By Russell Bruce
Constance or Konstanz is a German university town in South East Germany and part of Bavaria. The Constance Council dates back over 600 years. From medieval times it was concerned to promote peace and understanding across borders. The prize was created to mark the 600 anniversary and is now awarded every two years.
The 2021 prize is the fourth to be awarded for European Encounters and Exchanges recognising the work of someone who has done much to promote the European ideal. As presenter Scotland’s First Minister acts as Patron of the fourth award to be made on 10th December.
The Constance Council’s board of trustees selected Nicola Sturgeon as this year’s patron due to her work as “a convinced European” and “champion of European values”. The First Minister gets to propose this year’s winner and we will find out who that is on 10th December when Sturgeon makes the 2021 award.
There are two things that are remarkable about Sturgeon’s choice as presenter. She is the first serving politician to be awarded the role of presenter and the first outside the Germanic speaking nations and regions of mainland Europe. Both English and Scots are considered West Germanic languages. She is also the first woman to become Patron. If we were to hazard a guess on who will receive the award from the First Minister we will go no further than to suggest it will be a woman for the first time.
Adolf Muschg a writer and professor of literature at the University of Zurich was the first Patron 2015. He was followed in 2017 by the Archbishop of Munich & Frisingen, Reinhard Cardinal Marx. In 2017 the choice moved more into the political sphere with the choice of Herman van Rompuy. No longer a serving politician, but a former Prime Minister of Belgium from The Christain Democrat and Flemish party who became the first permanent secretary of the European Council, the body that comprises the governmental heads of EU member states on which the UK was formerly included. He is chair of the board of the College of Europe.
Constance (Konstanz) is a popular tourist destination. The borders with Switzerland and Austria run through Lake Constance.
In other news
There was a budget today that cut the 28% tax on a bottle of Dom Pérignon 2010 vintage at £195. Does also apply to the average price of an Italian Procsecco at around £6 to £7 a bottle. So happy Xmas? Well no – changes don’t come into force for 15 months in February 2023 and it will be those that can afford Dom Pérignon who will gain most.
Leading Brexiteer Tim Martin of Wetherspoons will get a cut of 3p a pint on his barrels of draft mass produced beer, as will other pubs – in due course. Producers of real ale are somewhat pissed off they are excluded. Altogether a budget of smoke and mirrors suggesting much and delivering little in real terms.
Kate Forbes commented on Twitter:
A ‘show of strength’ would have been investing in the most advanced carbon capture utilisation and storage facility in the north east – creating up to 20k jobs, using the skills and infrastructure already there and enabling Scotland to meet its climate change targets.