German public figures publish appeal against war in Europe | News | DW | 09.12.2014
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German public figures publish appeal against war in Europe

A warning against war in Europe has been signed by 60 prominent German names. The appeal calls on Berlin to remember its peacekeeping responsibilities and also the media to report without prejudice.

In a joint appeal, more than 60 figures from German politics, economics, science and culture have warned against the return of war in Europe, in light of the on-going crisis in eastern Ukraine.

"In this moment of great danger for the continent, Germany has a special responsibility for the preservation of peace," the appeal said.

Initiated by the former adviser to ex-chancellor Horst Teltschik (CDU), former Defense Secretary Walther Stützle (SPD) and the former Vice-President of the Bundestag Antje Vollmer (Green) the appeal states: "We cannot push Russia out of Europe. That would be unhistorical, unreasonable and dangerous for peace."

"No one wants war. But North America, the European Union and Russia will inevitably reach it if they don't find a way to stop the disastrous spiral of threat and counter-threat," the appeal read.

Signed by the likes of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD), ex-Federal President Roman Herzog (CDU), astronaut Siegfried Jähn, director Wim Wenders and actor Mario Adorf, the request went on to say that peace and security are the "responsibility of all Europeans," including Russia.

It added that, despite hopes at the end of the Cold War, "the Ukraine-conflict shows that the addiction to power and domination has not been overcome."

Reflection

Just a month after Germany commemorated 25 years since the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the plea also reflected on the success of reunification.

"Without the reconciliation of the people of Russia, without the foresight of Mikhail Gorbachev, without the support of our Western allies and without the prudent action by the then Federal Government, the division of Europe would have not been overcome," read the signed address.

In a final bid, the 60 prominent members of German society called on the Federal Government and Parliament to "meet their responsibility for peace in Europe" and to find a "new policy of detente."

"This is only possible on the basis of equal security for all and equal and mutually respected partners," it said.

The media was also asked "to comply with unprejudiced reporting more convincing than before," and were warned once more that, "Europe is at stake."

Pan-European project

Closing the appeal, the members turned again to the end of the Cold War and the words of former German President Richard von Weizsäcker, which they believe are "more relevant than ever."

On October 3, 1990, the day of German Reunification, von Weizsäcker said: "For the people of Europe, a completely new chapter in its history is about to begin. Its goal is a pan-European project. It is a huge aim. We can do it, but we can also miss."

The published plea came within days of German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejecting criticisms of her Russia policy from her predecessors.

"I am convinced that the collective European response to Russia is the right answer," Merkel said in a interview with German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag.

ksb/lw (dpa)

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