The presentation of the M100 Media Award to Scotlands First Minister Nicola Sturgeon marked the glamorous end of the international media conference M100 Sanssouci Colloquium yesterday evening. United Europe has partnered the event, which was therefore also open to United Europe’s members.
“The award to Nicola Sturgeon is an important sign in this troubled time which is so difficult for the European Union”, Dr Wolfgang Schüssel, President of United Europe, states. “She is a strong, responsible and passionate European and defends our democratic European values with determination, intelligence and great political skill. We are therefore very pleased to be a partner of the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium this year and to support this decision.”
“There is simply no better laureate in the current Brexit situation”, Dr Jürgen Großmann, founder and treasurer of United Europe, points out. “Nicola Sturgeon is a true democrat and a passionate, wise advocate of a united Europe who fights the populist Brexit campaign with all her might. The award to her is an excellent decision.”
M100 Media Award
The renowned award was presented by Potsdam’s Lord Mayor and M100 Advisory Board Chairman Mike Schubert. The First Minister received the M100 Media Award for her passionate opposition to Brexit and her commitment to the cohesion of the European Union.
Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble, President of the German Bundestag, delivered the main political speech of the evening. He underlined the importance of making Europe visible and understandable as a community project that creates identity, while at the same time leaving room for the individual states’ sense of self. “In the end, it needs a European public sphere which, in the tension between unity and diversity, makes both possible: giving space to diversity and yet enabling a focus on what is common”. Schäuble also stressed that he is convinced that the future would be shaped by a generation that is more European and more cosmopolitan than any previous generation.
In his laudation, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet emphasised: “Nicola Sturgeon stands for a Europe that benefits its citizens and provides security in a troubled world because our countries work together. Nicola Sturgeon stands for this with her clear stance and her tireless pro-European commitment”. The M100 Media Award is therefore, according to Laschet, not only a sign of gratitude and recognition for her commitment to Europe, but also a promise for the future: “We will continue to work together closely and trustingly after the Brexit”.
In her acceptance speech, Nicola Sturgeon underlined the strengths of the European Community over the past years: “When you look at its overall record– not just in promoting trade, but on protecting the environment, improving consumer safety, and enhancing employment rights – its achievements are impressive. We should never shy away from identifying the EU’s shortcomings; but we also need to do far more to celebrate its successes. And we should also remember that above all else, the EU is a peace project.”
The First Minister stressed in particular the EU’s role as a role model in terms of cooperation and solidarity at a time when the international order is under threat: ” At time when voices of intolerance and protectionism seem to be on the rise, its fundamental values – of peaceful democratic co-operation – seem more precious, and perhaps more fragile, than they have done in at least a generation. The European Union is not perfect. But no organisation has done more to promote – not just prosperity, but also freedom, democracy and human rights across the continent.” (The entire speech can be read here).
M100 Sanssouci Colloquium about Democracy & the Europen Public Sphere
Over the day, about 70 leading journalists, academics and politicians from all over Europe have discussed current developments in Europe and their impact on democracy, freedom of the press and freedom of expression against the background of an imminent Brexite under the heading “From Pipedream to Reality – Democracy and the European Public Sphere”.
After the welcoming address by Prof. Dr. Jörg Steinbach, Minister of Economics and Energy of the State of Brandenburg, Prof. Saskia Sassen (Columbia University, USA) opened the conference with a sociological view on current challenges of the EU. The subsequent round-table discussions in the first session dealt with Europe as a communication space and the role of the media in overcoming the current communication crisis. In the second session the situation of freedom of the press in Europe and ways to extend its protection were discussed. Finally, the focus was on the future viability of the media and current framework conditions for media innovation.
The participants of the 15th edition of the conference included Sven Afhüppe (Handelsblatt), Agron Bajrami (Koha Ditore), Beata Balogová (SME), Stephan-Andreas Casdorff (Der Tagesspiegel), Kai Diekmann (Storymachine), Sven Gösmann (dpa), Espen Egil Hansen (Aftenposten), Christiane Hoffmann (Der Spiegel), Michal Kobosko (Atlantik Council), Bruno Patino (Arte France TV), Dagmar Rosenfeld (Die Welt), Mary Wilkonson (BBC World News) and many more.
Further information about the conference and the Media Award can be found on the event’s website.