5 questions with... Reinhard Bütikofer
Chess, Nashville and saying 'yes'.
Reinhard Bütikofer | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual
1. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive result?
I said ‘yes’ and then we married. It has already lasted more than 16 years.
2. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?
I visited the country music hall of fame in Nashville, Tennessee. I was there about 10 years ago on a tour through different states, talking about Europe. And yes, I do like bluegrass and Johnny Cash.
3. What was the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?
There have been many humbling moments. One came when I was first elected Secretary General of the German Greens. I won in the third round of voting with 50.1 per cent of the votes. After two years, I was re-elected with 51.1 per cent. I’m glad I’ve had better results in other elections since then.
4. What do you do in your free time to relax and unwind?
Play chess. I was youth champion in my home town, Speyer, in 1972, when I narrowly beat the other four participants in the tournament. My favourite chess master is Aron Nimzovitsch, who famously said, “The threat is stronger than the execution”.
5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?
The Bible and Das Capital. Both are revolutionary books with all of that term’s hopeful and awful implications.
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