“Why do Germany and France celebrate their special relationship in Uganda?
Why do Stefanie and I believe that this is more than a bilateral affair of two neighbors?
Neighbors whose history has pitted them against each other for centuries before they finally understood that more benefits were to be gained from peace than from war?
We celebrate in Kampala because Europe’s development is important for Uganda’s development. Because Europe must quickly re-ascertain its place in the world. A world without clear leadership, a world with multiple power centers, a world facing unprecedented challenges from overpopulation, climate change and the need to master digitalization, to avoid that it is mastering us.
Germany and France are at the heart of an old continent that needs to renew itself if it wants to matter in the future. A continent which can only matter if Europeans stand united. And they will not stand united unless France and Germany stand united.
Uganda, despite all her important steps towards modernization, towards a better life for her citizens, needs to be able to count on Europe. Not merely in development in the classical sense, that would be too narrow a perspective. But in full partnership between grown-up players, which, on the European side, come in two different shapes: as individual nations – France, Germany and all the others will, after all, continue to exist – and as the European Union, representing the one and only continent Africa enjoys a special relation with.
If Europe wants to continue to matter, a restart is required. Some would even say: a reset. Noises to this end from Paris and Berlin are loud and clear. First, President Macron made a far-reaching speech on Europe at Sorbonne University last September. In the past days, Chancellor Merkel endorsed most of his proposals. Hence, we may expect major initiatives during 2018 coming out of Berlin and Paris simultaneously, asking fellow Europeans to join in. Maybe, dear Ugandan friends, one or two of the new Franco-German ideas will be of interest to you, while you are reflecting on making your relations with your East African neighbors more special. Cross-border pipelines of good vibrations? Who knows…
Stefanie and I were part of a trip to Karamoja, organized six weeks ago by our friend Attilio, the Ambassador of the European Union. “ ( ….. Introductory words for Elysée Award Ceremony)….