apa & dpa interviews with Mr. Otto Hauser
[ 01.06.2010 APA]
How do you evaluate the level of the bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Germany?
The relations are developing. Azerbaijan has already become an equal right partner of Germany. President Ilham Aliyev paid an official visit to Germany in February this year and met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Moreover, he was one of the main speakers at the Munich Security Conference. The relations between our countries are heartwarming.
As you know, I have been Azerbaijan’s Honorary Consul to Stuttgart (federal state of Baden Württemberg) for over a month. This is also the first honorary consulate of Azerbaijan in both Germany and Western Europe. Establishment of this consulate shows how much importance Germany attaches to the relations with Azerbaijan and how much the relations have developed.
How will the opening of Azerbaijan’s Honorary Consulate in Stuttgart influence the mutual cooperation? Will it give an impetus to the increase of volume of the investments?
The Honorary Consulate may function in a number of spheres. First of all, I would like to note the sphere of education. Germany has splendid vocational schools. As you know, vocational school is considered an institution standing beneath the universities by one stage. Young people acquire professions at vocational schools. We would like to apply such a system of vocational schools in your country, too.
If German companies invest here, they need professional employees. The existence of the professional employees offers opportunities to attract more investments. It is important to invest in Azerbaijan, because it can play the role of access to the other countries of the Caucasus. There is political stability in Azerbaijan. This is one of the major conditions to make investments.
Germany has great experience in using the renewable energy resources and can help Azerbaijan in this field. Heads of executive offices from Azerbaijan have recently come to our Honorary Consulate, we exchanged experience in the field of local management. Azerbaijani and German culture figures pay mutual visits.
As a politician and former member of Bundestag I try to contribute to the expansion of political cooperation. Bundestag passed a resolution on Nagorno Karabakh conflict. We wanted to call things by their proper names.
Stuttgart is known as the center of Germany’s economy. Do big companies of Germany want to invest in Azerbaijan?
There are such companies like DAIMLER, BOSCH and PORSCHE in our state. You see Mercedes everywhere in Azerbaijan, Mercedes is represented enough here. BOSCH also plans to be represented in Azerbaijani market more. Their representatives have recently appealed to me and said they want to have broader access to the Azerbaijani market. Baden Württemberg energy company has implemented some projects here. My main goal is to attract more small and medium-sized enterprises to Azerbaijan. After small and medium-sized enterprises come to Azerbaijan the qualification of the people may be realized.
Currently, how many German companies are functioning in Azerbaijan?
It is difficult to say an exact number. Nearly 30-40 German companies are represented in Azerbaijan. One of the biggest companies – Siemens is also functioning here. There are a lot of companies, for example, Mercedes isn’t engaged in production in Azerbaijan. But there are many Mercedes cars here.
In which spheres is Germany interested in Azerbaijan?
First of all, Azerbaijan is an energy supplier. It is in the 6th place among the countries selling oil to Germany. There is not cooperation in gas sphere yet. But such cooperation may be in future. Germany depends on Russia in this case very much. We want to decrease this dependence. Azerbaijan can do a lot in this sphere. We may intensify our cooperation in this sphere more. Azerbaijan has energy resources and we have high technology, production spheres. Cooperation in this sphere may be developed.
And what can you say about non-oil sector?
Azerbaijan has a very beautiful geostrategic position between Europe and Asia. Azerbaijan is country having rich traditions. We may profit by it. Azerbaijan plays door role in Asia for its geostrategic position. It is also constituent part of Europe. Azerbaijan is a participant of EU’s Eastern Partnership program. And it gives additional opportunity for cooperation.
Does Azerbaijani Diaspora function in Germany actively?
I am head of German-Azerbaijani forum and the center of this forum is situated in Berlin. We cooperate with Azerbaijani embassy in Germany very closely. I met with the members of Azerbaijani Diaspora in Germany 3 weeks ago. Germany is a big country and it has 80 million population. Currently, we cooperate only with Azerbaijanis coming from Iran. When our honored consulate was opened, a lot of ringers entered our office. People were interested in whether consulate opened really, or not, and which works it would do. We collaborate with Diaspora members in culture sphere very well. More than 5 000 people from Republic of Azerbaijan live in Germany. If we add South Azerbaijanis and ethnic Azerbaijanis from Turkey, their number will increase.
