Merkel Champions Democracy as Germany Marks Wall Anniversary

Iain Rogers

(Bloomberg) -- Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Europe to fight harder for its values as Germany marked 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall on Saturday.

“The values on which Europe is based -- freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, safeguarding human rights -- these are anything but self-evident,” Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, said in a speech at the wall memorial in the center of the once-divided capital.

“They must be experienced and defended anew again and again,” said the 65-year-old. “In times of far-reaching technological and global change, this is more relevant than ever.”

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schaeuble and heads of state from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic also attended the ceremony.

“The Berlin Wall is gone and that teaches us that no wall that excludes people and restricts freedom is so high or so wide that it cannot be broken through,” Merkel said.

U.S. President Donald Trump said the fate of the wall should be “a lesson to oppressive regimes and rulers everywhere.”

“The Cold War has long since passed, but tyrannical regimes around the world continue to employ the oppressive tactics of Soviet-style totalitarianism,” Trump said in a statement released by the White House.

“We will continue working with Germany, one of our most treasured allies, to ensure that the flames of freedom burn as a beacon of hope and opportunity for the entire world to see.”

(Adds Trump comments from sixth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Iain Rogers in Berlin at irogers11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Marion Dakers, James Amott

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.