German community celebrates Consulate Day in Lagos
Around 50 members of the Algarve’s German community took part in the commemorations of the German Consulate Day, which was held on Thursday, May 30 at the Ponta da Bandeira fortress in Lagos.
German Honorary Consul Alexander Rathenau and his team, Lagos mayoress Maria Joaquina Matos and several local councillors, the president of the Odiáxere parish council Carlos Fonseca and many representatives of regional entities and security forces were among the guests.
German Ambassador to Portugal Christof Weil was unable to attend and was represented by Tanja Weise from the German Embassy who stressed the importance of Alexander Rathenau’s work among the German community.
“As he was raised here in the region, he knows the Algarve and the Portuguese way of life. He is the right person for the job, which he has tackled with commitment and dedication,” she said.
Alexander Rathenau, who is a lawyer based in Lagos, says he is a firm supporter of the European Union and said that both Portugal and Germany are committed to the EU “because only together can they face the challenges of the future”.
“This gathering today is a representation of European inclusion and an increasingly closer union between people. As Honorary Consul, I am responsible for building bridges between the two countries and encouraging closer links between Portuguese and German citizens. This event should contribute to that. The EU is about much more than mere economic interest,” he said.
The event was held two years after the opening of the consulate in Lagos. It had previously been based in Faro, where German’s first consulate office opened in 1752.
“For nearly 267 years, there has been a German consulate representative in the south of the country,” Rathenau said.
Local mayoress Joaquina Matos also gave a speech, saying how proud she was to have a young local man act as honorary consul and pledging the council’s support “for everything and always”.
She added: “It is important to strengthen the ties between the Portuguese and German people and between all European countries.”
Students from the DUAL school were in charge of the event’s catering while German band Treptow provided musical entertainment. There was also an exhibition of works from Silves’ German School and Lagos’ special needs charity NECI.
Photos: ANABELA GASPAR/OPEN MEDIA GROUP