Main Speech Angela Merkel

It is truly a great honour for me standing here tonight in Potsdam, meeting a lot of old friends, most of whom I know for many years. All of you, who participate in this gathering of the big media family, are working in the media, with considerable success. All of you added something to the spirit the branch has preserved over the years. A spirit, one could immediately feel during the work sessions this afternoon. Although a tradition, it is this spirit that drives us to put new talent and energy in our daily work, which causes the European Media being one of the most acclaimed in the world. Keeping up to this high standards, the city of Potsdam is the perfect venue and host city for this meeting. Not only the lovely surroundings, houses and gardens of the historic part of town give us a comfortable feeling; Potsdam is now situated in the core of the growing house of Europe, which marks it as a centrepiece and cradle of European virtues and values.

This afternoon, we have discussed chances and perspectives for the media in Europe. We discussed the media pattern and structure, growth strategies and future markets. I am sure there was valuable information to everybody attending the sessions. It is absolutely clear that the goals of the Lisbon Strategy can only be achieved with the help of the media. European media can set the agenda and is able to make the progress visible.What we learned in the afternoon sessions is the important role of the media and the process of cultural landscapes in Europe: Gutenberg – movable letters, Encyclopedy of Diderot, Big success of publication in the 18th century, Potsdam, Voltaire, Les siècle de Lumière . to the incredible quality of newspapers and magazines in Europe.

But in all my discussions, commissioner Verheugen, I know your influence in Brussels is strong, so for whenever you think back of these wonderful days in Potsdam, remember that you cannot ensure the quality of the press when the newspapers have only 12 pages, magazines not more than 50 pages. Good editors cost money and a publisher needs it from both sides: from distribution and advertising. So remember when you talk to your colleague Cipriano, that the consumer is often much more advanced than Brussels is believing. Think how blogging has had its strong impact on the French election on the European Constitution, and think how the search engines (Google, for instance) deliver often more substance and content (health, for instance). There is a tendency for regulation and domi nating the consumer habits, but with these new skills the consumer has even more possibilities.

But thinking of the media in Europe, we have to be aware that besides newspapers and magazines,with satellite and digital receivers an average European can get more than a 100 different TV channels, not speaking of millions of websites. Along with the semantic came the iconic turn as both sides of the same medal: text and image -Wort und Bild. And we have to use the power of images, symbols and events. Here, commissioner, we can help to produce new ideas. One of the only real new media products is the European Champions League, which has created an enormous European identity of the European cities like Manchester, Liverpool, Milan, Valencia, Porto or Munich in the heads of our children.This is good, but it is not enough to enhance the wonderful idea of Europe into the minds of citizens. I spoke of the power of the images and symbols and where else than in architecture can we find this through all the centuries from Vitruv to Paladio, from Fischer von Erlach to Christoph Wren, from the Weimarer Bauhaus to Norman Foster. It is a great honour for me, that at this Potsdam conference, we bestow this first Sanssouci Award to a man who is one of the greatest minds of our time: Lord Norman Foster. Can I ask Lord Foster to come to the podium, while Prof. Vossenkuhl reads his citation. I know confer the M100 Sanssouci Award on you, Lord Foster. Ladies and gentleman, I wish you a pleasant evening and fruitful discussions. Thank you.