The Peace Bench, opened by EU leaders at the Menin Gate, Ypres, in June 2014

German President warns of Europe's challenges in First World War Centenary year

Posted on on 07 July 2014
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The German President, Joachim Gauck, has urged Europe to 'stand up with self-confidence for all that unites us' in a speech marking the Centenary of the First World War.

Reflecting on the lessons of the war, Mr Gauck highlighted a warning against 'excessive nationalism' given by the German artist and soldier, Franz Marc, who was killed at the Battle of Verdun in 1916.

Marc had identified 'the love of all things European' as the answer to what he called this 'invisible enemy of the European spirit,' President Gauck told a commemorative event in Berlin.

Germany's head-of-state urged the European Union to defend its achievements in providing a shared home for all of its inhabitants based on foundations of respect for human rights and an unqualified regard for the rule of law.  

President Gauck hosted international historians for a day of discussion at his official residence, Schloss Bellevue, on 27th June 2014, the eve of the 100th anniversary of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination.

A century on from the First World War, Mr Gauck said 'a return to the nation state in its classical form' was not the answer Europe needed to globalisation and other challenges.

To read the full speech, click here.

Source: German Federal President's Office, Berlin

Images: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News