STUVA Conference 2019

“At the Moment Things Are Still Going Quite Well ...” – an Opening Speech by Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder

He may be no recognised tunnel expert but he definitely had something to say worth listening to: former German chancellor Dr. h. c. mult. Gerhard Schröder gave the opening speech at the STUVA Conference 2019 with the subject “Political and economic perspectives in Germany and Europe” and offered an overview of the big picture – in the well-known form: to the point, entertaining and with clever use of self-irony. He did however not conceal the seriousness of the situation. “At the moment things are going quite well, but will that continue?” The answer is clear: if we do nothing, things will not continue to go well.

His possible solutions and proposed ideas comprised critical thoughts about the state of research in Germany and the urgent necessity of bringing the national infrastructure into shape again. He also addressed the demand for Germany to stand up to its position as the economic leader in Europe and the classification of the future – shrinking – importance of an EU in a state of disintegration between the global power centres USA and China. Very briefly: China's economy is growing steadily, Donald Trump will have more influence on the USA and the European-American relationship than many want to believe, Germany and France have to stand up for Europe together in strength and Germany has to invest in things, which are important for the future: “... otherwise we will be overtaken by other states; the Chinese will then come to visit us to see the new Disneyland.” From the applause at the end, it looks like Gerhard Schröder is not alone in these ideas.

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