Thursday, September 17, 2015

Meeting of the German-Speaking Heads of States

Photo: Roland Korner
The German-speaking heads of states had their annual informal meeting in Vaduz today. German-speaking in the case doesn't man that one can speak Germany - sorry, Willem-Alexander, you are out - or that you have a German-speaking minority in your country - sorry, Margrethe, you are out, too - but that German is (one of) the official language(s) in your country. Those six countries are Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Photo: IKR
And so Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie hosted German President Joachim Gauck and his partner, Austrian President Heinz Fischer and his wife, Swiss President Simonetta Sommeruga, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians as well as Grand Duke Henri in Vaduz today. No word why the Grand Duchess wasn't present for the event, which she also missed last year

This year was the second time the heads of states of Luxembourg and Belgium joined the meeting as previously only the heads of state of the countries where German is spoken as the primary language by the majority of the population met. Topics discussed included the digital revolution of the economy and its consequences for the different nations as well as the current political situation, most importantly the refugee crisis. Hereditary Prince Alois announced that he will advocate for Liechtenstein to join the European Union's proposed relocation mechanism.

Photo: IKR
While the official meeting of the heads of states took place, their partners paid a visit to the carpenters' workshop Frommelt in Schaan, who are known to build especially energy-efficient houses. Hereditary Princess Sophie, Queen Mathilde, Daniela Schadt and Margit Fischer also visited the association Neues Lernen (new learning) in Vaduz. They are currently developing special language courses for refugees that will help them to learn everyday German more easily.

After a joined luncheon at Schloss Vaduz, the heads of states and their partners visited the new part of the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein as well as Schatzkammer treasury, where they saw the sparkly Ducal Hat. In addition, they also met members of Liechtenstein's government and parliament afterwards.

Photo: La monarchie belge
In a press release Hereditary Prince Alois stated, "I would like to thank everyone who have made this successful meeting possible. For a small state like Liechtenstein good contacts and close relations with the nations who took part in this meeting a vitally important. This meetings have a special appeal. They bring together the heads of states of countries that are close to each other in many ways but are quite different at the same time when looking at their sizes, form of government and integration in Europe. Not least because of an exchange of opinion about the current political situation I value these meetings a lot."

Next year's meeting will take place in Belgium for the first time.

More pictures of the day at Vaterland, Volksblatt, Belga and EPA, for example. A video at 1 FL TV.

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