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Meeting with Hamburg's mayor Olaf Scholz


Olaf Scholz, mayor of Hamburg since March 2011, invited the eight fellows of the Medienbotschafter program into town hall for a lively question and answer session. The talk started off with the fellow’s questions about life and politics in Hamburg. Scholz described Hamburg as a “liberal, social and economically successful city” with a spirit strongly influenced by its harbor and centuries of commerce and trade. Furthermore he pointed out the diversity of cultural life in Hamburg. The mayor stated that the continuous development of culture is deeply rooted among the city’s inhabitants: “Culture comes from the people, not from the government. With the music fair Reeperbahn Festival we contribute our piece to the existing music and arts culture in the city.”

When the topic changed to international politics, Scholz gave an opinion on the current discussion about the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement: “I am always in favor of a free trade agreement. Concerning this agreement it is sad that there has not been a final success in the negotiations yet.” In addition the mayor explained the precondition that is needed for a functioning trade agreement: “We need safe and comprehensive legislation and jurisdiction in the countries of the agreement.” Another international topic the Chinese fellows were interested in was the NSA data surveillance case. Concerning the surveillance in Germany Olaf Scholz said that he was “wondering why the intelligence agencies use secret methods to get information about Germany, because our free and democratic press already tells everything they could be interested in.”

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