Editorial EStAL Quarterly 4/2022
Two Green Books
20 years ago it was the first time that this Quarterly went to press. This year, now drawing to its close and having marked its round birthday, saw the publication of the Milestones Book, the colour of which is the same as that of the Quarterly, namely green.
When I thought about what to put into the editorial of the last issue of this Quarterly published in the year that marked its 20th birthday, what sprang to my mind was the 2018 motion picture “The Green Book”. It tells the story of an African – American pianist, Don Shirley, starred by Mahershala Ali, who is embarking on a two months long concert tour to the so-called Deep South of the United States in the year of 1962. This was the time of racial segregation during which blacks, still referred to as “negroes” at the time, were not universally served in restaurants, hotels, motels or filling stations. Said Don Shirley needed protection down there and this is why he hired American – Italian bouncer Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, performed by Viggo Mortenson, as his driver. When they started their tour departing from New York, Tony Lip was handed a book by Don´s butler, called the “Negro Motorist Green Book”. This “Green Book” listed the places where “negroes” were served at the time and therefore provided a guide for Tony Lip telling him where he could stop with his boss and where not.
Two green books these are. How do they compare?
Both green books were, respectively are addressed to a niche demand, on the one hand blacks looking for where they were admitted to stay, eat, or put fuel into their vehicles, and people looking to learn something about EU State aid law on the other. Both of them qualify as guides.
The “Green Book” motion picture won numerous awards, amongst them three academy awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Ali. In the year 2022 it was not only that the green Milestones book got published; moreover it was the second time that the “green Quarterly” awarded its PhD award. Both prizes, the one awarded in 2022 and the one that had been awarded six years earlier, went to two young ladies from Poland.
Most importantly however, in my view, both green books are eyewitnesses to times evolving. Being an indispensable tool for blacks to find shelter, food, and fuel still in the 1960ies, from today´s perspective it seems fallen out of time that a person of colour could be denied such things. The “Negro Motorist Green Book” stopped going to print already many years ago, its last edition dating back to the year 1966. Quite conversely so, when the “green Quarterly” first went to press, very few would have imagined that twenty years later a “green book” would hallmark its round anniversary. It is also thanks to these green products that State aid law has been able to leave the shadows of backrooms where civil servants spoke to one another to the exclusion of all others, but has entered the bright daylight of being recognised as a discipline in its own right.
The “Negro Motorist Green Book” stopped being published after thirty years. My prophesy today is that green journals and green books on European State aid law will still be published for many more years.
A review published in the preceding issue of this Quarterly suggested that the green Milestones book could just as well have been named “liber amica(o)rum, the Pan – European practice of State aid law in the European Union being the jubilee for this group of amicae(i)”. And, again in parallel, the motion picture of 2018 shows Don Shirley and Tony Lip becoming amici. When returning from their concert tour to New York on Christmas eve, Don, subsequent to initial hesitations, joins the Christmas party of Tony´s family, most warmly greeted by the latter. And just as Don addresses Tony´s wife by the words “Thank you so much of having shared your husband with me”, I speak on behalf of the editors of both the Milestones book and of the Quarterly as well as the Lexxion publishing house when I say in light of the upcoming Christmas 2022: “Thank you so much for having shared your time in 2022 with us”.