Man will one day be faced with the choice of either uniting under a true law of nations or destroying with a few blows the civilization he has built up over thousands of years: then, necessity will compel him to do what he ought better to have done long ago of his own free reason.
Immanuel Kant, quoted by Willy Brandt in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 1971
Trying to commemorate the life of Willy Brandt posed a tremendous challenge. The answer was, of course, in Brandt himself, his legacy and his vision for the future. On the eve of what would have been his 100th birthday, the S&D Group invited several prominent socialist personalities to give testimony on his legacy and his vision for peace and justice and to transmit their ideas to the thirty students present at the venue. On 10 December 2013, Martin Schulz, Hannes Swoboda, Enrique Barón Crespo, Klaus Hänsch, Beate Weber-Schuerholz, Wibke Bruhns and Giovanni Cervetti gathered at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to celebrate Brandt's centenary by proposing a future built on his ideas and by daring to go further.
In our hearts and in our minds, Willy Brandt's message of reconciliation with the past, his "silent apology", and his will to bring countries and nations together is very well alive. As of today, Brandt's dream of a unified Germany made the country pull through as highly influential global actor during a period of strong political turmoil all through the old continent. Europe, despite the financial crisis that has been dealing with for the past years, still found the way to renew itself and Croatia became the 28th Member State of the European Union. This accomplishment, together with the accession of the former countries under Soviet influence, is a strong legacy that Willy Brandt left us, even if he didn't live enough to see it happen. More than ever, the Progressives in Europe need to hold together in the defence of Europe as a space for Social Justice and Equality, for Economic growth and stability, a place where young people can work, live and fulfil their dreams. It is for this ideal that we continue to move forward in the defence of global and progressive world.
The video that follows is S&D Group's tribute to a man who defied History and helped shaping it. Here's to Willy Brandt