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European leaders commemorate Hans-Dietrich Genscher at FNF event
Thursday 30 March 2017 12:03

Leading up to the first anniversary of his death, the German liberal foundation, FNF (LI cooperating organisation), convened an international symposium in Berlin this week to commemorate the grand liberal statesman, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, and ask what lessons can be learnt and applied to the political challenges facing today’s world.

Recalling the pivotal role played by Mr. Genscher in reconciling East and West Germany when he was foreign minister between 1982-1992, FNF Deputy Chairman, Dr Karl-Heinz Paque, said: "Hans-Dietrich Genscher was a responsible and reconciling politician… Genscher listened to the citizens, but he also told them what they should know ".

Demonstrating the phenomenal impact Hans-Dietrich Genscher had on politicians of all ideologies,   the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel  addressed the ceremony by noting: "Few people have shaped the Federal Republic in the long term as much as Genscher", as the foreign minister he welcomed guest and colleagues from Germany and around the world.

During a round of discussions on the lessons and legacy of Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Michael Georg Link, ODIHR Director, explained that Mr. Genscher, the great European, dared to think big and take up challenges; he made the basis for his policy to who push forward transatlantic relations and the European Union.

It was above all the "humanity who spoke through his deeds", which has remained in good memory. "For Genscher, personal relationships were particularly important because confidence-building policies are based on personal trust", said Irmgard Schwaetzer, President of the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany highlighted as the panellists sought to explain Mr. Genscer’s skill as a politician.

The full report is available on the FNF website (in German) here.

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