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Hans-Dietrich Genscher: “Not power, but responsibility”

Vera Tellmann
September 29, 2015

“Germany has arrived. It has taken up a position where it always belonged, namely in the heart of Europe”, writes former Foreign Minister Genscher in a DW opinion piece on the 25th anniversary of German Reunification.

Image: DW/M.Müller

Hans-Dietrich Genscher states that “a new Germany in a new Europe doesn't mean more power, but more responsibility.”

Responsibility for a world of equality, but not dominance; a world where everyone is always aware of the fact that a nation won't prosper in the long run if others permanently do poorly”, Genscher added.

According to the former Foreign Minister, it would be a “historic misunderstanding” to question European unity. Genscher expresses his concerns about attempts to maintain a divided Europe: “It seems as if some people don't want to overcome this division, but rather shift the dividing line from the middle further eastward.” He urges not to revive “the division of Europe; after all, unification has brought with it so much that's good.” Europe should rather serve “as testing ground for a just order”, and a Europe-oriented Germany should act “as an engine, coming up with ideas.”

According to a representative survey, a majority (82 percent) of German citizens believe that their country’s reunification could be a model for other countries. Those under 30 appear especially convinced that German unification has been a positive development. Seventy-nine percent see it as a success (79 percent), and two-thirds (65 percent) claim to have gained personal advantage of some sort from German unity. In September 2015, the opinion research institute Infratest dimap conducted a representative survey among 1,003 citizens over age 18 and entitled to vote.

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