It was a “real good day” when Canadian and European leaders announced the end of political talks toward a free trade deal after more than four years, said Germany’s new deputy head of mission, Jörn Rosenberg.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso made the announcement in Brussels on Oct. 18.
Just a couple hours later at the German Embassy in Ottawa, Mr. Rosenberg said it was a bit of a relief to finally hear that the two sides had reached a tentative deal.
“It’s an absolute win-win for both sides of the Atlantic,” said Mr. Rosenberg, who arrived in Ottawa in July to start his stint as the head of the mission’s political section.
Mr. Rosenberg said the Canada-EU “breakthrough” would be a big step ahead in fostering business ties.
“We are quite well established here. But it’s quite obvious that with lowering tariffs and other barriers, you have quite a new field which you can explore,” he said.
Mr. Rosenberg has been posted in Warsaw, New Delhi and Prague. He has also been a consul general in Romania and Russia.
Germany’s largest consular section at a foreign mission is in Moscow. “So that’s about three times as big as the whole embassy here in Ottawa,” Mr. Rosenberg said.
This meant Mr. Rosenberg was in charge of about 120 people in the department, an experience he called challenging.
“All of the postings were sort of extraordinary,” the German envoy said.
He was in Washington just two years after 9/11, for example, and in India when current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the finance minister and was introducing economic reforms.
Mr. Rosenberg’s wife, Ursula, is also a diplomat.
“Generally there are very good opportunities in the German foreign service to [both] go on postings,” he said.
Husband and wife were first posted together 20 years ago in New Delhi. He was in charge of economic and development co-operation and she was in charge of cultural affairs.
The two were posted together to Washington and Moscow as well.
“[It] may be sometimes more difficult when you take senior postings, and then one is the boss of the other,” Mr. Rosenberg said. But so far this hasn’t happened, he said with a chuckle.
Mr. Rosenberg is in Ottawa with his wife, who is on leave, and their son Eike and daughter Gesa.
Gesa is studying at Ashbury College while Eike is studying electrical engineering at Carleton University, he said.
His family has already started to feel settled and is getting a taste of the “beautiful Canadian landscape.”
He said they look forward to skiing this winter.
“We are—my wife, me, also our kids—people who very fast feel at home in the place where they are sent to live,” he said.
They have visited the Thousand Islands, Niagara Falls and Algonquin Park.
But Mr. Rosenberg’s goal is to travel throughout Canada. Aside from taking the train through some parts of the country, he has an ambitious goal of driving across.
“I like driving with my own car so you get the real experience of how big the country is, not just jump into the plane, get off two hours later in some other place—but really get to know what the countryside looks like and how the people are outside of the big centres,” he said. “And I will do that.”
He flew last weekend to the Yukon where the first meeting of senior Arctic officials under Canada’s Arctic Council chairmanship is taking place.
He said Canada and Germany are already co-operating in the Arctic, but more can be done. This includes work in protecting ecosystems while trying to tap into resources.
During his Canadian posting he said he would like to encourage more student exchanges and boost business connections.
Maintaining strong diplomatic relations is like having a beautiful garden, he said. “You always have to work on it, you have to maintain it, you can’t just leave it on its own.”