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Westerwelle in South-Korea: "We want a European Germany"

Guido Westerwelle
Guido Westerwelle
Almost 250 students, professors and representatives of the German business community in Seoul attended a lecture given by the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle at Hanyang University. The event was co-organized by the Korea Office of the German Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

One key point of his speech titled “The Euro and the future of Europe in times of global interdependence” was the “power of freedom and liberty”. Westerwelle, an alumnus of Hanyang University, stressed that trust in this power would overwhelm everything else – as German reunification and the unification of Europe has shown.

With regard to the global financial crisis Westerwelle addressed questions about Germany’s role in solving this crisis and concerns about the development of the European currency. According to him, the term “‘euro crisis’ is misleading because the euro itself is not in crisis” while reminding the audience of the remarkable success story of the European currency. Therefore, the answer to the crisis must be “more Europe, not less”. He said: “We don’t want a German Europe, we want a European Germany.”

The Goal: A world without nuclear weapons

Hanyang University
Hanyang University
Westerwelle also reminded the audience about the two countries’ shared history of national division and development towards leading export nations. Due to a lack of significant natural resources and fossil fuels Korea and Germany had to invest in the education of their citizens as well as in the development of strong cutting-edge technologies. “Our raw material is not below our feet but between our ears”, he said. According to him, the future of a country was not decided by any tax system but the competitiveness of its education system. Therefore, the German government refrained from cutting the national budget for education and science despite the financial crisis.

To meet the challenges of a more complex and multi-polar world Westerwelle also pointed at the need for restructuring international institutions such as the UN Security Council (UNSC). The current structure of the UNSC is a remnant of the bipolar world but does not reflect today’s multi-polar system since neither the continents of Latin America nor Africa are represented and Asia is underrepresented among the permanent members. He also advocated strengthening the authority of the United Nations.

Speaking of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit that he attended later that day, Westerwelle stressed its overall goal of a “world without nuclear weapons”. In this regard, North Korea needs to be encouraged to give up its nuclear weapons.

The visit of Westerwelle who received a honorary doctorate in political science in 2006 is regarded as a momentum for further strengthening the cooperation between Hanyang University and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation. Since 1987 the Foundation supports the University’s Center for Local Autonomy in its activities to promote political decentralization.
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