan as benchmark, it is quite a significant space of time.
On 3rd of October, the German people is celebrating the good fortune that brought unity, freedom and the rule of law. Those are fundamentals for every democracy. None of those is natural and none should be taken for granted. Democracies have to defend these accomplishments day in, day out –that is what we strive to do in Germany.
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. Covid-19 shook the world. I would like to pay tribute to the Government and the people of Sri Lanka for the way they collectively manage the pandemic. There is no doubt that Sri Lanka ranks among the best performing countries in the world in this regard. This cannot be praised enough.
Covid-19 helped the world to comprehend that some problems cannot be solved through national responses. They require joint efforts instead. The tasks lying ahead of all countries are tremendous and require exceptional efforts. We don’t know how long the crisis will last and how things will look like thereafter. The future is wide open.
However, there is one thing that Germany and its people will never lose sight of: We will always cherish the European Union. Germany firmly believes and trusts in Europe – as our heritage, hope and vision. From July to December 2020, Germany holds the Presidency in the European Union. The time for this Presidency could scarcely be more challenging. Albeit, our goal remains ambitious: Germany does not only want Europe to overcome the crisis, but to emerge from it united and stronger. Germany has always been striving for “more Europe” and will continue to do so in the future.
As German Ambassador to Sri Lanka, I am looking very much forward to further strengthening the already very close relations between Germany and Sri Lanka. A prime example for our strong bilateral ties amid the pandemic was the Technical Cooperation Agreement signed between our two Governments in June this year. This agreement amounts to 11 Million Euros with an additional grant of 2 Million Euros allocated as post-COVID-19 support. The German assistance comprises, among others, promotion of vocational training and support for small and medium-sized enterprises.
To conclude, I allow myself to take this opportunity to congratulate the Sri Lankan Government on having successfully conducted peaceful parliamentary elections and on the strong mandate it received from the people of Sri Lanka. I wish the Sri Lankan Government every success and fortunate decisions at all times.
Please do bear in mind: Germany, together with its partners in the European Union, will always be ready and willing to assist Sri Lanka, if so requested.
Ambassador Holger Seubert