Page last updated at 23:33 GMT, Monday, 9 November 2009

PM marks Berlin Wall anniversary

People climbing the Wall
The Berlin Wall finally came down on 9 November 1989

Gordon Brown has paid tribute to the "unbreakable spirit" of those who "dared to dream", at an event marking 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell.

The prime minister took part in commemorations in Germany hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Also present were French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr Brown said there was "nothing that cannot be achieved by people inspired".

'Swept away'

The date 9 November marks the 20th anniversary of the wall's collapse.

Because of your courage two Berlins are one. Two Germanys are one and now two Europes are one
Gordon Brown

The event ushered in the end of Soviet communism and Germany's reunification.

In his speech, Mr Brown acknowledged its historic scale and the role of Berliners.

"You tore down the wall and you changed the world. You tore down the wall that for a third of a century had imprisoned half a city, half a country, half a continent and half the world.

"And because of your courage two Berlins are one. Two Germanys are one and now two Europes are one."

He said: "This wall was torn down not by leaders, not by from on high, not by military might. This wall was torn down by the greatest force of all - the unbreakable spirit of the men and women of Berlin.

"You dared to dream in the darkness. You knew that while force has the temporary power to dominate, it can never ultimately decide."

Mr Brown added that "what seems impossible - an end to nuclear proliferation, an end to extreme poverty, an end to climate catastrophe - can become possible and be unstoppable, thanks to the power of people united in common endeavour".

Ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and former West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher were also in attendance.

'Changing history'

Marking the anniversary, Conservative leader David Cameron said the fall of the Berlin Wall had "changed the face of Europe and the course of history".

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown delivered his speech at the Brandenburg Gate

"The most important lesson of 1989 was the power of the human spirit, whatever the odds," he said.

"Ultimately, it was the decisions of thousands of brave individuals who refused to put up with oppression which brought an end to Communist dictatorship in central and eastern Europe.

"It is to their courage and their determination that we pay tribute."

Behind the scenes at the celebrations, European leaders were thought to have been discussing the EU's future direction in the wake of the Lisbon Treaty.

New posts of president and high representative - effectively, the EU's foreign minister - are being created by the treaty.

Although former Prime Minister Tony Blair's chances of taking the top job appear to have diminished, speculation has persisted that Foreign Secretary David Miliband could get the high representative post.

However, the BBC understands he has rejected the opportunity and friends say he "sees his future in British politics".



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