This is the autobiography of former president of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Pöttering, published for the first time in English.
His autobiography is both a personal story and a narrative of Europe’s journey out of the chaos and hatred of World War II and the post-war division between East and West. The author never knew his father, who was killed in the last stages of the war and, as he writes, “it was the death of my father that motivated my European life”. The greatest political influence in his formative years was Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of the new Federal Republic of Germany and one of the “founding fathers” of what is now the European Union: “this new concept for the future of Europe captivated me from early in my life”.
A widely popular and determined leader in the European Parliament, the author is a staunch defender of the institutions created to give the “Community method” expression – for, as he writes, quoting Jean Monnet, “nothing is possible without men, but nothing is lasting without institutions”.
At this point of danger of European fragmentation, United for the Better is a timely reminder of all that has been achieved and the perils of forgetting our common history.
The book’s title comes from the words of the EU’s Berlin Declaration of 25 March 2007: “We, the citizens of the European Union, have united for the better”.
545 pages including 32 pages of colour plates.
Part I: My impressionable years
Part II: Putting Parliament to the test: rising to the challenges of German unity and European unification
Part III: Leading the EPP Group and mapping out its European policy
Part IV: President of the European Parliament, caught up in the quest for a European Constitution
Part V: Standing up for human dignity
Part VI: Everything has its time
Index of persons
Hans-Gert Pöttering, now the chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS), was a German Christian Democrat member of the European Parliament from 1979-2014, leading the centre-right EPP-ED group from 1999-2007 and serving as Parliament’s president in 2007-2009.