November 28, 2011
More news from Germany this morning. Over the weekend, Europe-Union Deutschland (EUD) – a German EU federalist pressure group which argues for more EU integration – handed out its yearly prizes: a ‘Europe Lily’ for outstanding achievements in European policy, and a corresponding ‘Europe Thistle’ for those, who in the view of EUD, are responsible for the biggest blunder in the same area. The event was well attended, with former EU Commissioner Günther Verheugen and senior CDU politican Peter Altmaier among the guests.
Bild won some notoriety for its headline last years calling on Greece to sell its islands in order to pay off its budget deficit. At the event, Bild‘s reporting was criticised for being “too emotional”, and creating divisions amongst European citizens in its labelling of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ EU member states.
While similar awards (think Hollywood’s Razzies) are usually boycotted by embarrassed recipients, Bild‘s Deputy Editor Nikolaus Blome actually showed up to collect the award (pictured) and moreover, he took the opportunity to deliver a speech in which he defended the paper’s stance and argued that while he supported the euro, the current rescue package is deeply flawed. Blome also has a piece in today’s edition entitled: “Despite our joke-prize this is why we stand by our views”, in which he argues that Bild‘s coverage has been justified, pointing out that:
We said: “Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks”, and as promised this is what is happening; 70,000 state-owned properties are available for sale in Greece, including a complete peninsula and a small mountain.
“We are proud of this award…Would Greece really be in a better state if we had kept our mouths shut?…Beheading the messenger is a well established tradition, however this will not bring back the old order of the European elites… the word ‘thistle’ derives from the old Indo-Germanic language and means ‘spiky’ and ‘pungent’: That is what we want to be. Be glad that we exist!”
We doubt this is the last we hear from this paper…