Interview with H.E. Minister Lucia Puttrich, Minister of European and Federal Affairs and Representative of the State of Hessen at the Federal Government of Germany, conducted by U.S Europe World Affairs Editor in Chief.
Your Excellency thank you very much indeed for accepting this interview.
Q: You had an official visit at the end of August to U.S Army Center Europe. Please tell about us your general impression of the US Army in Germany, especially in regard with a great relations between die Bundeswehr and U.S Armed Forces.
H.E. Minister Lucia Puttrich: My visit to the US-Army Europe headquarters in Wiesbaden was very interesting. We, as state government, have a close and trusting relationship to the US armed forces in Hessen. This is certainly due to a long history. We, as Germans, are very grateful to the USA that we were given the chance to rebuild our country according to democratic principles after the Second World War. For this, important decisions were made in Hessen. In 1948, the Hessian Constitution was signed at the Headquarter of the US armed forces and on July 1, 1948, the eleven West-German Minister-Presidents were given the mandate to prepare a German constitution.
The good cooperation, including in the civil-military area, is highly important for the safety of our citizens, especially in the face of present threats and challenges. Meeting Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges and his team convinced me of this [necessity]. Speaking about the good relationship between the Bundeswehr and the US Army here in Europe, it is of course remarkable that a Bundeswehr-General serves as chief of staff here in Wiesbaden. This is not self-understood but a strong sign for the importance of the German-American cooperation in this area.
Q: How the American presence in the South is received and welcomed by the local community.
H.E. Minister Lucia Puttrich: We, the people of Hessen, are open-minded and good hosts. We make sure that the soldiers, the civil employees and their families feel at ease here. Moving the European headquarters of the US army from Heidelberg to Wiesbaden is a sign for the good relations between the USA and Hessen. This was a groundbreaking decision of the US army with a highly symbolic character. The people of Wiesbaden and the people in the region have gained new neighbors with the relocation. We want to maintain the same close and good relationship we are presently enjoying. The people of Hessen have a strong welcoming culture.
Q: What are the outcomes/benefit of this friendship between your government and great community in the south with the Americans.
H.E. Minister Lucia Puttrich: The German-American friendship also has a positive influence on the civil-military cooperation – not only with the US armed forces but also with the local command of the Bundeswehr. The trusting cooperation and the continuous exchange of information between the State Government, the ministry of the interior and the respective armed forces is remarkable.
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Image: U.S. Army Europe headquarters welcomed Minister Lucia Puttrich, the Hessian Minister for European and Federal Affairs, who met with Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, Commander of Army Europe, and his staff. August 24, 2015 Wiesbaden, Germany ©U.S Army
References: Strong Europe, German-US Military partnerships
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