Good-bye and thank you
I would hereby like to say good-bye to you and to my office as former member of the European Parliament. I have served this post for 15 years with great satisfaction. Of course, I would have loved to continue for the next five years, representing German citicens and the interests of our regions in Niedersachsen in the EU. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible due to the bad results for the SPD and our list of candidates in the European Elections 2009.
The bad election results for Germany’s Social Democrats were matched by similar bad results for Social Democrats all around Europe. Exceptions were found in Greece and Sweden. As a whole these results reveal deep rooted problems the SPD will have to face in the near future. Over all, the results are problematic for the SPD and indicate that the party lacks convincing concepts to solve important problems.
My leaving the European Parliament on the other hand was not compelled by my own election results. Far from it, in all my electoral districts in Niedersachsen, I received more than 30 percent of the vote (the only exception was Göttingen with 28 percent). My voters were loyal and furthermore they supported me and the party as intensively as ever. Therefore, I would like to heartily thank everyone.
Unfortunately, the SPD is still not able to nominate it’s political candidates in a procedure that is recognizable as democratic. One can only hope, this will change in the future. In all other European countries nearly all Social Democrat parties has this long been achieved.
I will now be orienting myself in a new direction professionally and to this end, I am conducting numerous conversations. Some of my running projects in Niedersachsen I would like to continue to support, even if within a new framework but this is by no means assured as I will have to first concentrate on my new occupational orientation.
What I can already say is that two of my prior responsibilites as member of the European Parliament will continue and hopefully even be intensified: my duties as Senior Fellow for the US American Atlantic Council and my work as political adviser and negotiator for Art of Living Foundation, an international NRO that works to stabilise international crisis regions. And certainly, I will be intensivly engaged in European politics in the near future as well. Starting from September, I will have a broader perspective and I will then be able to inform you on a wider scale about my polical engagements and about the new shape of my website. Of course this website will continue to present first-class background information about international political trends and interrelations.
To end, I would like to tell everyone, it has always been a distinct pleasure to work with you. Let us continue this work – wherever it is possible. To my colleagues, friends and business partners - I wish you good luck for the future.