Parliament pays tribute to Nelson Mandela
EU flags are flying at half-mast at the European Parliament in tribute to Nelson Mandela who died at the age of 95 on 5 December. Speaking after the death of Mandela, EP president Martin Schulz said: "South Africa today loses its father, the world loses a hero. I pay tribute to one of the greatest humans of our time.” Mandela was the first recipient of the Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
Mandela visited the European Parliament in June 1990, just months after being released from prison, to receive the 1988 Sakharov Prize. Like a number of other recipients over the years, he was unable to attend the award ceremony in 1988 as he was imprisoned by the apartheid regime.
"Through his leadership and personal example, Nelson Mandela gave new meaning to words such as freedom, equality, justice, reconciliation and forgiveness,” said Mr Schulz.
European Parliament and South Africa
EP relations with the South Africa Parliament were frozen during the apartheid years. The European Parliament created a delegation for relations with South Africa in 1994, the year of the elections that marked the end of apartheid.