By Arta Ertekin
Together Magazine has succombed to the charm of a European alchemist: Many people have often caught sight of this charismatic character who has no hesitation in cycling around the city, come rain, snow or gale, or even riding a scooter!
We were lucky enough to meet Frank Schwalba-Hoth. His curriculum vitae barely fits onto two tightly-packed pages. His title? It’s easy to get confused, it as he’s active in so many different fields. But we won’t forget the fact that he’s a former Euro-MP, that he was head of the European office of Greenpeace, that he’s a political adviser and that, once a month, he holds parties designed to bring people together, to establish important professional contacts as well as friendship, love and sharing.
His nationality? German.
His philosophy? The firm conviction that “alchemy” is precisely what’s required in order to understand how to improve things: “I like to put together the ingredients to create something new. So we can call it a win-win situation, finding a role for everyone in order to achieve something more satisfying.”
The free Electron
Mr Schwalba-Hoth describes himself as a “free electron“. For example, he works in the European Parliament most of the time in order to put in place key campaigns for the “Greens” but also to do other work close to his heart (Lester Brown’s visit to Brussels , organising an event to pay tribute to the journalist Hrant Dink, murdered some time ago, for example). He also helps with other events, independent of the European institutions, which he deals with in another office. He’s a leading personality. And his career path? He says it’s “logical“. Frank Schwalba-Hoth explains to us that, for the young activist student he once was, in an Germany that was, somehow or other, coming to terms with the post-war period, it was “logical” for him to take part in founding the Greens in Germany. From then on, he was to be propelled into the arena of the battles that would challenge him in the future.
Brussels and the European Parliament: Places of discovery
His area of activity is not unimportant. For our man, it’s interesting to move within the European institutions because they offer a series of questions, particularly those regarding the relations the countries maintain between themselves.
What could improve international understanding? “Mutual respect,” exclaims Frank. Moreover, that environment allows you to make countless discoveries every day:
“In the European Parliament, there’s no one culture that dominates; many communities rub shoulders in the same way.” As for Brussels, “Frank” sees it as a capital where anything’s possible: ” Brussels is a city that’s still looking for its identity and it doesn’t reject newcomers…”
Frank Schwalba-Hoth’s popularity doesn’t surprise us. He understands the fascination aroused by the European institutions in our city and tries, when he can, to open them up to us.
For those who so wish, he’ll put together an absorbing guided tour on which, for a little while, you’ll feel like the most important person in the world.