Bringing Europe's Leaders Together

Eberhard von Koerber: a committed European

The Club of Three remembers the life, achievements and vision of a man who was a strong advocate of European values.

Eberhard von Koerber sadly passed away unexpectedly on 3 August. He was a tower of strength for the Club of Three over two decades. A close friend of our founder George Weidenfeld, Eberhard was part of the initial group of members who took part in the Club’s inaugural meeting in March 1996 and had been one of the most enthusiastic and inspiring advocates of our Franco-German-British initiative ever since.

As a steering group member, his advice and guidance was always coveted and greatly valued. It was therefore very natural that he became one of our two Vice-Presidents when the Club of Three updated its leadership structure in 2016 following the death of Lord Weidenfeld.

His spirit lives on with those of us who over the years have shared his belief that European cohesion was paramount if our continent was to remain influential worldwide. Years of experience in senior management positions in large companies including ABB and BMW Group had given him a powerful voice for increased competitiveness in Europe. In his eyes, the UK within the EU was a major player driving this agenda.

Eberhard always wanted Europe to be forward looking and entrepreneurial, which he saw as key conditions for the European system to thrive politically, economically and socially. These convictions did not just originate from a long career in business. They found their roots in his involvement in the Scout movement in Germany as a young boy during which time he learnt the values of initiative, responsibility and self-development. He remained very committed to this movement throughout his life and chaired the World Scout Foundation.

But Eberhard was also deeply convinced about the responsibility that both individuals and businesses had towards society as a whole. In addition to the Club of Three, he was involved in many other civil society initiatives such as the Wittenberg Centre for Global Ethics in Germany, which he co-founded. He was also Co-President of the Club of Rome, a member of the Clinton Global Initiative and Ambassador of the New Social Market Economy Initiative.

Lord Simon of Highbury, President of the Club of Three, spoke of the loss ‘of a great personal friend of the Club, who never wavered in his support for European integration and the spreading of our values’. We shall all miss him, for his energy, his warmth and his idealism.

Published in August 2017