Ferdinando Riccardi, the long serving editor-in-chief of Agence Europe passed away on 22 September, after being a pillar of the Brussels press corps for decades. Two of EURACTIV’s talking heads contemplate his legacy.
Georgi Gotev, senior editor of EURACTIV.com:
“I was one of the five diplomats who opened the Mission of Bulgaria to the European Communities in 1993. It was very difficult at that time to have contacts and obtain quality information about the Union for a non-member country.
For me the editorials by Ferdinando Riccardi were a treasure of information and wisdom about the Union we wanted to join. I was overwhelmed with his journalistic talent and frankly, I wanted to be like him. I consider him one of my teachers.
Later, I became a journalist and made a documentary film about Jacques Delors for a Bulgarian TV channel. With this experience I realised how close and like-minded these two great people were. I was so lucky to know the ‘Vintage EU’, of which so little has remained. Maybe Juncker is the last Mohican.”
Christophe Leclercq, founder of EURACTIV:
“Debriefing the influence of Ferdinando Riccardi also helps understand the role of the media for Europe. His editorials (and before him Emanuele Gazzo’s) have been a compass for EU circles. During the Delors era everybody read them. But Ferdinando initially saw me as an incarnation of the devil: a non-journalist establishing an online media, accessible for free, thanks to sponsors…
Later, building on Fondation EURACTIV and our European Movement connections, I asked to have lunch with him. Together with his son Lorenzo, Ferdinando and I discovered strong common values. A conference on Rising media stars has just been held, based on the project #Media4EU. Maroun Labaki of the Press Club and I have decided to dedicate it to Ferdinando.
Lasting thoughts from these talks?
More importantly, the media should serve as a compass, more than ever in times of populism and fake news. The new digital and media Commissioner Mariya Gabriel is setting up a group on fake news: good! Riccardi was a bulwark against fake news. We need more Riccardis, with independent funding for innovation to sustain them.”
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Views are the author’s