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Steinmeier: Democracy 'not guaranteed forever'

May 23, 2024


[Video transcript]

Germany is marking 75 years since the country adopted its constitution — officially known as the basic law.
A special ceremony was held earlier, with Beethoven's Fifth symphony played by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Germany's President Frank-Walter Steinmeier hosted the event, noting that the Basic Law was drafted in response to the crimes of Nazi Germany. Steinmeier said the document has flourished and become a starting point for other countries that have an authoritarian past.  

He also stressed the Basic Law's importance at this time in history, when threats to democracy have grown stronger than ever. 

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German President: "Now, when we urgently need our democracy because it alone can settle disputes peacefully, because this democracy is open to engage in compromise and embrace change, that is the moment when our democracy itself has come under threat. Right now, forces are emerging here which want to weaken and undermine democracy, that despise its institutions, insult and denigrate its representatives. Yes, our democracy has succeeded. But we should know and must be aware democracy is not guaranteed forever. And others won't protect it. We can only do that ourselves! It depends on us!"