Fourth “Rendezvous Sophie” with CDU parliamentary party leader, Dietrich Wersich in Hamburg

All good things come in fours: once again a “Rendezvous Sophie” meeting produces a first-class, goal oriented but relaxed discussion. As with the other meetings a prominent member of this city led the discussion with a group of handpicked guests. This time it was Hamburg’s CDU parliamentary party leader Dietrich Wersich who came well equipped with a lot of background knowledge and experience.

As with the first meeting with former Lord Mayor of Hamburg Dr. Klaus von Dohnanyi (SPD), the second round with Professor Jörn Walter, Hamburg’s Chief Planning Officer and the third sitting with chief councillor of the district of Eimsbuettel, Dr. Torsten Sevecke the fourth meeting in the elegant Villa Sophie on Mittelweg well lived up to expectations. Here the developers Frankonia Eurobau are well on their way to creating one of the most significant development projects in Hamburg at the moment.

After his introductory speech the long serving senator and former deputy Lord Mayor of Hamburg did not shy away from any questions. “We need residential developments of all kinds in Hamburg even premium ones”, said Wersich. “The citizens of Hamburg are sensitive about building, that is why we can’t go back to the building of big housing estates.” The notion of wanting to make accommodation affordable at any price is questionable according to the senator. Because in doing so sometimes housing is subsidised, including by the state, “which actually nobody can pay for in the end.”

This topic served as the opener for a rich debate. Around 30 guests were present among them the chairman of Frankonia Eurobau AG, Uwe Schmitz, and his colleague from the board, Werner Thielemann. After almost three hours the last visitors left the villa. No wonder, with the topics that were discussed. Dietrich Wersich rose questions about cuts in spending for science and research, political policy for families, the future of Hamburg as a major city and current topics such as the Elbphilharmonie and the deepening of the Elbe.

The CDU politician who is medical doctor by profession and director of Altona Theatre and the Kammerspiele theatre, proved himself to be very knowledgeable about the district of Harvestehude. No wonder, he has been leader of the local chapter of his party for many years, which is in the neighbouring district of Eppendorf.

At the end of the formal discussion, which was once again led by leading economics journalist Dr. Franz Wauschkuhn, the lively debate continued. The next “Rendezvous” guest speaker will be Hamburg’s science senator Frank Horch (independent) in spring 2013. Dietrich Wersich’s words in Villa Sophie still echo: “I think it is very positive that the subject of politics has been brought back into the salons”.

19 November 2012