I want to note one more moment. Former Minister-President of the state of Baden-Württemberg Günther Oettinger visited Azerbaijan in August in 2009. Now he is EU Commissioner for Energy. It is a very important post at EU. Recently, Oettinger paid a visit to Azerbaijan for the second time. Within the framework of the first visit, he got acquainted with Azerbaijan and amazed at it. And after appointment to the post of EU Commissioner for Energy he visited Azerbaijan again. Oettinger repeatedly, has reiterated the name of Azerbaijan during his speech at the European Parliament due to his appointment.
Each person coming to Azerbaijan is satisfied with two moments. First, is hospitality, and the second is highly developed economy.
How is the cooperation in political sphere between Germany and Azerbaijan?
There is a close cooperation in this sphere between the parliaments. There are friendship groups at Germany and Azerbaijani parliaments. Members of friendship groups get into contact with each other often and meet. We exchange views in several spheres, as well as give advices in co-ordination of Azerbaijani rules in Europe. Once Heydar Aliyev said that Germany should be received as a model in the development of Azerbaijan and development process must be established on this model. Today, we can note proudly that, this cooperation is being established on this model. Cooperation has extended so much that, it covers all spheres.
Stuttgart (dpa/lsw) – Aus dem Königreich Württemberg sind vor knapp 200 Jahren zahlreiche Familien nach Aserbaidschan ausgewandert. Auf die historischen Wurzeln der Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und dem Land am Kaspischen Meer hat Honorarkonsul Otto Hauser am Montag verwiesen. In der Hauptstadt Baku findet 2012 der nächste Eurovision Song Contest statt. «Von den 1200 Familien, die aufgebrochen sind, kamen schließlich 400 an», sagte Hauser in Stuttgart. Die Handwerker und Bauern gründeten mehrere deutsche Kolonien. In Orten wie dem heutigen Chanlar (Helenendorf) gebe es noch deutsche Straßennamen. Vor den Deportationen im 2. Weltkrieg lebten mehr als 20 000 Deutsche in dem 3000 Kilometer entfernten Land.
Ein wichtiges aktuelles Anliegen sei die berufliche Bildung der Aserbaidschaner. «Das deutsche Modell der beruflichen Bildung ist ein Exportschlager», sagte Hauser, der das 2010 eröffnete einzige Honorarkonsulat Aserbaidschans in Deutschland leitet. Wie einst könnten die Deutschen unter anderem bei der Entwicklung der Weinwirtschaft helfen. Das Land schickt dank seiner Einnahmen aus dem Erdöl- und Gasgeschäft 5000 Studenten mit Stipendien auf Universitäten weltweit. Einige Dutzend studierten auch auf Hochschulen im Südwesten.
Der Tourismus sei noch wenig entwickelt. Allerdings nehme die Zahl der Bildungsreisenden zu, die sich auf die Spuren der
Urchristen begeben. Generell sei die religiöse Toleranz hoch, meinte Hauser. «Es sind Muslime, aber sie sind nicht fundamentalistisch oder orthodox.» Zur kurzen Zeit der ersten Republik Aserbaidschan (1918-1920) habe es sogar ein Frauenwahlrecht gegeben.
Aserbaidschan wird nach Einschätzung von Hauser keine Probleme mit der Austragung des Eurovision Song Contests (ESC) haben. «Das Niveau wird man halten», sagte der Honorarkonsul des 9-Millionen-Staats weiter. «Das Land fühlt und denkt europäisch. Es möchte mithalten.» Dank der Öl- und Gasreserven habe Aserbeidschan von 2005 bis 2009 ein Wirtschaftswachstum von mehr als 100 Prozent erlebt. Das Land sei inzwischen der sechstgrößte Erdöllieferant für
Deutschland. Generell seien die Deutschen und die deutschen Produkte im Land, dessen Fußballnationalelf von Berti Vogts trainiert wird, beliebt.