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Merkel chosen for 'Vision for Europe' Award

This year the Edmond Israel Foundation's 'Vision for Europe' Award went to Chancellor Angela Merkel. In her acceptance speech she said Europe needs to become more tangible for the people and that achievement of the greatest possible measure of transparency needs to be the objective of European government.

Chancellor Angela Merkel accepting the award Photo: REGIERUNGonline/Steins

Merkel noted that when the European Union does something people don't like it is frustrating to find that no one can be held accountable for it. What you have is an institutionalized lack of accountability.

The European Union needs to be organized in such a way that it will not fall into this trap. Persons need to be held accountable for policies they have helped to put in place.

Directives should die at end of legislative term

Merkel referred to the different functions of the European Parliament and the Commission, hinting at the possibility of limiting the lifetime of a directive to the legislative term it originated in and saying what is customary in national parliaments should also be possible at the European level.

Every time a new European Parliament is elected it would be right to take those directives off the table that didn't make it through the parliamentary process. It would remain to be seen if there is an interest on the part of members of the new parliament to take them up again. This would in effect bring the principle of discontinuity into government at the EU level.

Bureaucracy reduction

"When the whole world is changing we can't simply continue to keep piling on more and more directives," Merkel said. She indicated that she supports the efforts being undertaken by the European Commission to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and to subject everything to review.

After fifty years there is a need to address the question as to whether or not directives can be repealed. "This has something to do with being able to breathe freely in Europe," Merkel noted.

The 'Vision for Europe' Award is presented each year in recognition of outstanding achievements aimed at taking Europe into the future. Chancellor Merkel is the ninth person and the second German leader to receive the award. Helmut Kohl was selected for this honor in 1997.

The presentation speech was given by Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg.

The foundation was created by Cedel International in September 1990 in honor of Edmond Israel upon his retirement after twenty years as Chairman of the Board of Directors. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to research on and promotion of significant cultural, scientific, political, and economic issues relating to Europe. It commissions studies, grants scholarships, and presents awards.

Nov 14, 2006