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60 years of transatlantic friendship

Atlantik-Brücke is celebrating its 60th anniversary. The Federal Chancellor paid tribute to the organisation in a speech held at Berlin's Deutsches Historisches Museum.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel took part in the official celebration of the 60th anniversary of Atlantik-Brücke Federal Chancellor Merkel and former Chancellor Schmidt at the Atlantik-Brücke anniversary celebration Photo: Bundesregierung/Eckel

Since its foundation in Hamburg in 1952, the organisation has been committed to German-American friendship. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised the importance of Atlantik-Brücke for the German-American partnership in the age of globalisation. 

She stressed that trust remains the foundation of a political and economic partnership that is a strong pillar of our prosperity and our security. "We need each other", said Merkel, who is herself a member of Atlantik-Brücke. "If we wish to assert our values and interests, we must work together." 

The Federal Chancellor also mentioned a few challenges that face the transatlantic partnership:

- the stabilisation and economic development of Afghanistan

- a diplomatic solution to the conflict surrounding the Iranian nuclear program

- improved burden-sharing, which means that the EU should take on more security policy responsibilities

- closer integration of European and Atlantic structures

Merkel called for an enhanced economic partnership between the US and Europe as well as a transatlantic free trade agreement. Only by working closely together in the context of globalisation can Americans and Europeans assert their common values and interests, she said.

Former Chancellor Schmidt receives Eric M. Warburg Prize

During the ceremony, former Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was awarded the German-American network's Eric M. Warburg Prize. The prize was named after a German-American banker of Jewish descent who rendered outstanding services to relations between both countries. With the Eric M. Warburg prize, Atlantik-Brücke honours personalities who contribute to securing and strengthening Germany's place within the Atlantic community.

A dynamic partnership

In her speech, Merkel said that Helmut Schmidt had always "lived and breathed life into" the partnership. In his acceptance speech, the former Chancellor emphasised that today's European Union would not exist if it hadn't been for the United States' resolute action. He called for more European integration, a difficult task that Europeans will only be able to fulfill by working with their hearts.

"Either we carry on with our financial crisis and struggle as individual states with our national fates, our national advantages and disadvantages, with dwindling prospects of success, or we return to the concept of a progressive European network", Schmidt agued.

Jul 03, 2012