President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz will receive the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen 2015
In honour, Dr. h.c. Martin Schulz will receive the 57th International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen on 14th May 2015. The Charlemagne Prize Board of Directors thereby honours an “outstanding mentor of a united Europe who has earned important and lasting merits for his efforts towards a strengthening of parliament, parliamentarianism, and democratic legitimation in the EU. This was announced on 13th December 2014 by the Lord Mayor of Aachen, Marcel Philipp, and Dr. Jürgen Linden, chairman of the Charlemagne Prize Board of Directors in the town hall of the City of Aachen.
“Democracy needs arguments. Visibility needs arguments. Not for its own sake but in order to reach the best possible result. Because arguments show alternatives”, the explanatory statement of the Charlemagne Prize Board of Directors quote the designated recipient of the Charlemagne Prize. And further: “When Martin Schulz explains his understanding of his office, it quickly becomes apparent that from the beginning he wanted to be a president who would, if necessary, fight for the respect of the executive authorities for the parliament if the rights of the citizens were endangered”, and who would challenge anyone who thought that 'a more of Europe could be archived with a less of parliamentarianism.
Martin Schulz, born 1955, left grammar school in Würselen with a General Certificate of Secondary Education and started an apprenticeship to become a bookseller after which he worked in various book shops and publishing houses. In 1984 he became a member of the town council of Würselen for the Social Democrats and at 31 was elected the youngest mayor in North-Rhine Westphalia.
1994 Martin Schulz won a mandate in the European Parliament. With an overwhelming majority he was elected chairman of the socialist fraction in 2004. After the European election in 2009, Martin Schulz was confirmed group chairman of the progressive alliance of socialists and democrats in the European Parliament. On 17th January 2012, the European Parliament elected the “eloquent European” (Habermas) as the successor of Jerzy Buzek in the first ballot. In his inaugural address Schulz made it clear that he wanted to contribute to making: “the parliament more visible and more audible as the place of democracy and of controversial debates on the direction of EU politics”.
In March 2014, the European Social Democrats nominated Schulz officially as their first common top candidate in the history of the EU. Martin Schulz: “It is important that the European parties nominate their respective Europe-wide top candidate who stands for the post of President of the Commission in the 2014 European election. The President of the Commission will be the candidate with the majority in parliament”. After the victory of the EVP and the election of Jean-Claude Juncker as new President of the Commission, Martin Schulz was elected to a second term in office as the first President of the Parliament. “This has brought to a close”, Schulz says, “what we started with the process of top candidates.”
Dr. Jürgen Linden, chairman of the Charlemagne Prize Board of Directors declared that Martin Schulz is a distinguished representative for the revival of European democracy. He has gained recognition as one of the most outstanding European leaders, be it when he received the Peace Nobel Prize for the European Union, which he used for a symbolical visit to the island of Utoya in order to commemorate the victims of the racist mass murderer, or be it in the Knesset where he declared Europe's clear commitment to always being on the side of Israel.