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Every move promotes international understanding

wolfgang schaeuble Editorial by Dr Wolfgang Schäuble, Federal Minister of Finance

Dear Contestants in the Trans-Europe Chess Express,

International rail connections – just like international chess tournaments – can help overcome boundaries. They promote understanding between the European nations and they enable international encounters in Europe. In view of the increasingly sceptical attitudes towards Europe and the European Community currency, such encounters are of highly topical relevance – indeed, they are now more important than ever. If the process of European unification is to overcome the deficits which undeniably still exist with regard to transparency and democratic legitimacy, Europe has to become a tangible entity for the people who live there. There could be no better setting for experiencing Europe than in the form of personal encounters, when people test their sporting prowess against one another in a friendly atmosphere – for instance in the course of a European chess tournament.

The euro crisis clearly showed us that not only a cross-border identity, but also a European identity is something that is sadly lacking. If we are to remedy this situation, we have to know more about one another. We have to travel in order to experience what is happening on this and the other side of the border.

European unity in peace and freedom – that was the vision of our fathers and our forefathers. We have the privilege of experiencing such a Europe. Accordingly, it is our duty to preserve a peaceful and free Europe and, in this age of global political, economic and ecological challenges, develop Europe into a role model for overcoming contradictory interests and conflicts. Regardless of all political efforts, this can only be achieved on a basis of personal encounters between the people of Europe.

As patron of this chess tournament in the beautiful setting of Potsdam’s Kaiserbahnhof, I should like to thank the organisers – Deutsche Bahn AG, the German Chess Federation and the Emanuel Lasker Society – for the contribution that this event has made towards strengthening the European identity. As a keen chess player myself, I wish all the contestants every success and hope that they enjoy every single move of their matches.