Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday was awarded the European Prize Coudenhove-Kalergi 2020, a distinction he said honoured him.
“I am honoured to have been awarded the Coudenhove-Kalergi 2020 Prize,” said Iohannis, in a ceremony which took place at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace.
Attending the award ceremony were former President Emil Constantinescu; Chief of Defence Staff Daniel Petrescu; Acting Prime Minister Ludovic Orban; Prime Minister-designate Florin Citu; ministers; Save Romania Union (USR) national leader Dan Barna; People’s Movement Party (PMP) national leader Eugen Tomac; Director of Romania’s Intelligence Service (SRI) Eduard Hellvig; MEPs; lawmakers; diplomats; academics, church leaders. The event was also attended by president of the European People’s Party and former president of the European Council Donald Tusk, who delivered the laudation.
The prize was awarded by Prince Nikolaus von Liechtenstein, the president of the European Society Coudenhove-Kalergi.
The decision to award the European prize “Coudenhove-Kalergi” 2020 to President Klaus Iohannis was adopted by the members of the Society for “his outstanding merits as a politician, who, through his dedication to European values, contributes decisively to the deeper integration of Romania into the community of European states,” taking into account, at the same time, that “his political action has an exemplary function for a formerly divided Europe.”
The European award “Coudenhove-Kalergi” is one of the most prestigious distinctions awarded every two years to personalities who have contributed to the project of a united and peaceful Europe and it is awarded by the European Society Coudenhove-Kalergi, which was established in 1978 in honor of the “great European visionary” Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi.
Count Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi (1894-1972) developed the idea of a united Europe shortly after World War I, as a response to the totalitarian ideas of fascism, national-socialism and communism. In 1923, he founded the Pan-European Movement, also contributing, through his ideas, to the founding of European institutions. Coudenhove-Kalergi was the first recipient of the Charlemagne Prize of Aachen in 1950.
Among the laureates of the European Prize Coudenhove-Kalergi are European and international personalities who have marked the history of the continent in the last half century, such as: Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission (2014); Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council (2012); Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (2010); Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of Latvia (2006); violinist Yehudi Menuhin (1999), Emil Constantinescu, President of Romania (1998); Lennart Meri, President of Estonia (1996); Ronald Reagan, President of the U.S. (1992); Helmut Kohl, Chancellor of Germany (1990); Juan Carlos I, King of Spain (1986); Sandro Pertini, President of Italy (1984); Konstantinos Tsatsos, President of Greece (1980); Raymond Barre, Prime Minister of France (1978). In 2018, the prize was awarded posthumously to the Heavenly Hundred, the Ukrainian heroes of the Euromaidan.