Prime Minister Viktor Orban and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will mark the 30th anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic, one of a series of events that led to the dismantling of the Iron Curtain and the fall of communism, in Sopron, in western Hungary, on Monday.
Orban and Merkel will participate at an ecumenical service in the city’s Lutheran Church. Afterward, they will hold bilateral talks during lunch.
Merkel paid tribute to Hungary on Saturday for its role in the fall of the Berlin Wall and Germany’s reunification, Deutsche Welle reports. In her weekly video podcast, Merkel, who grew up 90 kilometers (56 miles) north of East Berlin, thanked Hungary for its decision three decades ago to open its border to the people of East Germany.
“This was a very important building block towards the fall of the wall and to German unity,” Merkel said. “We will always be grateful for this contribution.”
Counter-terrorism force TEK issued a statement on Sunday advising motorists on road closures and restrictions in the historical centre of Sopron as well as on routes in and out of the city between 7 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon on Monday.
The Pan-European Picnic was held on August 19, 1989, on the Austrian-Hungarian border, near Sopron, as a demonstration of peaceful coexistence between Austria and Hungary. The border crossing was opened for three hours, allowing nearly 1,000 East Germans to flee to the West. The picnic was one of the events that contributed to the opening of the borders and the reunification of Germany.
Source: MTI, Deutsche Welle