News from Berlin

Celebrating 65 Years of German Constitution

May 26th, 2014
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News from Berlin - On Sunday, May, 23rd, the Federal Republic of Germany celebrated the 65th anniversary of its Grundgesetz, or “basic law”. On that occasion, the German President Joachim Gauck and the German-Iranian writer Navid Kermani made powerful speeches at the German Bundestag, calling on Germans to rediscover their constitution, its meaning and implications.

Praising the role of the actual Constitution in the building of a strong and sustainable German democracy, both the German President Gauck and Kermani said, echoing each other, that ‘this Germany is the best Germany that has ever existed’.

President Gauck and Navid Kermani indeed both highlighted the success of the Grundgesetz in enshrining universal democratic values of tolerance, mutual respect and cultural openness, essential in rebuilding Germany after WWII to become one of Europe’s leading democratic engines. The Grundgesetz has enabled the formation of a democratic country that encourages relevant social, political and cultural debates, in which criticism can be openly voiced in a constructive dialogue. German President Gauck stressed the Grundgesetz' role as a "guideline" for political actions towards co-existence, which create a new sense of German identity in diversity.

Accordingly, these speeches also decreased the tensions around the current immigration debate in Germany. The constitution’s guarantee of personal freedoms has largely contributed to Germany becoming the second-most popular country for immigrants in the industrialized world; however the rewriting of the Article 16 on asylum casts a shadow, as it de facto abandoned the right to asylum amidst the debate on immigration.

Those celebrations thus acknowledged the Constitution as successful framework for democratic values of freedom, preventing parallel societies from emerging while increasing awareness on the need to balance the political imperatives regarding immigration with universal democratic values. News from Berlin - Berlin Global.