EU Parliament president Coxreceives top German prize

21st May 2004, Comments 0 comments

21 May 2004, AACHEN - Pat Cox, president of the European Parliament, Thursday received Germany's prestigious International Charlemagne Prize for 2004 for his role in European Union enlargement.

21 May 2004

AACHEN - Pat Cox, president of the European Parliament, Thursday received Germany's prestigious International Charlemagne Prize for 2004 for his role in European Union enlargement.

Cox, 51, received the prize "in recognition of his outstanding personal contribution on the enlargement and democratisation of the Union", the mayor of Aachen, Juergen Linden, said at a ceremony at Aachen town hall.

Cox is the first Irishman and third European Parliament president to receive the prize, worth a symbolic EUR 5,000.

In its citation, the prize committee said of Cox: "This liberal Irishman is possessor of three key qualities: transparency, a popular touch and a pragmatic approach to politics. He demands that the other institutions and organs of the Union should demonstrate the same qualities."

The award also recognised the "pioneering role" played by the European Parliament "in a critical phase in the development of Europe".

Cox, who earlier this month announced that he would retire from the European Parliament in June after 15 years, called on European leaders to approve the planned new constitution for Europe.

"In the name of the European Parliament I call on Europe's leading politicians to promulgate our new constitution .... as soon as possible," he said.

Cox said the EU's enlargement was undoubtedly cause for celebration but was leading to a new European crossroads which "calls on us to discover and realise our full and true potential".

To reach this goal, Europe needed the constitution which would make European politics more effective, more transparent and more democratic, he said.

The proposed EU constitution among other things aims to streamline decision-making in the expanded Union of 25 member states.

Cox said that following endless discussions over institutional matters Europe would be able to concentrate on the essential political issues. Europe has to go "from words to deeds", he said.

Cox, born in Dublin the son of a watchmaker, lectured in economics and was between 1982 and 1986 a popular Irish television presenter before switching to politics and becoming general secretary of the Progressive Democrats, a party which he co-founded.

In January 2002, the married father of six children was elected president of the European Parliament.

Former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who was awarded the Charlemagne Prize last year, praised Cox as "one of the first who opened wide the door of Europe for the 10 new members".

Giscard d'Estaing, president of the convent which drafted the constitution treaty, said Europe needed a "strong" treaty not a "cheap constitution".

The Charlemagne Prize of Aachen was established in 1949 and is awarded annually for outstanding contributions to the cause of European understanding, communal endeavour, humanity and world peace. Aachen is the burial site of Emperor Charlemagne (742-814).

Previous Charlemagne Prize recipients have included former Czech president Vaclav Havel, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former U.S. president Bill Clinton and former German chancellor Helmut Kohl.

DPA

Subject: German news

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