How much does my voice in Europe count? This is a question for which we have to provide an answer to the European pe ...
Bavarian, German, European
In the summer of 2006, 61 years after the end of the Second World War, 17 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we saw a truly united and contented German nation celebrating during the football World Cup. That ‘summer fairy tale’ represented a renewed national sentiment.
Due to our past, we Germans are unsettled regarding the relationship with our ‘fatherland’. Many have difficulties proclaiming: “I am proud to be German”. To be quite clear: I am proud to be German. There are many reasons for that. I am proud of our rich history, our culture and of our German writers, poets and intellectuals. I am proud of our stable democracy, our German federalism. I am proud of our international economic competitiveness. I am proud of the German contribution to the coalescence of Europe. This enumeration could go on; I am sure you have your own points of which you are proud to be German.
This awareness reinforces my advocacy for Europe. Europe does not represent a concept whereby a uniform mass emerges. Europe’s biggest asset is the plurality of the European Union. It is our task to combine all different elements to foster unity. To be Italian, French, Dutch and German with all their nationally evolved peculiarities and particularities - and also Lower Bavarians - enriches European culture.
Franz Josef Strauß once aptly stated: “Bavaria is our homeland, Germany our fatherland, Europe our future”. When I travel throughout the world, I feel European. When I travel in Europe, I feel German. And when I travel in Germany, I feel Lower Bavarian.