2017 European Prize for Political Culture goes to Margrethe Vestager

This year’s European Prize for Political Culture has been awarded to the Danish EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. Every year, the Hans Ringier Foundation designates the winner of this 50 000 euro cash prize, which is presented at a special ceremony held in Ascona on the first Saturday in August. In previous years, the prize has been awarded to Jean-Claude Juncker, Boris Tadić, Jürgen Habermas, Pascal Lamy, Jean-Claude Trichet, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Donald Tusk, Wolfgang Schäuble, Heinrich August Winkler, Mario Draghi and Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

On Saturday evening, August 5, 2017, the Hans Ringier Foundation presented the European Prize for Political Culture to Margrethe Vestager in Ascona. The ceremony was hosted by Frank A. Meyer, who explained the Foundation’s reasons for their 2017 choice with these words, “Europe has been inspired by Margrethe Vestager’s steadfast actions in countering abusive practices by powerful business interests in the digital economy. By consistently ensuring that European law is observed, she has demonstrated her commitment to free and fair competition, thus benefiting both consumers and service providers.”

Margrethe Vestager will donate the entirety of her prize money to the Save the Children organisation.

In a speech honouring this year’s prize winner, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Brigitte Zypries was keen to emphasise that, “Margrethe Vestager has well and truly earned this year’s European Prize for Political Culture. As the EU’s Competition Commissioner, she does not shy away from applying the full force of the law to multinational conglomerates and from using substantial penalties to remind them of their obligation to engage in fair competition. Thanks to her actions, the citizens of the EU’s member states can be sure that individual countries are not powerless in our globalised world and that both democracy and the rule of law can only benefit from an approach based on critical evaluation.”

The Hans Ringier Foundation’s prize was presented by Frank A. Meyer at the traditional dîner républicain held at the Castello del Sole Hotel in Ascona. Since it was first instituted 44 years ago, the dîner républicain has been held during the Locarno International Film Festival, which always provides a suitably festive backdrop to a gathering bringing together personalities from politics, business, science and culture. Guests attending the prize giving this year included Federal Councillor Alain Berset, former German Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, First Mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz, Chairman of the German Federal Council’s Commission on Foreign Affairs Norbert Röttgen, Secretary of State for the German Federal Presidency Stephan Steinlein, German Free Democratic Party leader Christian Lindner, former German Federal Constitutional judge Udo di Fabio and Philipp Rösler, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum. Among the guests representing the world of culture were the authors Adolf Muschg and Robert Menasse and the actress Martina Gedeck.