Many members and friends of the European Movement will be sad to learn of the death of Sir Julian Priestley.
In a long and distinguished career, Julian was for ten years the Secretary General of the European Parliament – the highest ranking EU civil servant – having risen through the ranks of the Parliament secretariat.
In his youth, Julian led the youth section of the European Movement in the 1975 referendum campaign, receiving many plaudits not least for a speech to the pro-Europe rally on Trafalgar Square where he out-performed the previous speakers, Ted Heath, Roy Jenkins and Jeremy Thorpe.
Although he had several opportunities to enter British politics – and with his grasp of issues, his mellifluous voice and his good looks, he would have reached the highest levels – he chose to dedicate his career to Europe, and in particular to building a democratic Europe with a central position for the elected European Parliament.
He will be remembered as one of the Brits who helped build the EU as we now know it, sadly just as we seem likely to leave.
Vice Chair of European Movement UK