Danke les

Monday, December 25, 2006

Hans-Dietrich Genscher (Reunification efforts)

He is mostly respected for his efforts that helped end the Cold War, to lead to German reunification, when, in eastern Europe, the communist government toppled; for example, he visited Poland to meet Lech Wałęsa as early as 1988. One event remembered by many is his September 30, 1989 speech from the balcony of the German embassy in Prague, in whose court yard thousands of East German citizens had assembled to flee to the west, when he announced that he had reached an agreement with the communist government that the refugees could leave: "We have come to you to tell you that today, your departure ..." (German: "Wir sind zu Ihnen gekommen, um Ihnen mitzuteilen, daß heute Ihre Ausreise ..."). After these words, the speech drowned in cheers.

Genscher was also an active participant in the further development of the European Union, taking active part in the Single European Act Treaty negotiations in the mid 1980s, as well as the joint publication of the Genscher-Colombo plan with Italian Prime Minister Colombo