For the 15th edition of the SOLIDAR Silver Rose Awards the Jury has unanimously decided to grant a Lifetime Achievement Award to Miguel Ángel Martínez Martínez. His lifetime has been filled with meaningful political involvements and achievements, contributing to both Spain and the European project. Mr. Martínez Martínez has been active from a very early age, first as an activist within the student’s movement resistance, fighting the fascist dictatorship in his country, Spain, in the late 1950s. As a leader of the reconstructed underground Spanish Socialist Youth Organisation, he was arrested, tortured, tried, sentenced and imprisoned by the totalitarian authorities in Madrid. Later he managed to escape and had to live in exile for 14 years in France, Austria and Belgium.
In 1976 Miguel Ángel Martínez Martínez returned to Madrid and worked on the reconstruction of the newly legalised Spanish Trade Unions (UGT) and the transformation of the Socialist Party (PSOE). He was elected as a member of the Congress of Deputies of Spain in the first democratic elections ever held in his country since 1936, and later re-elected up to six times, remaining an active national MP until he ran for a seat in the European Parliament in 1999. Meanwhile he forged a long career in European and international affairs as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe which he chaired between 1992 and 1996, the Assembly of the Western European Union, of which he was Vice President from 1986 to 1996, and in the World Interparliamentary Union (IPU) where he was Vice-President and later President.
As a member of the European Parliament, he was mainly involved with the enlargement of the European Union and with development cooperation with Third World countries. Having become a Vice-President of the European Parliament in 2007 (re-elected in 2009 and 2011) he was mainly involved in relations with the Member States’ national Parliaments and responsible for negotiations between candidate countries.
Miguel Ángel Martínez Martínez studied in Madrid, Toulouse and Vienna. He has been awarded decorations from over 30 countries from all continents, including 21 Member States, and received University distinctions like the Comenius Gold Medal of the University of Bratislava and HC Doctorates from those of Aberdeen, Cluj and Moscow. He is currently Honorary President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and of the World Interparliamentary Union (IPU).