• Posted on : February 1, 2019
  • Posted by : Welt

This morning Die Welt led with our letter to German friends. We thought we should share the English translation: 
Dear German Friends,
Thank you sincerely for your letter, published in The Times of London (18 January). It was a funny and touching reminder of all that we share. It moved many people we know. 
Your words are a reminder that for many Europeans, the EU is not about quotas, directives, rebates and control, but something more profound. It is a reminder that for Germany, Europe was a salvation after the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s, that defeated and replaced nationalism as a defining cause. And a reminder that you feel genuine sadness at our departure from what you hoped was a shared mission. 
But we still want to be friends. We love your beer, your football, some of us even like your cooking. Given the challenges we face we need to stand together to champion the values of tolerance and openness that you say are our hallmark. 
Your sadness is understandable. The debate around Brexit– in particular the volume at the extremes – has shown us divided and rancorous.
This threatens the British reputation for good sense and pragmatism, especially when the world is watching more closely than usual.
Your letter has reminded us that however we voted on Brexit we must be clearer that we are not about to retreat from our global responsibilities. Brits are outward-looking and engaged with the world.
We all know that openness and diversity are British values and we are grateful that can see through the noise to the substance – that the defining moment for the UK in the 21st century will not be the referendum itself, but how we respond with greater purpose, drive, solidarity and vision.
Global events since our vote are a reminder of why our friendship matters. The free world is without an obvious leader, and international cooperation is in retreat even as existential challenges like climate change and authoritarianism grow. On multiple fronts, we see reason being traded for impulse, community for tyranny, and honesty for lies. We are forgetting hard learned lessons.
We know that our focus must be to defend the principles on which international cooperation depends. So please take heart from our unflinching commitments to development, to NATO, to the UN and – yes – to European cooperation, even if we will no longer be part of the EU.
But more than that, please take heart from our shared response to the anniversaries we mark again this month, and our determination to move on from the divisions of the past.
Whatever the mechanics and sub clauses of our future relationship, the tone of the text is unchanged – we are still friends, and very much on the same side.
Yours sincerely,
Baroness Sayeeda Warsi
Lord Stewart Wood
Sir Nicholas Soames MP
Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP
Emma Reynolds MP
Tom Tugendhat MP
Gary Lineker OBE
Tom Fletcher CMG

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