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Internal Policies and EU Institutions

Speech at the presentation of the 'Lux' film prize in the European Parliament

Strasbourg -
2009 LUX Prize Award ceremony (Strasbourg, 25/11/2009)
2009 LUX Prize Award ceremony (Strasbourg, 25/11/2009)

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Fellow Members,

Today I have the honour of presenting the Lux Prize 2009 on behalf of the European Parliament. This is the third time our Parliament has bestowed this award.

The Lux Prize is a young and forward-looking initiative, and one of which we expect much. We want the medium of film to spark debate on subjects that attract public attention in the European Union's Member States, and make people ask questions. The important questions are those that can affect us all, those that are posed by the most sensitive and insightful artists. These are the issues that are also relevant to this Parliament.

This year's three finalists all meet that challenge in their own particular way. 'Eastern Plays', directed by Kamen Kalev, addresses the issue of intolerance through the prism of neo-Nazi violence. Hans-Christian Schmid's film, 'Sturm', looks at the fate of both accused and witnesses testifying before the Hague Tribunal for War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia. It deals with the tragedy of rape victims in war. And finally, the third film, Philippe Lioret's 'Welcome', takes us into the world of immigrants in Europe and their hopes for a better future. These are all issues that are of great interest to Europe's citizens and important to all of us, issues to which we cannot remain indifferent.

The second ambition we have for our film prize is, of course, for it to help break down language barriers. We want to be multilingual. Therefore the winner of this prize will have the opportunity to have their film subtitled in all 23 official languages of the European Union so that it can be watched by all EU citizens in their own language.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In closing, I would like to offer a brief personal reflection. I am the father of an actress. My daughter acts in both films and plays. I know how exhausting that work is, how difficult it is when a film is first shown to the public, whether it is a film you have directed or a film in which you have acted, and you have enormous doubts about how we, the public, will react to all the hard work you have put in.

And so I turn to you, the finalists. I believe I am particularly able to appreciate your effort and your devotion. We are pleased that your work has helped all of us to gain a better understanding of what the European Union is, and how many challenges still lie before us. I would like to say, on behalf of everyone gathered here today, that all three films are winners. But there is only one prize, and it can go to only one of you.

Before I announce the winners, I would like to extend my very best wishes and congratulations to all of you. Well done. You are all our winners.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would now like to announce the winner of the Lux Prize for 2009 ... and the winner is 'Welcome', by Philippe Lioret.