Merz remembers 1989 fall of Iron Curtain
President Hans-Rudolf Merz says Hungarian and Austrian foreign ministers showed courage and foresight when they cut through the border fence 20 years ago.
Merz was speaking in Budapest on Saturday where he attended the 20th anniversary ceremony of the symbolic fall of the Iron Curtain.
He was among several European heads of state and senior officials who participated in a commemorative session at the Hungarian parliament.
Merz said the past events proved what human will can accomplish by commitment and determination in a time of crisis.
"The spirit of optimism of 1989 should inspire us again today with the courage to emerge stronger from the financial and economic crisis," Merz said.
He also recalled the 1956 uprising in Budapest and the arrival of thousands of Hungarian refugees in Switzerland.
On June 27, 1989 Hungary, with agreement of neighbouring Austria, opened its borders allowing people - mainly from the former communist East Germany – to flee to the west.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 marked the end of the Iron Wall.
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