Lord Speaker addresses German Chancellor

27 February 2014

Closing Speech by the Lord Speaker
Address to Parliament by Chancellor Angela Merkel
Thursday 27 February 2014

'It is my privilege, as Lord Speaker, to thank you for your address to us today. This room, the Royal Gallery, is a big space – not easily filled, and so not often used for occasions such as this.

But you Dr Merkel have filled it, both physically in terms of your audience, and meta-physically in terms of the importance of what you have said to us this afternoon.

The history of our two nations has always been intertwined. After all, the English amongst us today are the descendants of the Anglo-Saxon tribes which colonised post-Roman Britain.

And this great room is full of visual reminders of more recent involvement. In 2014 we remember the accession to the throne of Great Britain, of George, Elector of Hanover – 300 years ago. All the monarchs whose portraits hang here are his direct descendants.

And to our right we have Blűcher and his Prussians coming to assist – some would say carry the day for – the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815: an alliance which was to shift the balance of power in Europe decisively for the rest of the nineteenth century.

But more recently it is within the context of the European Union that the synergies between our two countries have been exercised – in trade, in foreign policy and in defence. And, as you have touched on in your speech, given the upheavals on our borders and the uncertainties of economic recovery we need that cooperation today more than ever.

Our inter-parliamentary contacts are strong – our parliamentary cooperation groups are active and the Speakers and senior officials of our parliaments meet regularly in the usual inter-parliamentary fora. I am happy to say that they invariably see eye to eye! Indeed in June, we look forward to a visit from the Bundestag Choir for a joint performance of the Lobgesang with our own Parliament Choir.

Liebe Frau Bundeskanzlerin, liebe Kollegin, ich möchte mich bei Ihnen bedanken, daß Sie heute das Parlament in Ihrem hektischen Programm eingeschlossen haben. Wir hoffen, daß Sie dieses Ereignis in gute Erinnerung behalten werden!'

[Bundeskanzlerin, dear colleague, thank you for including a visit to Parliament in your hectic programme. We hope you will always have happy memories of this occasion.]

Image: House of Lords 2014 / Photography by Roger Harris

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