In her speech, Chancellor Angela Merkel again called for international cooperation and criticised the rising nationalist trends in many states. "No state can address the global challenges of the 21st century alone," she said, and pointed to migration, climate change and digitalisation.
Peaceful solution in the conflict between the USA and Iran
In the conflict between the USA and Iran the Chancellor called for a peaceful solution. "I say that this must not be a mere hope, but that it must be something to work very seriously toward. In my view there must be a political solution," said Angela Merkel. This issue is bound to play a role at least in bilateral talks at the G20 summit next week in the Japanese city of Osaka, she said. She is absolutely determined to work for a diplomatic solution, she added.
With a view to the discussions surrounding the murder of Kassel’s district president Walter Lübcke, Angela Merkel demanded that any links to the right-wing terrorist group, NSU, be investigated in full, and pointed to the failings of the authorities in the NSU case. "We made promises to the people affected at that time." If we now fail to scrutinise possible links, «we will suffer a total loss of credibility» said Angela Merkel. "And that is of course the exact opposite to what we need – which is trust."
Discussion with the Nobel Peace Prize laureate
In a panel discussion, following her speech, Angela Merkel engaged with the former Liberian President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. She also answered questions from the audience.
Angela Merkel and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s subject was "Trust as the basis for international politics?". The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate praised the Chancellor, who she described as a leading politician of the 21st century and trail-blazer for multilateral cooperation. Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf declared that the Chancellor must continue to be a motivation for women in leading positions. She must not stop now. Angela Merkel responded that everything has a beginning, and everything has an end.
Wide and varied programme
A total of some 118,000 people are expected to visit the Kirchentag, which is offering almost 2,400 individual events. The wide and varied programme includes concerts, Bible groups, workshops and panel discussions.
Alongside the Chancellor and the Federal President, the Kirchentag has announced that several Cabinet ministers will be attending, including Katarina Barley, Franziska Giffey, Anja Karliczek, Ursula von der Leyen, Svenja Schulze, Heiko Maas and Gerd Müller.
The 37th Kirchentag of the German Protestant Church is taking place from 19 to 23 June 2019 in Dortmund with the motto "What confidence", taken from 2 Kings, Chapter 18, Verse 19. Find out more about the Kirchentag here.