April 19, 2019

Baden-Württemberg – thinking ahead as a pro-European partner in the EU and beyond 

By Minister Guido Wolf, Minister of Justice and European Affairs of the State of Baden-Württemberg (Germany).

Baden-Württemberg: “A historical stroke of fortune” in the heart of Europe

Located in the German Southwest, Baden-Württemberg shares borders with the EU members France and Austria as well as with Switzerland as a non-member state. The river Rhine marks the border to France; one of the seats of the European institutions is in Strasbourg on the left bank of the river Rhine.

In 1952, the states of Württemberg-Baden, Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern merged to form a single cohesive state in Germany’s Southwest. A historical stroke of fortune – as the German President at the time, Theodor Heuss, himself a son of the region, emphasized. This was the start of a success story: Baden-Württemberg is one of the powerhouses of Germany´s and Europe´s economy.

With 11 million inhabitants, Baden-Württemberg is one of the biggest Länder in Germany. Its surface, as well as its population, is similar to the Kingdom of Belgium. Federal institutions such as the Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), excellent universities – just think of Heidelberg, Tübingen or Freiburg – but also world-leading companies such as DaimlerBoschKärcherWürth or Porsche have their seat in Baden-Württemberg.

Premier Winfried Kretschmann and Minister Guido Wolf are handing over Baden-Württemberg´s vision for the future of Europe to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. Photography FK-PH.png

Taking over an active role within the federal system of Germany and at EU-level

The Constitution of Baden-Württemberg sets the frame for its government’s pro-European policy-making. As our contribution to the debate of the future of Europe, the government of Baden-Württemberg triggered a discussion process at the end of 2017. One year later, in January 2019 the government presented Baden-Württemberg´s vision for the future of Europe.

In the German Second Chamber – the Bundesrat – the 16 German Länder contribute actively in German – and European – politics and law-making. As Chairman of the EU Committee of the Bundesrat, I am in regular contact with my colleagues from the other German Länder in order to coordinate EU politics at the regional level.

In the European Committee of the Regions, Baden-Württemberg cooperates with the regions and metropolitan areas from other EU states in order to bring the regional and local perspective into the formal decision-making process at the European level.

Baden-Württemberg is indeed very active in Brussels: As a political and administrative representation as well as a showcase for economy, science, and culture, the “Haus Baden-Württemberg” is located in the heart of the European Quarter. A few meters from the European Parliament, the Council-Secretariat, the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions and many permanent representations of EU member states and EU offices of regional and local partners from all across Europe, you can experience Baden-Württemberg in many aspects when visiting the Representation of the State to the EU. Founded in 1987 as a Liaison office the Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg moved to the current location in Rue Belliard 60-62 in 2004. Today the Representation is Baden-Württemberg´s European platform in the heart of the European Quarter in Brussels; as a guest, you can follow political discussions and presentations as well as enjoy cultural events on our premises.

From the edge of the Black Forest you have a wonderful view into the Rhine valley. On the peninsula of Mainau on Lake Constance you can visit the gardens of the House of Bernadotte, Photography by Achim Mende).png

Baden-Württemberg – Land of innovators and inventors throughout time …

Bright minds from Baden-Württemberg have changed society in the past and will do so in the future … – Robert BoschGottlieb DaimlerFriedrich Schiller, Albert Einstein and many more known and unknown inventors, scientists, artists, poets and writers contributed substantially to science and culture; their efforts changed every-day lives of millions of people. Creativity has a long tradition in our home region: Recently, discoveries from pre-historic times – such as the first flute made out of a bird-bone or artefacts figuring animals – have been made in Baden-Württemberg.

Today, few countries in the world invest as much in research and development as Baden-Württemberg. About 5% of the state’s GDP is invested in R&D, well above the average of other countries and regions. Baden-Württemberg also has one of the highest densities of universities and research institutions in Europe pursuing an extremely broad range of activities. Excellent and inquisitive minds are engaged in basic and applied research at over 100 locations, from universities  to international and national big science centers. This setting offers a wide range of challenging opportunities for young and established scientists and academics alike.

