In perhaps the most emotional part of the Congress, the EHF paid tribute to some of people who have contributed the most to the development of the federation over the past 25 years with the awarding of its honorary members, a tradition at the conclusion of each election period.
Rui Coelho was presented with his award by Monika Fixeder, the federation's senior manager responsible for legal affairs. As one of the founding fathers of the federation, Coehlo has given 25 years of service to the EHF and indeed dedicated his entire life to the sport.
As one of the EHF's pioneers he organised the very first EHF EURO event in his native Portugal and has also served in many of the EHF's legal bodies since the very foundation of the federation in 1991. Monika Flixeder thanked him personally not only for his outstanding cooperation but also his friendship over many years.
The EHF Treasurer was presented with his award by Andrea Moser, the federation's Chief Finance Officer. After many years of service on the EHF Executive Committee, first as a member and then as treasurer, Ralf Dejaco has been responsible for overseeing the stable finances of the federation. He confirmed in his speech to Congress that he plans to continue his work in handball in his native Italy to further promote the status and standing of the sport there.
The EHF's Vice President was presented with his award by Michael Wiederer, the EHF Secretary General, Wiederer paid tribute to a man, whose stability and loyalty has been valued by so many of his colleagues within the EHF Executive Committee. He went on to praise Arne Elovsson's outstanding contribution to the sport, especially in the area of competitions and also as a defender of the broad interests of European handball.
The outstanding contribution of Jean Brihault, EHF President since 2012 and Vice President from 2004, and the 'Honorary President' award was presented to Congress by Michael Wiederer. He spoke of Jean Brihault's skills as a diplomat and his approach to his role, never acting in his own interests but always for the good of the sport, especially in areas such as education and development. He also said that he admired Brihault for standing by his side, looking forward, baring teeth when necessary and never thinking only of himself.
In accepting the honorary title, Jean Brihault apologised for his humour during the Congress, concluding:" the Celtic streak in me means that I must joke, otherwise I will cry, because I love you."
Congress delegates paid tribute to Jean and the other recipients, greeting their awards with standing ovations in recognition of their contribution to the success of the EHF over the past quarter of a century.