Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement on 14 May in response to the decision to award the Charlemagne Prize to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament:
In going to Martin Schulz, the Charlemagne Prize is recognising a great European who has made his mark on the development of European democracy. Over the last 20‑odd years, his work to strengthen European parliamentarianism has been second to none. He has succeeded in giving the European Union a face and a voice for millions of Europeans.
The European Parliament today, which Martin Schulz presides over, is a fully fledged parliament with a vital role in the system of European institutions. With its lively debates among MEPs from 28 member states, it embodies the democratic legitimacy and diversity of the European project.
For Martin Schulz, Europe was never a project run for and by the political elite, nor a matter of futile rivalry between European institutions. Willy Brandt’s call to “take a chance on more democracy” was and remains the guiding principle of his work for Europe.