President Klaus Iohannis on Wednesday was awarded in Magdeburg the ‘Emperor Otto’ Prize for “great merits in the European unification process”.
“I am particularly honored to receive the ‘Emperor Otto’ award, which has a special significance not only for the city of Magdeburg and Germany, but also for the idea of a Europe united around democratic values and ideals. This award honors me all the more, as we are in a city steeped in history, in a cathedral that has witnessed the tumultuous past of Europe, the Magdeburg Cathedral. (…) I accept this European award on behalf of my compatriots. Their enthusiastic support for the European cause, for the values and principles that unite us in Europe give me confidence to continue to act so that Romania is, together with the other member states, together with the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union, at the heart of the process of consolidating the European project. I consider this award to be a reconfirmation of my country’s permanent belief in a Europe united in peace and democracy. This award is also an incentive for me, personally, to pass on to the Romanian citizens, especially to the young generation, the conviction that together we will be able to overcome the multiple challenges of today’s world,” said Iohannis, according to Agerpres.
He voiced his confidence that the efforts of the German Presidency of the Council of the EU will materialize in the advancement of the European project through solutions that will benefit all member states, and gave assurances regarding Romania’s support.
The President of Romania emphasized the need for unity, cohesion and solidarity to strengthen the European project.
“These principles are all the more so important in the context of the health crisis we are facing. It is clear that an appropriate response to a crisis of this magnitude and with such complex implications can only be a common and coordinated European response,” Iohannis said.
He went on to point out that the economic recovery package is a clear proof of the European solidarity and unity.
“We must build on solidarity, cohesion and unity, both as general principles and in support of concrete initiatives,” Iohannis said, mentioning also the need for convergence, maintenance and development of the European project.
“The recent reality has shown us that isolation, individual action or nationalist setbacks are not the answer for the member states and citizens, but joint action to strengthen European competences and develop European action mechanisms. We therefore need to prove leadership. Thus, the European project will emerge stronger from this difficult trial. On the other hand, the crisis has shown that we are interdependent not only inside the Union but also in relation to the global milieu. This has reinforced our conviction that we need to strengthen the transatlantic relation which is of vital importance to us and represents the foundation of Western civilization,” Iohannis continued.
He argued that a strengthened global role of the Union is all the more so important as it represents an international force and an example for other nations in many areas, including the fight against climate change and the support of effective and pragmatic multilateralism.
“I am firmly convinced that a strong Union – both internally and globally – will continue to bring prosperity and security to its citizens, continue to innovate, meet technological challenges, manage major crises, and be a competitive economic player, as well as a model of democracy and values,” the President said.
He also evoked the Romanian-German diplomatic relations, pointing out that the two countries are connected to each other by strong and privileged ties.
“Germany is home to one of the largest Romanian communities abroad, which represents a model of integration with German society, contributing to the well-being of the German state and to social and cultural diversity. At the same time, the presence of ethnic Germans in Romania, which is visible through many flourishing cities and settlements, churches, museum collections, cultural traditions, through the German-language education system, has created a solid bridge between our states,” Iohannis said.
The Laudatio was delivered by Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, who said that President Iohannis is a “worthy recipient, a great European and a friend of Germany.”
The ceremony was also attended by the President’s wife Carmen Iohannis, by Magdeburg Mayor General Lutz Trumper, and Justice Minister of the Land of Saxony-Anhalt, Anne Marie Keding.
Before the ceremony, President Iohannis had a meeting with the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, with Romanian ambassador to Germany Emil Hurezeanu also attending.
The ‘Emperor Otto’ Prize is awarded every two years to personalities and organizations with outstanding merits in the European process of unification and in the promotion of European thought.