CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Ladies and gentlemen, today, on 9 November 2020, we Germans commemorate both the worst and the best moments in our history, as we do every year on this day.
We remember the disgrace of 9 November 1938, the pogroms against Jewish citizens throughout the country, the people who were driven to their deaths, the burning synagogues, the destroyed shops. We remember with shame the victims of the crime against humanity that was the Shoah perpetrated by Germany.
And we remember 9 November 1989, the jubilation, the people’s joy bubbling over when, not far from here, at the Brandenburg Gate and along the Berlin Wall, this terrible construction first opened and then fell. Just a few weeks ago, on 3 October, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of our German unity. Without the trust of the Americans in particular, it would not have been possible. For that, I will always be grateful.
We Germans have witnessed and experienced first hand the important role that the United States of America plays for freedom and democracy in the world. We have witnessed and experienced first hand the great significance of the German-American friendship, the transatlantic partnership – for Germany, for Europe and for the world.
Every four years, the whole world very closely follows the course of the American presidential elections. Now the citizens of America have once again made their choice. I congratulate Joe Biden most sincerely on his election as 46th President of the United States of America. Joe Biden brings with him decades of experience in the fields of domestic and foreign policy. He knows Germany and Europe well. I have good memories of fruitful meetings and talks with him.
I also offer my equally sincere congratulations to Kamala Harris, the future Vice-President. As the first woman to hold this office and the daughter of two immigrants, she is an inspiration for many people and an example of America’s opportunities. I look forward to meeting her.
The friendship between our two countries has proved its worth over many decades. Many people both here and there embody this German-American friendship. It is a common treasure. We need to continue to work to preserve it and bring together new generations of Germans and Americans, Europeans and Americans. We are allies within NATO. We share the fundamental values of the worth of the individual and the rule of law, and we share common interests.
The United States of America and Germany as part of the European Union need to stand together in order to overcome the major challenges of our time, side by side in the difficult test that is the COVID-19 pandemic, side by side in the fight against global warming and its global consequences as well as in the fight against terrorism, side by side for an open global economy and free trade. For these are the foundations of our prosperity on both sides of the Atlantic.
We Germans and we Europeans know that in the 21st century, we ourselves need to shoulder greater responsibility in this partnership. The United States is and remains our most important ally. But it rightly expects us to make a greater effort to ensure our own security and to stand up for our convictions in the world, and we Europeans have long begun to embark on this path.
These are conflict-ridden times, and voters have placed considerable responsibility on Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. I look forward to working with them, and wish them every success, strength and God’s blessing. Thank you.