I refer to my earlier posting titled "Mr. Florian Müller Nominated as 'European of the Year'". Yesterday, the newspaper European Voice has presented the "EV50 Europeans of the Year" awards in Brussels. Now, Mr. Müller has published a statement from which I quote excerpts as given below:
"[...] I was proclaimed as the winner of the 'EU Campaigner of the Year' category award for my work on the NoSoftwarePatents.com campaign. In that category, I was competing with five other nominees, including U2 frontman Bono and another rock star, Bob Geldof. The rules were such that the overall winner could not simultaneously win the category. Initially, I accepted the category award, not enthusiastically but because I did not want to cause any impression of an emotional overreaction by immediately declining it. I awaited the presentation of the remaining awards. After the overall "European of the Year" award had been given to Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, the organizers wanted to take a picture of all ten winners with their trophies. Before the photograph, I gave the award trophy back to Mr. Dennis Landsbert-Noon, the publisher of the European Voice, and left.
I told Mr. Landsbert-Noon that I had, after serious consideration, 'decided not to accept the award', and that I will issue further statements after obtaining legal advice.
Obviously it was a difficult decision to decline a category award that has been won by famous people, most notably the late Pope John Paul II in the year 2002. I was fully aware of the fact that this action would potentially affect decisions by other award juries in the future as well as my relationship with the organizers and sponsors of the EV50.
My greatest concern was that by declining the EU Campaigner of the Year award, I would disappoint the many who have voted for me and those who have supported our tremendously impactful Internet campaign for votes.
However, it was in my opinion the only appropriate action, and I will soon explain the reasons to do so. In the meantime, please understand that I will not be able to answer further questions on this subject.
I also have an anecdote to tell that many will find amusing. Mr. Michel Rocard, a member of the European Parliament (MEP) and former prime minister of France, received the "MEP of the Year" award for his work on the software patent directive. In his acceptance speech, he mentioned Microsoft's sponsorship of the EV50 awards several times. While Microsoft supported the proposed directive, Mr. Rocard wanted to very clearly exclude software from the scope of patentability. Mr. Rocard had a special message for Microsoft and EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy: "You will discover that we were right."
Mr. Rocard could additionally have mentioned that Burson-Marsteller, a PR and lobbying firm with offices in many cities including Brussels, counts Microsoft (as well as other corporations with a similar position on software patents) among its clients. Burson-Marsteller was involved in the organization of the EV50. [...]"
It seems to be quite an irony that the EV50 award pushing Mr. Rocard and anti-IP positions appears co-sponsored by Microsoft. And, of course, such zig-zag behaviour as exhibited by Mr. Müller surely is not suitable to enhance public esteem of anti-patent campaigners in the general public (perhaps apart from some Internet geeks and nerds scene).
Moreover, at the General Assembly of the FFII e.V. held yesterday in Brussels, Mr. Hartmut Pilch was replaced as President of this organisation by Mr. Pieter Hintjens, CEO of iMatix, after a fierce and controversial debate (see this report on Heise-Ticker [in German only; sorry.]). Maybe that the best days of FFII are already over.
The probability that the election of the "European of the year" title has been manipulated. I do not see how Mr Juncker can outweight the number of votes that Florian Muller had probably received. Futhermore, no numbers has been published by European Voice. And they won't probably do so...