Ambassador in Berlin
Dr. Josef Wolf
exclusiv in an interview
with Ambassador Dr. Josef Wolf
Principality of Liechtenstein
Embassy in Berlin
• Your Excellency, you have been
ambassador extraordinary and
plenipotentiary of the Principality
of Liechtenstein in the Federal Republic
of Germany since December 2002.
Your Excellency, what is your personal
upshot after nearly four years?
Indeed, I have the honourable duty to be active as the first resident
ambassador of the Principality of Liechtenstein in the Federal Republic
of Germany. We were previously
represented by a non-resident ambassador. My personal upshot after four
years: It is incredibly important to be present on the scene. I think
that in the past we could have more positively influenced the German
press reportage on Liechten-stein and more rapidly and corrected some
things if we had already been permanently represented in Germany at an
earlier point in time. One also attaches great importance to the host
country with the establishment of an embassy. You must bear in mind
that our embassy in Berlin is only one of eight diplomatic missions
worldwide. Due to its European central position and its size, Germany
will also always have repercussions on our country in the future.
• Your Excellency, according
to your personal assessment
of the activity as ambassador,
in which fields were you able
to provide inspirations which were
accepted and implemented?
I always endeavour to emphasise Liech-tenstein’s affiliation with the
German linguistic and cultural region by speaking up for the promotion
of artistic and cultural projects which correspond to the interests of
both countries. On this score I count Liechtenstein’s support for the
Academy of Arts or the reconstruction of the Catholic-theological
Guardini chair at the Humboldt University in Berlin. The political
relations in the past four years have also been intensified, for
instance through the visit by several Bundestag «Lower House of the
German Parliament» committees to Liechten-stein. As ambassador, I can
certainly set the accents through the direct contact with the German
policy-makers in the realms of politics, economy and culture. In
particular, this entails the personal discussions in which I can
correct prejudices vis-à-vis Liechtenstein and am able to put into
perspective the lopsided perception of the
country as a financial location.
• What does your time management
look like, or how can the citizens of
Liechtenstein envision the daily agenda
and your activity as an ambassador?
My working day starts with a look at the daily newspapers. Almost every
day there are discussions with Bundestag representatives, state
secretaries, rep-resentatives from trade associations as well as
cultural institutions in my appointments book. We meticulously follow
the political processes within Germany. Topics relevant to
Liechten-stein are processed and the responsible agencies of the
national administration are informed. Conversely, the embassy is
available for information and clarifica-tions from Liechtenstein. I
maintain numerous formal and informal contacts with ambassador
colleagues as well as senior officials in the ministries. On the one
hand, the embassy obtains important detailed information through these
contacts; and on the other hand, a valuable sensitisation for
Liechtenstein concerns often succeeds on this level.
• What does the cooperation between
the Principality of Liechtenstein
and your host country look like?
Where do the main emphases lie?
The cooperation with the officials and associations develops quite
well. Our association with the German-speaking cultural region, to
which I refer to over and over again, is a binding element.
Nevertheless, as the representative of a small country it is also
sometimes difficult for
me to obtain appointments with policy-makers. In the past four years -
as already indicated above - I have attempted to place Liechtenstein’s
image on a more objective basis and also at the same time to
particularly portray Liechtenstein as an industrial and corporate
location. Several visits by Bundestag committees and high-ranking
German personalities have already taken place on the political level.
• Your Excellency, as ambassador,
do you have a vision for the future,
or what means a lot to you?
As a representative of my country, the maintenance of good relations
between Germany and Liechtenstein is a permanent concern to me. The
position of the small states in the coalescing Europe means a lot to
me. On the one hand, small countries such as Liechtenstein enjoy full
state sovereignty. On the other hand, they are dependent on the
goodwill of neighbours, in particular the large states. My vision for
the future is nothing less than the longterm preservation of peace in
Ambassador Josef Wolf will step into the well-deserved retirement at the end of
the year 2006.