While the main theme of CeBit 2008 is Green Technology, European leaders made it clear during speeches at last night’s opening ceremonies that the partnership between France and Germany is of the utmost importance for both countries, and the Union, to thrive. “We must work together. We must show the world what can do when we work hand in hand,” said French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “We can exclude nobody. The great European project cannot break.”
Sarkozy pointed at the recent Airbus deal, in which Europena Aeronautic Defense and Space, recently secured a contract worth up to $100 billion to supply the US Air Force with 179 combat aircraft. The French president also said that while the goals of getting computers into 70% of households (30% with highspeed) were noble, “I want all of our citizens to have access to this technology.”
Merkel was even more pointed in her assertion of France and Germany’s importance to the European economy. “France and Germany must work together for the European Union to succeed,” she said. She said there needs to be an awareness of the cultural impact of information and communication technologies being developed.
After hearing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discuss his Fifth Revolution of technology, she admitted she was unsure if she was up to date. “How can I influence voters if they depend only on computers,” Merkel joked.