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Federal President Johannes Rau Calls for a Globalization Policy (May 13, 2002)

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Let me say it again: many people associate the word "globalization" with fear and anxiety. We can seize the opportunity afforded by globalization if we do not accept it as fate, but recognize it and take it seriously as a political task.

– Globalization will be an opportunity if we orient ourselves to the principle of the freedom and equality of all.

– Globalization will be an opportunity if people from different civilizations respect each other.

– For us in Germany, globalization will be an opportunity if we improve our education system for all, if we do something for everyone, the highly gifted as well as those who have difficul¬ties, if we promote science and languages as well as art and music.

– Globalization will be an opportunity for us if we manage to make our taxation system simpler, fairer and more transparent. Modern tax policy must not turn into a race to cut taxes – neither between parties nor between states.

– Globalization will be an opportunity for us if our social systems are strengthened, if they embody solidarity and are organized more efficiently.

– Globalization will be an opportunity for us if we make public administration more efficient and take it closer to the citizens, because we know the value of public institutions.

– Globalization will be an opportunity for us if we know where our home and our roots are. Then we will also be able to integrate foreigners and manage immigration.

Whether we will be successful depends on whether we confine losers to the sidelines or whether we give everyone the chance to make something of their lives. If people feel cut off, if they feel that globalization is proceeding without them or even against them, then they will become opponents of globalization and also opponents of democracy and the rule of law.

Globalization presents us with a challenge. We must and can give it political shape. That demands a great deal, but no more than we can give. We have learnt that government cannot work miracles. Similarly, we should not forget that the market, notwithstanding all its achievements, is not a panacea for all ills.

Globalization will be a success if dynamic market forces are steered on a favorable course. People all over the world must see that they are at the heart of things. They must be able to appreciate that politics and business are run for the good of the people. We must now discover this anew.

Source of English translation: Berlin Speech by Federal President Johannes Rau in the Communication Museum, Berlin on May 13, 2002, “Opportunity, not Fate – Giving Globalization Political Shape.”

Source of original German speech: Johannes Rau, “Chance nicht Schicksal – Die Globalisierung politisch gestalten,” Bulletin [Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung] no. 39, May 13, 2002.

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