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Gauck seeks to quell Europe's German fears

Published: 22 Feb 2013 14:17 GMT+01:00

Joachim Gauck delivered an impassioned speech on Europe, his first since taking over the largely ceremonial German presidency 11 months ago, lamenting that its economic crisis had also hit confidence in its "political project."

Too many Europeans are left feeling without power and influence, he said adding he was concerned that Germany's role in Europe currently unleashed "scepticism and mistrust" in some countries.

As Europe has sought to overcome its financial crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel, at the helm of Europe's biggest economy, has in particular been derided by protesters in struggling southern European nations angry over cuts and painful reforms.

"More Europe doesn't mean in Germany, a German Europe. More Europe for us means, a European Germany," Gauck said in his 50-minute pro-Europe address to the around 200 guests at the presidential palace Bellevue in Berlin.

"We don't want to browbeat others, or press our concepts on them. We stand however by our experiences and would like to convey them," he added recalling that less than a decade earlier Germany had been the "sick man of Europe."

Turning to Britain where Prime Minister David Cameron has said he wants to renegotiate country's relationship with the EU and put the new terms to an in-out referendum by the end of 2017, Gauck said: "Dear English, Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish and new British citizens.

"We would like to keep you! We need your experiences as the country with the oldest parliamentary democracy, we need your traditions, your soberness and your courage," Gauck said.

"You helped with your deployment in World War II to save our Europe - it is also your Europe," he said to applause.

And Gauck, an activist pastor who hails from the former communist East Germany, outlined what Germany owed to Europe and the western Allies in getting back on its feet after 1945.

"We were spared at the time what could have easily followed after our hubris, an existence as an outcast stranger outside of the community of nations," he said.

AFP/mry

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Your comments about this article

14:48 February 22, 2013 by Firmino
I for one welcome our new German overlords....
17:35 February 22, 2013 by wasserball
Insulting speech. The rest of EU serves Germany! Britain leaving the EU would be their mistake.
19:07 February 22, 2013 by Berlin fuer alles
"We don't want to browbeat others, or press our concepts on them. We stand however by our experiences and would like to convey them," he added recalling that less than a decade earlier Germany had been the "sick man of Europe."

HOWEVER? In other words you agree that you are doing it anyway. Using the Euro at the expense of other Eurozone countries to make sure Germany does not become the sick man of Europe again. The rest of Europe and especially the countries with austerity imposed on them are sick of you.

Dr. Merkyl and Mr. Hyde should be handed an iron cross by her bankster buddies.
19:13 February 22, 2013 by Laurence F
Germany stop apologizing in the context of the EU; we know the horrible things you have done during WWI an WWII. That is a separate matter and for that you should keep apologizing an helping those that you hurt, destroyed and crushed into dust.

What you could do for Europe in the economic front is promote Capitalism, Free Enterprise (not crony capitalism) and Property rights.

Get the EU (remember the Czech politician) that called the EU a Nazi based organization; out of the lives of the People. Take the German bureaucracy out of the lives of the German People. Leave the People alone and set them free.
22:25 February 22, 2013 by Englishted
@Laurence F

That was a party political broadcast on behalf of the tea party.
23:25 February 22, 2013 by sonriete
don't want to browbeat others or impose our concepts on them? Gauck needs to send that memo to Martin Schulz.
04:29 February 23, 2013 by AmericanMade
"we know the horrible things you have done during WWI an WWII. That is a separate matter and for that you should keep apologizing an helping those that you hurt, destroyed and crushed into dust."

Just like us Americans who must continue to pay the price for the sins of our ancestors. Exactly how long is enough?
07:15 February 23, 2013 by gorongoza
@ AmericanMade.

"Exactly how long is enough ?" The answer is very simple: Till your mentality changes - fullstop !
07:18 February 23, 2013 by dr.makni49
"You helped with your deployment in World War II to save our Europe - it is also your Europe," he said to applause...., it seems German president loves the spectre of wars more than any one else to recount the horrors at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
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