Center for Strategic Decision Research


Invitation to the Berlin Air Show

Mr. Hans-Joachim Gante
President, BDLI (German Aerospace Industries Association)

Mr. Hans-Joachim Gante
"...Following the expansion of the EU and NATO, [we must] strengthen partnership with the new member states and, above all, with Russia."

As a partner of the International Workshop and an organizer of the ILA2004 Berlin Air Show, I would like to cordially invite you to visit our aerospace exhibition, which will be formally opened on May 10 by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. 

I am certain that once again this year’s ILA will be an exhibition of superlatives. The mood at the 2004 Berlin Air Show will be shaped by European integration. It is a very moving experience to witness the culmination of a process that became unstoppable when the Berlin Wall came down fourteen-and-a-half years ago. 

Speaking as a German with a sense of history, I am well aware that the only correct response of all German governments since 1989 was to view German unity simply as an interim stage on the road to the more important European unification. For political reasons and because we feel enormous gratitude to our neighbors, we Germans had to act as the driving force behind the expansion of the old EU. The German government’s activities in this respect were firmly backed up by the German business sector, including the German aerospace industry. 

Let me now turn from the historical dimension of this Berlin Air Show to the concrete challenges facing our two alliances, NATO and the EU: 

Over the next few years, we Europeans will have to be ready to shoulder a greater responsibility for global security. This means that we must work closer together so that, for example, our resources can be used more efficiently in military research and future weapons projects. The 2004 Berlin Air Show will be showcasing many examples of successful European developments, which in the military sector include the Eurofighter along with the Tiger and NH90 helicopters, as well as the joint guided missile programs. 

I believe that one especially important task, following the expansion of the EU and NATO, is to strengthen partnership with the new member states and, above all, with Russia. Through our cooperation with Russian companies and institutions, we in the aerospace industry intend to act as economic and technological lynchpins. In our sector, some 20 joint activities large and small are currently underway— and the Berlin Air Show is one of the most important platforms for this. 

In the other direction across the Atlantic, the friendship between Europe and the United States must be more intensively cultivated again. We are united by the Western community of values, which the U.S. has always staunchly upheld, especially in Europe. The United States also helped us in our own region in Yugoslavia, and even shouldered the main burden. Moreover, transatlantic cooperation projects such as the Euro Hawk UAV program and the MEADS air defense system will be major elements of the 2004 Berlin Air Show. 

We can counter the new asymmetrical threat now facing many states with a range of skills offered by our aerospace industry. We have the right expertise in reconnaissance and communication, in pinpointing targets and reaction, as well as the means of transport needed for rapid troop deployment—as you will be shown at the 2004 Berlin Air Show. 

Over the past three days we have discussed many aspects of security in great depth. I can hence heartily recommend you to visit the Berlin Air Show tomorrow to take in the fascination of aerospace. Flying is something that captivates mankind on a very emotional level. 

You’ll be able to see more than 300 aircraft and helicopters on a large static display. Moreover, a whole range of aircraft can be observed in the air during a flight display. Almost all the major players in the aerospace industry are represented at the Berlin Air Show. 

I hope very much to be able to welcome you all at the Berlin Air Show—the aerospace industry’s international exhibition. 





















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