“I am proud that the German-speaking Community is considered a bridge between Belgium and Germany,” the Prime Minister of the Community, Oliver Paasch, said on Wednesday at the end of an official visit by the royal couple to Germany’s Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt regions.
Paasch was the first German-speaking Prime Minister to carry out, singlehandedly, the political coverage of a royal mission. This is because his community is the only entity that has already formed a Government, and also because of the good contact maintained with Germany, according to Paasch.
“King Philip has often insisted on the bridge that the German-speaking Community constitutes between Belgium and the other German-speaking countries in Europe,” Paasch stressed. “He also sees in this role of mediator, an added value for the whole of Belgium. This is praise for which the German-speaking community can be proud at this, the hundredth anniversary of its attachment to Belgium.”
Paasch placed the spotlight, in particular, on his meeting with his counterparts from Thuringia and Saxony-Aanhalt, and his encounter with representatives of the cultural and economic world. “We’ve been working together for a long time, especially in education, and we’ve been able to reinforce the contact,” he said.
This official visit was also moving for the royal couple, who have their roots in Gotha. The delegation was marked by a visit to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where 4,200 Belgians were deported between 1940 and 1945. Over 500 of them died.
“We know the figures, but seeming the images, hearing the stories, that greatly touched us,” Paasch said.