"You are bursting with ideas and your proposals have injected new life into the European debate," said Chancellor Angela Merkel in her laudation for Emmanuel Macron. "Just as Europe deserves to be celebrated, people who not only believe in Europe but bring Europe to life through their own actions deserve to be honoured."
Fighting for European values
Emmanuel Macron’s enthusiasm for Europe motivates not only those who are already committed to working for Europe. More importantly, his enthusiasm is winning over "the hesitant and the unsure" and is crucial, "to counter those who are still living in the past", stressed the Chancellor.
In Macron, a young dynamic politician has entered the European stage, "who sees European integration and the common currency as self-evident". And that is precisely why he realises that the risk of taking things for granted is the greatest risk to European integration, declared Angela Merkel.
Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly taken a stand against narrow-minded, backwards-looking nationalism and spoken of the "authority of democracy, which must be stronger than these authoritarian temptations," stressed Angela Merkel. It is thus the responsibility of today’s generation "to passionately defend and consolidate everything that makes our European identity so special, and – where necessary – to put this on a new footing".
Europe – a project for the future
A withdrawal back into national ways of thinking is the wrong way to go, warned the Chancellor. "We Europeans share more than a common market and a common currency." Europe is the vital project for the future of our continent. In view of the global challenges we face, "we Europeans can only make our influence felt if we work together".
Europe must demonstrate that it is not part of the problem in a global world, but part of the solution. That is why the French President has put European renewal firmly at the heart of his political agenda. "Along with France we are convinced that we need a new start in Europe," said the Chancellor clearly. "I am delighted to be able to work with you on this path."
The International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen has been awarded since 1950 in recognition of services to Europe and European unification. Ten years ago, Angela Merkel herself received the Charlemagne Prize. Konrad Adenauer (1954) and Helmut Kohl (1988) were also awarded the prize, which is named after the first man to bring Europe together – the emperor Charlemagne. At the end of the 8th century he made Aachen his favourite residence. The prize thus builds a bridge between Europe’s past and Europe’s future. It is traditionally awarded on Ascension Day.