Van Middelaar, speechwriter for European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, won the award for his work Le Passage à l’Europe or Europe’s passage.
Rolf Baueridick won the novel category prize with Madonna on the Moon, which explores the relationship between the Roma and a small village community in Romania before the fall of Communism.
Van Rompuy summarised in two sentences the value of the book prize, established in 2007 and presented annually in December by the Socialist group in the European Parliament. “Books have taught Europe, books have given us Europe," he said.
In an interview, Van Middelaar said: ‘‘Each time during crises countries find out that their political links hold everything together and are stronger than imagined and that sometimes they are even stronger than economic or other interests."
During a debate in Parliament, former Commission President Jacques Delors and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt deplored the lack of narrative that fix Europe's boring reputation.
Each of the winners will receive €10,000.