Laudation (extract) by Marcel Philipp

Laudation (extract)

Mayor Marcel Philipp on the laureate:

[…] ‘To be capable of acting together we need strong and stable democratic structures: free elections, freedom of the press, a parliament in which the concerns and ideas of Europe's citizens are focused, and a commission that can rightly claim to be acting on behalf of the people of the EU. This initially abstract framework needs to be filled with life. It is only possible for the citizens of all of Europe's diverse regions to identify with the centres of power in Brussels and Strasbourg if, behind all the concepts and election manifestos, there are also real people – people we can see, people we can trust. Europe needs faces with character, people who represent perspectives and who personify their policy programmes.
Nominating a ‘Spitzenkandidat’ for the European elections was a new experience for the parties last year. This process of "having to agree on one person" is important. And Martin Schulz recognised the great opportunity for the European Parliament inherent in it. For him, the process began with a discussion within the party on taking the lead by nominating a ‘Spitzenkandidat’. He himself was entrusted with this role, and with the election campaign challenge of creating a connection in all the countries of the EU between the people, with all their concerns and wishes, and himself, a man whose disarming attentiveness and care shortens the distance that plagues the reputation of European politics. And after the election, he made the EU Parliament guardians of the implementation of this concept of personification, and insisted that only the winner of the election would be accepted as the new Commission President. Through this, he has helped European voters to reclaim their rights, and helped democracy to claim a victory. Martin Schulz has strengthened Europe's democratic legitimacy. […]
Today, we honour a convinced and convincing European who valiantly, visibly and audibly advocates a strong, democratic European Union which, working together, will find the strength to tackle the difficult challenges of our times.’ […]