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TALKING EUROPE

Joachim Bitterlich, former advisor to chancellor Helmut Kohl
Joachim Bitterlich, former advisor to chancellor Helmut Kohl FRANCE24

This week, Joachim Bitterlich, former advisor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl between 1987 and 1998, shares his memories of the Fall of the Berlin wall on the 9th of November 1989 and of all the events that followed. For Joachim Bitterlich, Germany’s reunification process is not over yet, even after 30 years: “Please, bear in mind people had been living during 40 years in a communist system, what we call a dictatorship to certain extents. And in order to get Germany really reunified, you need at least two generations.” “Today, when you talk to East Germans, more than 40% feel themselves as East Germans, not as Germans. In Western Germany, 80% feel German, not only West German.” On the European Union: "In that period (the early 1990s) we should have focused Europe on a certain number of competencies, instead of trying to do ‘ever-closer union’. I would have stuck to the old definition of Europe as a community, rather than a Union. And in a Europe of 27, 28 or more, you have to concentrate on the essentials.” Joachim Bitterlich also talks about the Franco-German relationship: “The Franco-German relationship has to remain the driving force in Europe. But I don’t see a sense of direction coming from Paris and Berlin. The relationship has become a bit superficial. They do not listen enough to each other. They should listen more before pronouncing ideas. They should reflect a bit more, and look less at communiqués and more at the real concrete problems.” “I don’t see a real compass between Paris and Berlin. Things have become a bit too superficial. They don’t listen enough to each other. They should first of all listen before pronouncing ideas. They should reflect a bit more and look less at communiqués but look at the real concrete problems.” He adds: "The Franco-German relationship should remain and has to remain the driving force in Europe. Perhaps you could add a third country, Poland in my idea, the famous triangle of Weimar. And the three are representing much more than any other tandem the North, the South, the East and the West.” Presented by: Armen Georgian Produced by: Mathilde Bénézet and Isabelle Romero

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