The cradle of the automobile“: Mannheim and Stuttgart. In Stuttgart, the capital of Baden-Württemberg, you can learn more about the history of the automobile in the Daimler-Museum and the Museum of Porsche. (Photos: Achim Mende)

Keeping the world mobile: SME´s and global players. Innovation and creativity.

Baden-Württemberg´s automotive industry is a mainstay for growth and wealth. More than any other industry, it stands for innovation, but also identification. Mannheim in Baden and Stuttgart in Württemberg are the cradle of the automobile. Ever since the invention of the automobile, more than 130 years ago, corporations and researchers in Baden-Württemberg have made significant contributions to the shaping of mobility. Today´s challenge is to define and implement the mobility of the future. This challenge can only be faced if all stakeholders in the region work together on new concepts. Our objective is: “Mobility of the future made in Baden-Württemberg”.

Rich in culture and traditions. Rich in nature´s treasures and attractive cities …

Minister Guido Wolf is a regular visitor in the Representation of the State of Baden-Württemberg to the EU in Brussels for meetings, discussions and events. Personal contacts to policy-makers and senior officials at the EU level are crucial with regard to Baden-Württemberg´s interests in the EU. From left to right: Minister Wolf with Commissioner Günther Oettinger; photo right: Bodo Lehmann (Head of the Representation) Martin Selmayr (Secretary-General of the European Commission) Minister Wolf, Anne Gellinek (Director of the German TV-broadcaster ZDF) and Dr Alexandra Zoller (Head of Department “EU-Affairs including the Representation and Tourism” in the Ministry of Justice and European Affairs, Stuttgart). Photo FK/PH

Delightful landscapes such as the Black Forest and the Swabian Alb area, the Neckartal Valley and Lake Constance, Hohenlohe and the Allgäu offer unforgettable impressions just waiting to be discovered. Baden-Württemberg’s mineral spas and convalescent resorts combine health, fitness and beauty with culture, art and culinary delights. To escape the daily treadmill or to improve your health, no other place in Germany has more on offer to pamper the body, the soul or the spirit than the number one spa state: Baden-Württemberg.

Baden-Württemberg´s cities and villages are rich in culture and tradition: The Stuttgart Ballet is world-class, and the State Opera in Stuttgart has been enjoying the reputation as the premier venue in the German-speaking world for many years, voted “Opera of the Year” many times in succession. Further, Stuttgart’s Staatsgalerie is famous for one of the most important Classic Modern collections. However, art and culture are not restricted to the state’s capital. The opposite is true: Baden-Württemberg is home to two state theatres, three regional theatres, nine municipal theatres, the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden and well over 100 small theatres. A wealth of drama and film festivals, music festivals, musicals, orchestras and cultural initiatives offer plenty of choice when it comes to quality entertainment. Eleven state-run and over 1,000 municipal and private museums supplement Baden-Württemberg’s rich cultural landscape.

Karlsruhe with the historic Castle of the Grand Dukes of Baden; Heidelberg the “Pearl of river Neckar”; Cas-tle of Hohenzollern at the edge of the Swabian Alb. (Photo: Achim Mende)

The Romans, the Staufen dynasty, the Allemannians, dukes and kings have all left their distinct traces on the face of our cultural heritage, for example the Limes as the Roman border wall or the Hohenzollern Castle, seat of the last German imperial dynasty. Alongside historical cities such as Heidelberg, Freiburg or Tübingen, it is the carefully tended villages and urban town centres which depict the true character of our state. A wealth of large and small castles, palaces and ruins bear witness to a rich and eventful history, a heritage which in some cases is still very much alive in our customs and traditions. One such example is the Swabian-Allemannian Fasnacht held before Lent every spring, with traditional costumes and historical wooden masks symbolizing the banishment of winter.

Different, but by no means less enjoyable, ways to spend leisure time are provided by a wide selection of parks and adventure pools, leisure centres, wildlife reserves and zoos, museums, working mills and mines, as well as monuments and memorials.

For further information:

Government of Baden-Württemberg: https://www.baden-wuerttemberg.de/en/home/

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