Lithuania in the News
12th May 2013
Europe’s Celebrated Charlemagne Prize Goes to Lithuania
President Dalia Grybauskaitė is greeted by the Mayor of Aachen
Marcel Philipp in the Aachen Town Hall. Photo courtesy
Last Thursday, on Europe Day, May 9, 2013 in the ancient German city of Aachen, Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė received the 2013 International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen (Internationaler Karlspreis zu Aachen) – one of the most prestigious awards for statesmen.
The Prize commemorates Charles the Great (Charlemagne), who attempted to unify Europe, founded the Holy Roman Empire in 800 and made his capital Aachen the political centre of Europe. The Charlemagne Prize thus reflects the ideals of European unity. It is symbolically awarded on the day that the European Union was founded on May 9, 1950 to statesmen who espouse European ideals and promote European unity. Many eminent persons have been previous winners of the prize - the list includes Pope John Paul II, Great Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill, American President Bill Clinton and many other distinguished statesmen.
President Grybauskaitė stated that the award is to all Lithuanians. “It signifies the recognition of our united efforts as we fought for Lithuania's freedom and its place in Europe” she said. It reaffirms Lithuania’s place in Europe. The award ceremony took place in Aachen Town
Lithuanian folk artists in Aachen with President Grybauskaitė.
Photo courtesy
Hall, built on the ruins of the former. Charlemagne Palace. President Grybauskaitė was introduced by the Mayor of Aachen Marcel Philipp. The formal oration in her honour was delivered by President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. The ceremony was broadcast live by the Lithuanian and German television.
Among the official guests at the award ceremony were many European leaders, including the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, former President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rene Van Der Linden, Vice-President of the European Parliament Anni Podimata; also former laureates of the Charlemagne Prize, members of the European Parliament, ambassadors of the EU member states, Lithuanian politicians, representatives of the Lithuanian community in Germany.
The day before the award President Grybauskaitė took part in the traditional Charlemagne Prize Forum "Europa - quo vadis?" at the Technical University of Aachen (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen). She also met the people of Aachen and visitors at the Open Air Festival held in honour of the Charlemagne Prize laureate. During the Festival a group from the Lithuanian Folk Culture Centre demonstrated national costumes from Lithuania's ethnographic regions. They were accompanied by Lithuanian songs performed by the choir "Ave Vita".
In fact for a whole month, occasioned of the award, Lithuanian culture and achievements were on show throughout Germany. The Charlemagne Prize thus highlighted Lithuania’s contribution to Europe throughout history and now and emphasised its place in Europe. President Grybauskaitė is already being mentioned as a possible President of Europe after 2014.

Further information: - 09/05/13