Politicians and journalists in Brussels joined Monday (29 August) in paying tribute to the Guardian’s veteran correspondent, Ian Traynor, who died of cancer over the weekend.
Traynor, who had reported on the Balkan wars, as well as the fall of the Berlin Wall, had been the liberal newspaper’s Brussels-based Europe editor since 2007.
Those who were often on the sharp end of his reporting were among the first to praise his tenacity and laconic intelligence.
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, called him a “big loss for European journalism”, with a “sharp, clear and inquisitive mind”.
A Glasgow-born Scot, Traynor was also praised by the politicians from his native land. Angus Robertson, the leader of the Scottish National Party in Westminster, called him a “great journalist”, whom he was “very proud to have worked with in the 1990s”.
Traynor was taken ill in the spring.
Denis MacShane, a former Europe minister in Tony Blair’s government, recalled, “Ian’s EU reporting was a cut above the others because he had seen the dark side of European nationalism in the Balkans and Central Europe and knew that whatever its faults and failings the aim of bringing Europe together was a worthy cause.
“Ever since the days of Boris Johnson too much of British reporting in mass circulation papers has been partisan aimed as pandering to the prejudices of off-shore proprietors. Ian was as critical as anyone when Brussels talked or did nonsense but he had a wider picture of Europe that informed his journalism.
“He was great fun even if he smoked too many roll-up cigarettes in the best Balkan style. He a witty, warm friend who I shall miss badly.”
Fellow journalists held Traynor in esteem, even if they worked for rival newspapers and outlets.
Times’ Brussels correspondent Bruno Waterfield, a fellow veteran who previously covered the EU for the Daily Telegraph, called him “indomitable journalist, a generous spirit, a kind friend.”
The Guardian itself, in its obituary, described him as a “rare combination of intellectual and foot-in-the-door hack.”
Editor Katherine Viner called him “a brilliant journalist…who will be hugely missed by both colleagues and readers.”
The Guardian obituary of Traynor is here.