Journalism Award “Writing for CEE 2015” Goes to Martin Leidenfrost

Published: November 18, 2015; 19:00 · Updated: November 20; 19:00 · (FriedlNews)

The EUR 5,000 "Writing for CEE" journalist prize has been awarded for the twelfth time. Journalists from all round Europe – including Northern Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe and the CIS countries – have been invited to submit their works. The Austrian Journalist Martin Leidenfrost wins the “Writing for CEE 2015” award for his column "Expedition Europe". At the award ceremony writer and honorary guest Karl-Markus Gauß touched on the discovery of Europe and SEEMO Secretary General Oliver Vujovic said, that Europe faces new boundaries and divisions.

Journalism award “Writing for CEE 2015” goes again to Martin Leidenfrost / Picture: ©

In his essays Leidenfrost - who had also won the award in 2007 - tells of his travels through Europe. He wrote about the role of the Cossacks in the Ukraine conflict, researched the backgrounds of self-immolations in Bulgaria or set out on the search for national Tobacconists in Hungary.

He "constantly" wanders through Europe on the "Search for ideas and inspirations, for a soul of Europe," said Leidenfrost.

With his lyrics he wants to "build intellectual bridges between the one or other corner of Europe".

One issue has eclipsed all others in the media this year: the refugee crisis. Hundreds of thousands of people have migrated to the EU and not been welcome everywhere. The refugees revealed differences and boundaries within Europe. Iron fences have been built, intellectual divisions between “East” and “West” torn open.

Video: © APA - Austria Presse Agentur

The annual "Writing for CEE" journalism award of APA - Austria Presse Agentur and UniCredit Bank Austria was given in 2015 for the twelfth time.

The objective of the award is to promote journalistic treatment of issues pertaining to European integration. Reports which focus on CEE, serve the purpose of mutual understanding and transcend borders as well as bias are awarded. The award aims to promote journalistic debate with issues of European integration. Articles are recognised that deal with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), support mutual understanding and overcome barriers as well as prejudices. “The submissions from more than 20 countries clearly demonstrate that this message is being heard throughout CEE and beyond”, emphasised chairman of the jury Ambros Kindel.

Former winners include Czech journalist Lubos Palata (2004), Bulgarian author Diana Ivanova (2005), Bosnian journalist Sefik Dautbegovic (2006), this year's winner Martin Leidenfrost himself (2007), radio journalist Anna Koktsidou born in Greece but who grew up in Germany (2008), Austrian investigative journalist and book author Florian Klenk (2009), Bosnian-born author Azra Nuhefendic who lives in Italy (2010), Slovenian journalist and photographer Meta Krese (2011), Czech journalist Martin Ehl (2012), French journalists Laurent Geslin and Sebastien Gobert (2013) and German journalist Takis Würger (2014).

Members of the jury were "Spiegel" reporter Takis Würger, the previous year's winner, the Polish journalist Pawel Bravo, the Bulgarian journalist Ivan Bakalov, the communications advisor Ildiko Füredi-Kolarik, the CEE Spokesperson of UniCredit Bank Austria, Tiemon Kiesenhofer, the Czech communications scientist Milan Smid, the Hungarian radio
journalist Julia Varadi, the Austrian journalist Cornelia Vospernik, SEEMO Chef Oliver Vujovic and the jury spokeswoman, the Deputy Head of APA foreign policy, Alexandra Demcisin.

Among the best texts in 2015 include also:

- Eva Konzett, Marijana Miljkovic and André Kühnlenz: "Chinesische Investitionen in Osteuropa" ("WirtschaftsBlatt")
- Christian Geinitz: "Die Köhler aus dem Kosovo wollen nur noch weg" ("Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung")
- Elena Stancu: "Roma Coppersmiths in Corcova" (
- Paul Dobrovolsky : "Internal world of DPR" ("Novoe Vremya Magazine")
- Adelheid Wölfl: "Erinnern ohne zu entzweien" ("Der Standard")

The "Writing for CEE" award is advertised from mid-April to end of July each year and it is eligible to journalistic works, which were published between 1 August of the previous year and the end of the submission period (end of July of the current year). Transcripts of radio and television programmes as well as online articles are also welcome. The winner will be announced at a gala event, which is typically held in November in Vienna. The article in the original language, an English translation and the author's curriculum vitae are required for entry. The submissions should reflect on life in Europe and the countries of Europe and on the hopes, cares and dreams of Europe's people, and should contribute to closer ties between the countries and to overcoming prejudice.

The laureate is selected by a jury, which meets in various constellations and which includes the Czech communications expert Milan Smid, the Slovakian publicist Michael Berko, the communications advisor Ildiko Füredi-Kolarik, the Polish journalists Igor Janke and Pawel Bravo, the former advisor to the Czech president Jiri Pehe, the Hungarian radio journalist Julia Varadi, the Bulgarian author Janina Dragostinova, UniCredit Bank Austria's CEE spokesman Tiemon Kiesenhofer and the chairman of the jury, journalist and author Ambros Kindel.

In 2003 / 2004 UniCredit Bank Austria and APA – Austrian Press Agency initiated the "Writing for CEE" European journalism prize. The international award, which aims at encouraging European integration and promoting intercultural understanding, was then assigned to the Czech journalist Lubos Palata. In accordance with the conditions of participation his articles pointedly highlighted the lifestyle, challenges, culture and arts in Central and Eastern Europe.

The list of "Writing for CEE" laureates:

2015 - Martin Leidenfrost, Austria
Title: "Expedition Europa"

2014 - Takis Würger, Germany
Title: "Illitschiwsk Report"

2013 - Sébastien Gobert and Laurent Geslin, France
Title: "Article in Le Monde diplomatique”

2012 - Martin Ehl, Czech Republic
Title: "No longer so powerless"

2011 - Meta Krese, Slovenia
Title: "Living conditions - At home with the Roma in Dolensjka"

2010 - Azra Nuhefendic, Bosnia / Italy
Title: "The train"

2009 - Florian Klenk, Austria
Title: "Behind the wire"

2008 - Anna Koktsiduo, Greece / Germany
Title: "Faces of Europe: The new foreigners – Greece and its immigrants"

2007 - Martin Leidenfrost, Austria
Title: "The world behind Vienna – A series on Central Europe"

2006 - Sefik Dautbegovic, Bosnia
Title: "My country - which road to Europe"

2005 - Diana Ivanova, Bulgaria
Title: "Frau Bulgarin, Ivan Milev and Gustav Klimt"

2004 - Lubos Palata, Czech Republic
Title: "The seventh stage of powerlessness"  

Although the topics of the submissions should be Europe-oriented, recent years have shown that the prize has extended its borders beyond Europe, as the jury was happy also to receive submissions from the USA, Canada, Russia and CIS countries.

The "Writing for CEE" award is endowed with EUR 5,000.