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October 23, 2021

‘German companies remain loyal to Romania’

Interview with H.E. Mr. ANDREAS VON METTENHEIM, the German Ambassador to Romania.

The German National Holiday of Unification is on October 3. Last year you celebrated on 1, why do you celebrate this year on October 5th?

Well, we asked ourselves where this was going to lead. The reason is simple. We have a guest of honour who has to celebrate the 3rd October in Germany, because he is the Prime Minister of Baden-Wurttemberg. He is kindly willing to celebrate a second time with us in Bucharest, because a considerable number of Germans from Romania live in his “Land”, because Baden-Wurttemberg has a lot to offer and because celebrating twice is always a good thing. In 2020, however, we will touch down on 3rd October exactly.

What is on the political agenda at this very moment?

Foreign Minister Baconschi will pay an official visit to Berlin. This is on the very 5th of October when we celebrate in Bucharest. This shows that we Germans are not always so well organised. We shall miss him on that day in Bucharest. But I have to admit that his discussions with Foreign Minister Westerwelle which will touch on all relevant foreign policy topics related to our two countries are far more important.

What is the motto of this year’s celebration?

It is all about the economic and technological potentials of ‘’going green’’, a political priority of my government. For example, Germany this year took the decision to fully replace nuclear energy by renewable energies by the year 2020. We are investing heavily in alternative technologies, and we’d like to show what we have in store. We hope to be able to put on display an electric car, if this does not work we’ll have at least electric bikes.

Some people say that Germany’s relationship with Romania is largely dominated by trade and investment. Is that true?

It is true in the sense that we are some kind of champion in both fields. But economy is – like money -not everything in the world. Though like money it helps occasionally.

Besides, from my experience with German companies in Romania I can tell that the closing down of Nokia won’t have a snowball effect. German companies remain loyal to this country where they invest with a long term perspective.

What else to say on the relationship?

We constantly look for win-win-situations. And there are, be it in education, in European integration, in the Danube strategy and in many other fields.

And there are emotions, which we do not have to fabricate but which are simply there. Every German who takes a closer look at this country cannot but fall in love with it. Constantin Noica has called it ‘’reciprocal inspiration of similar minds’’ and it is aptly proven by the more than 800 years of mutually enriching presence of the German minority.

You didn’t mention Schengen.

Looking for a feasible compromise is an attitude which is common to both our people and its politicians. That is why we shall solve the Schengen Problem together by trying to bring about a solution as soon as possible.

What was your most striking experience in Romania in the last 12 months?

The visit of Germany’s Chancellor, Mrs. Angela Merkel to Bucharest and to Cluj, where  it was mentioned to me that her visit was the most important one since the visit of Emperor Franz-Joseph in 1887, listening to the Staatskapelle Berlin conducted by Daniel Barenboim at a world class festival, a ride on the Mocanita through the Wassertal (Valea Vaserului), participating at the annual meeting of the Transylvanian Saxons in Kronstadt which is catching up with Oktoberfest dimensions and many inspiring encounters with Romanians of (nearly) all walks of life.

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