Tribute to Michel Marcus, co-founder and former Executive Director of Efus

Also in... (Français)

Michel MarcusMany of you share our sorrow following the passing of Michel Marcus, on 10 November 2016,  and many of you have shared memories with us. We thank you.

Almost 30 years ago, Michel Marcus, together with Gilbert Bonnemaison and several French, Spanish, Belgian, and Italian comrades, including some from the Council of Europe, had this intuition that the future was European and that it laid in our cities as much as in the States, or even more so. He also had this idea that crime prevention must be promoted as an essential aspect of security policies, at the same level as sanction and social cohesion policies.

Michel Marcus knew that the future – in particular the future of politics – lies in cities, and his action paved the way for the diplomacy of cities that we are now seeing emerging.

Michel Marcus was in love with cities. He could very well have adopted this German proverb as his motto, “The air of cities brings freedom.” He was also in love with freedom, which is at the core of his vision of security. He assumed the complexity of this vision of security. Calling over and over again to refuse easy solutions. Being bold enough to disrupt or even offend. Focusing on co-building what should be a common good rather than a privilege. Giving priority to the security of the weakest among us as the only way to guarantee security for all.

The voice of Michel Marcus will keep resonating in European cities, in the local crime prevention councils of Besançon, Montreuil, Barcelona, Brussels, and Modena, in our memory and in our practices.

He tirelessly crisscrossed Europe and the world with his immense curiosity for people and for the cities of the world, and with phenomenal audacity.   

His natural authority, his subtle humour, his unique intelligence that inspired his unique vision made him feel at home anywhere in the world – and he never failed to impress those he met.

These exchanges allowed everyone – elected officials, practitioners, members of the volunteer sector – to adopt the Forum’s principles and to bring about together a clear vision of a peaceful city and a reconciled Europe.

Marcus was fascinated by intellectual, artistic and urban creation. This quest for innovation and his visionary character have fascinated and energised all the people who have worked for the Forum since its foundation.

Each of us who has met Michel Marcus, either briefly at a meeting, or during project, or over a long period of time, at the Forum or in France or anywhere in the world, will forever keep within a spark of his unique energy.

We are happy to share with you a selection of his writings (in French) and a series of pictures that illustrate his lifelong work in favour of crime prevention and the building of a Europe of cities.

Elizabeth Johnston
and the Forum’s team