Sigmar Gabriel remembers Sylke Tempel

Foreign Minister‘s appeal: Mediate foreign policy! Explain Europe!

11/12/2017 | 19:00 - 20:00 | Atrium der Deutschen Bank Berlin | Invitation only

Speech

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In a moving speech German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel on Monday night remembered Dr. Sylke Tempel, the recently deceased editor-in-chief of the DGAP’s magazines Internationale Politik and Berlin Policy Journal. At the same time, he made a call that foreign policy, Germany's role in the world and the importance of Europe be more widely and more convincingly conveyed throughout German society.

© DGAP/Dirk Enters

“We need to define our role in the world more clearly," he said. If the next generation wants to be heard, then they need to speak with the voice of a united Europe. The importance of foreign policy should not only be spoken about among experts and with the country’s elite. “Sylke Tempel was outstanding in achieving this!”

In his speech Gabriel referred to current issues such as Brexit, US withdrawal from taking a leading role in international and transatlantic affairs and the recent statement by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Sylke Tempel’s insightful voice on these issues is sorely missed, he said. She was the one, who could convincingly communicate these topics. As a membership organization, the DGAP and its network and regional branches plays an important part in broadening and furthering an understanding of foreign policy.

Sylke Tempel was fatally injured on October 5, 2017 during the Xavier storm, whilst on the return journey from a background discussion with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. At the beginning of his speech Gabriel was visibly moved as he recalled the day.

He quoted Sylke Tempel, who had warned that the US withdrawal from international politics would leave a vacuum that needed to be filled by other actors soon. At the moment, China is the only country in the world that has a geo-strategic vision.

Against this background, European cooperation is especially important. Germany will gain sovereignty through Europe, not lose it. “We have to say what Europe stands for in 20 years! Unless Europe speaks with a united voice, our children will later have nothing to say about big issues facing the world.”

The battle cry of Brexiteers in Great Britain is the European version of Trump’s America. For both movements, isolation and differences, rather than similarities and values are in the foreground. Europe must find something to oppose this.

Again, he quoted Sylke Tempel, who said that the very country that saved us from falling back to reactionary times in Europe after the Second World War was itself now becoming reactionary.

Gabriel praised French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent European initiatives: “As far as Europe is concerned when it comes to initiatives, the score at the moment between Germany and France is 10-0 for France.”

Speaking about US President Trump’s widely controversial announcement that he would move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he said that this was an “extremely risky step,” that Washington made without international coordination. “We are concerned about the waning of the chances of achieving a two-state solution.”

Gabriel recalled the “Foreign Policy Manifesto”, to which Sylke Tempel had contributed only a few days before her death.

In it, together with DGAP Director Daniela Schwarzer and other experts, she put forward the position of not giving up the transatlantic relationship, especially in times of Trump.

Gabriel emphasized that dialogue with other US stakeholders - governors, mayors, civil society groups - is now gaining in importance in German foreign policy.

“Sylke Tempel's manifesto has now become a legacy,” said Gabriel.

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