Select Committee on Welsh Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from the Germany Embassy

  Thank you very much for your letter of 29 November 2000, informing me of your Committee's work in promoting Wales abroad.

  For many years this Embassy has taken a keen interest in the development of Wales. Only two weeks ago, following a suggestion of this Embassy, a group of 15 MPs from the Parliament of Lower Saxony in Hanover visited the Welsh Assembly and afterwards had talks with the Secretary of State for Wales in London.

  Even before devolution we had already established close contacts with, for example, the Welsh Development Agency and the senior management of major German companies such as Bosch and Grundig, which have invested heavily in and around Cardiff.

  One of my very first visits after by appointment as Ambassador to Britain was to Wales in June this year. During my two-day stay, I had valuable discussions with key members of the Assembly and leaders of the business, educational and farming communities on how we can further develop the links between Wales and Germany.

  I would like also to point out that Germany is represented by an Honorary Consul in Cardiff, Mrs Helga Rother-Simmonds who, both in this capacity and as Secretary of the British-German Chamber of Commerce in Wales, plays a most active part in promoting German interests in Wales and vice-versa.

  We are determined to build further on this network of relations, in particular in the areas of youth exchange and town-twinning.

  With regard to the specific question of the possible opening of a consulate or other permanent post in Wales, in the present budgetary climate—in which we have in recent years had to close around 20 German embassies and consulates worldwide, including, unfortunately, our Consulate-General in Manchester, which had existed in north-west England for 208 years—it is unlikely that such a development could be undertaken in the near future.

  I would be very happy to have a personal exchange of views with you on any areas of mutual interest.

Dr von Ploetz


15 December 2000

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