In the early 1990s it seemed that "the world was on the road to liberty, to more democracy and human rights. We were all full of this optimism, which invigorated the transatlantic partnership in the early years," said Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday evening in Berlin’s Charlottenburg Palace, where she was awarded the Henry Kissinger Prize. The American Academy did so in recognition of Angela Merkel’s engagement in the field of international cooperation, and in particular her exceptional services to transatlantic relations.
Then, the Chancellor continued, we encountered major challenges. Europe must now "consider very carefully how we wish to position ourselves in a multilateral world". And, "Our interest in good transatlantic relations is, in my opinion, greater than is perhaps the interest of the United States of America at the moment."
In her analysis of the challenges of the moment, the Chancellor also referred to one external border of the European Union: the Mediterranean border. She said, "It borders on Africa, on Turkey, on Iraq if I take the NATO border. Then come Iraq and Syria and everything that the world currently has to offer in the way of dramatic conflicts." This is obviously unsettling. We must consider how we can deal with these challenges.
The American Academy is a research and cultural institution in Berlin. It aims to foster understanding and dialogue between Germany and the USA. Former US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke was the initiator. German-American friendship was to be kept alive. The Henry Kissinger Prize has been awarded since 2007. Prize-winner to date have included former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (2007), former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker (2009) and Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble (2017).