DIJON: “Europe concerns us all”, according to Hendrik Hering

The authorities of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Rhineland-Palatinate and Dijon celebrated Franco-German friendship on June 11, rue Buffon. “We absolutely have to defend Europe,” declared the president of the Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate before toasting, mug of beer in hand.

The year 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of cooperation between Burgundy (from Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) and Rhineland-Palatinate as well as the 30th anniversary of the House of Rhineland-Palatinate in Dijon.

On the occasion of the event “What is the rue Buffon ?“(“What is rue Buffon?”), the political authorities of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Rhineland-Palatinate and Dijon met on June 11, 2022 to celebrate these two anniversaries in the midst of many guests. in the gardens of the Rhineland-Palatinate House as well as in the adjoining street.

Connecting the inhabitants of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Rhineland-Palatinate

Each territory has cross-representation to strengthen the bonds of Franco-German friendship and promote cooperation in the fields of culture, economy, tourism, education and youth.

These Houses thus facilitate contact between the inhabitants of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Rhineland-Palatinate and constitute a meeting point for the various actors of these territories.

The House of Rhineland-Palatinate in Dijon is administered in an associative form. It is directed by Bernhard Schaupp, who succeeded Till Meyer, and chaired by Hendrick Hering (SPD), president of the Landtag (the parliamentary assembly of the federal state).

“Countering anti-democratic forces”

In the gardens of the House, Hendrik Hering said he was delighted to find “friends” and “convinced Europeans” before praising the cultural and linguistic program offered by the association.

“In future, we need citizens’ dialogues even more so that we feel not just like Frenchmen or Germans, but like Europeans,” he said.

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“Europe concerns us all”, continued the President of the Landtag, “it is the way in which we want to live together”. “We want a Europe in which we can have our say, (…) move and develop freely and, finally, a Europe marked by unity and diversity”.

As war rages in Ukraine and illiberal forces rule states in the European Union, the German Social Democrat’s words take on a political twist: “We need joie de vivre and optimism to counter anti-democratic forces that only spread fear and insecurity. We absolutely have to defend Europe”.

Climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic, the problem of purchasing power, the war in Ukraine… Hendrik Hering encouraged us to “show courage and creativity” to meet our challenges at European Union level.

“Hold on to democracy”

Taking the floor in turn, François Rebsamen (PS, Progressive Federation), mayor of Dijon, welcomed the “beautiful idea” of pairing Dijon and Mainz then Burgundy and Rhineland-Palatinate.

“This friendship is the one that allows us to live together and carry the same values,” added the mayor of Dijon. “Values ​​of tolerance, a certain idea of ​​humanity and democracy, which we want to maintain for Europe. In these troubled times to fight against populism, defeatism, let’s cling to democracy, this is what guarantees us tomorrow to avoid pseudo saviors and populists. Long live Franco-German friendship and, above all, long live Europe.”

Integrating a region of Ukraine into the Franco-German partnership

Minister-President of the Land of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer (SPD) greeted “the French friends” by insisting on reconciliation and youth. She highlighted the hundred or so school exchanges between students from the two territories as well as the Erasmus system and its extension to vocational training.

Like the other speakers, the representative of the Land indicated that she would like a region of Ukraine to be integrated into the partnership henceforth associating Burgundy-Franche-Comté and Rhineland-Palatinate with the regions of Central Bohemia (Czech Republic) and Opole (Poland).

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The German Social Democrat ended her speech on the challenge of climate change.

Apply the Franco-German dialogue on energy

For her part, Marie-Guite Dufay (PS), president of the Burgundy-Franche-Comté regional council insisted on “the Franco-German friendship which has done Europe good from the 1950s”.

The socialist wished that “we apply the Franco-German dialogue” on the subject of energy, “the most important question to be settled today in our societies”.

The House of Rhineland-Palatinate stimulates the Franco-German partnership

Consul General in Lyon, thus representing the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, Thomas Proebstl, hailed the “extraordinary” way in which the House of Rhineland-Palatinate stimulates the partnership between the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region and the federated state .

Having received the heavy task of keeping the audience’s attention after already an hour of speech, Thomas Proebstl himself delivered the remarks in both languages, punctuating with strokes of humour.

The consul general recalled the involvement of the federal state alongside the Land in supporting the House since its director is also honorary consul of Germany.

The Strassenfest from rue Buffon

Adopting the motto “short speech, long sausage” – this in order to enjoy longer the dishes waiting at the level of the rotisserie installed in the rue Buffon – the speaker ended his speech at the very moment when the cork popped in the distance a bottle of sparkling wine, recalling the importance of gastronomy in Franco-German cultural exchanges.

In the aftermath, the various personalities joined the rue Buffon for the drilling of a barrel of beer before toasting the two anniversaries thus celebrated this day.

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While rue Buffon had already gone into fashion Strassenfest (“street party”) everyone was then able to move towards sausages and cakes to continue the evening in a friendly atmosphere.

Jean-Christophe Tardivon

“Nothing is more precious than Franco-German friendship,” says Marie-Guite Dufay, President of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region