Germany Official Visit Arrival Ceremony

Ladies and gentleman,
the National Anthem of the Federal Republic of Germany
followed by the National Anthem of the United States. ♪♪ (Das Lied der Deutschen) ♪♪ ♪♪ (The Star-Spangled Banner) ♪♪ ♪♪ (march) ♪♪ ♪♪ (drum and bugle corps) ♪♪ President Obama:
Good morning, everybody. Audience:
Good morning. President Obama:
Chancellor Merkel, members of
the German delegation — on behalf of Michelle and myself,
it is our great pleasure to welcome you back
to the White House. And on behalf of
the American people, it is our great honor to welcome
you back to the United States. (applause) (translated in German) Today marks the first official
visit and State Dinner for a European leader
during my presidency. It’s only fitting. The transatlantic alliance
is the cornerstone — is the heart — of our efforts to promote
peace and prosperity around the world. And Germany — at the heart
of Europe — is one of our strongest allies. And Chancellor Merkel is one
of my closest global partners. (translated in German) Our alliance, at its core, is a
partnership between our peoples. The generations of German
Americans who helped build a strong America. The Americans who,
during a long Cold War, helped to defend a free Germany. And citizens of both our
countries — entrepreneurs, innovators, students, scientists,
and soldiers — who work together, and forge the future, every day. (translated in German) At a time when some have asked
whether the rise of new global powers means the
decline of others, this visit reaffirms
an enduring truth. Our alliances with nations
like Germany are more important than ever. Indeed, they’re indispensable to
global security and prosperity. (translated in German) As two of the largest and
most dynamic economies, the United States and Germany
can show that the prosperity we seek is best achieved when
nations invest in our greatest resource — our people and their
ability to compete and innovate in the 21st century. (translated in German) As members of the most
successful alliance in human history, our commitment to our
common defense is also a pillar of global security, from
completing our mission in Afghanistan to preventing
terrorist attacks to achieving our vision of a world
without nuclear weapons. (translated in German) And finally, as people around
the world imagine a different future, the story of Germany
and our alliance in the 20th century shows what’s
possible in the 21st. Wars can end. Adversaries can become allies. Walls can come down. At long last, nations can
be whole and can be free. (translated in German) Madam Chancellor, the arc of
our lives speaks to this spirit. It’s obvious that neither of us
looks exactly like the leaders who preceded us. (laughter and applause) But the fact that we can stand
here today as President of the United States and as Chancellor of
a united Germany is a testament to the progress, the freedom,
that is possible in our world. (translated in German) Chancellor Merkel, to the
members of the German delegation — we are honored to have
all of you here — as allies, as partners, but most
of all, as dear friends. So, herzlich willkommen. (applause) (translated in German) Chancellor Merkel:
(speaking in German) (as translated)
Mr. President, dear Barack, dear
Michelle, Mr. Vice President, members of both Cabinets, guests
of honor, my fellow countrymen, ladies and gentlemen — thank
you very much for this very warm and very moving reception
that is overwhelming. I am indeed delighted — and I
say this on behalf of all of the members of my delegation — to
be back in Washington, D.C., again. (speaking in German) (as translated)
About 20 months ago — and this
was almost 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall — I had
the great honor and privilege to address both houses of
Congress, a wonderful moment. And I’m certain this day
today shall be another such unforgettable moment. (speaking in German) (as translated)
Mr. President, receiving the
Presidential Medal of Freedom from you tonight is something
that I consider to be not only an exceptionally gracious
gesture of appreciation, and I see this as a gesture of
appreciation for the whole of this united Germany. It is also a
testimony of the very, very close ties that bind
our two countries together. (speaking in German) (as translated)
We Germans know that America has
always been a true friend to us. Our friendship has grown and
matured throughout the decades, and every day it is
filled with new life. More than 600,000 Americans are
working for German companies here in the United States, and
the reverse is also true — more than 600,000 Germans work for
American companies in Germany. There are many and diverse
exchange programs at schools and universities, and they
help us to win over numerous young people to serve as
bridge builders between our two countries. Seventeen million members of
the Armed Forces of the United States — and their families —
have lived in Germany ever since the Second World War. And they have served their
country with honor and distinction and rendered an
inestimable service to their country and to us. The more than 50,000 American
soldiers who are currently stationed in Germany are
more than welcome every day. (speaking in German) (as translated)
I could mention many more
examples of the close ties that bind our two countries together,
but let me underline one thing in particular. When Germany and Europe were
divided by the war and barbed wire, America consistently stood
on the side of freedom and resolutely stood by us Germans
as we made our way towards unity and freedom, and this
we shall never forget. (applause) (speaking in German) (as translated)
Today, we are just as closely
linked to each other by the bonds of friendship as we
were those 20 years ago. We are standing on
a firm foundation, and standing and supported by
this firm foundation we tackle the current challenges
we both face. Germany and the United
States are partners, sharing responsibility for a
peaceful and stable Afghanistan. We are pulling in the same
direction trying to keep Iran from following its course
of developing a nuclear forces capability. In North Africa, we support
the struggle for freedom. And in the Middle East, we
support efforts to fill the peace process with new life. Together, we mastered the
aftershock of the global economic and financial crisis. Yes, Germany and the United
States do share the same values — democracy and
freedom, rule of law, and the universality
of human rights. (speaking in German) (as translated)
And it is for this very reason
that a close partnership with the United States is just
as much part and parcel of Germany’s raison d’être as
is European integration. Both belong together. Both are and remain the pillars
of German foreign policy. (speaking English)
Mr. President, dear
Barack, in Berlin in 2008, you spoke to more
than 200,000 people. And in your address, you said
America has no better partner than Europe. And now it’s my turn to say
Europe and Germany have no better partner than America. Thank you. (applause)

Michael Martin

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