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Speech by Ambassador Dr. Norbert Riedel on the occasion of German Day of Unity at Raffles Hotel Singapore, 5th of October 2022

Speech by Ambassador Dr. Norbert Riedel

Speech by Ambassador Dr. Norbert Riedel on the occasion of German Day of Unity at Raffles Hotel Singapore, 5th of October 2022, © German Embassy Singapore

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Dear Mr. Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State,
Dear Mr. Sitoh Yih Pin, Member of Parliament,
Dear Mr. Henry Quek, Member of Parliament,
Dear Jens Rübbert, President of the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce,
Excellencies,
Distinguished guests,
Liebe Landsleute!

It is such a joy to see all of you here in person. Thank you for joining us to celebrate the Day of German Unity!

Today, we are celebrating unity and friendship. For this, we came to the best possible place. Not just because Raffles is one of the nicest hotels in town. But we are also standing on historic ground.

Exactly 200 years ago, in 1822, the first German decided to settle down in Singapore. He came from Holstein and his name was Claudius Henry Thomsen. He built a printing press right here, where Raffles Hotel was later built.

What started 200 years ago with a printing press, is now more than 8.000 German compatriots, and a lasting presence of over 2.100 German companies. It is a vibrant community that has become deeply rooted in Singapore.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seeing that we are celebrating 200 years of friendship and exchange, a pandemic of two years suddenly seems only like the blink of an eye. If anything, the pandemic has certainly done one thing: It brought us closer together.

 It does not come as a surprise that Singapore chose Germany as pilot country to establish the ‘Vaccinated Travel Lane’, which reconnected people and businesses at a very early stage.

And it is no wonder that in June this year, Federal President Steinmeier chose to travel to Singapore on his first major trip after the pandemic. It was a clear political statement:

Not only is Singapore our key partner for economic cooperation in the region. Singapore is our first stop when we intensify our political engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.

I would like to thank our partners and friends in Singapore, who welcomed the President with an unsurpassed show of hospitality.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The Day of German Unity is not just a singular event that happened in Germany 32 years ago.

This day stands for reconciliation, the end of ideological escalations, and ultimately a free and peaceful Europe.

Today, we see those principles and values challenged by a war of aggression. Still, it gives me hope that in Singapore we have a close partner who shares our vision for a peaceful international order. Together, we believe that international partners should be equal, whether they are big or small. We believe there are common rules that we need to defend. With this mindset, Germany remains committed to further deepening our relations with Singapore.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Yes, there will always be challenges. But we will always face them together. Addressing climate change, safeguarding our supply chains – we can do none of these without our friends and partners.

The upcoming Asia-Pacific Conference of German Businesses here in Singapore will be an excellent forum to do exactly this:

Team up, learn from one another, and create a sustainable future. We all look forward to this event, and I am convinced that many more highlights are to come.

For tonight, I wish all of us a happy celebration. 

But this event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors as well as concrete action by my colleagues at the embassy as well as from the Singaporean-German Chamber.

So please join me with a very big “thank you”!

To unity and friendship.

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