At the historical Aachen Town Hall, President Dalia Grybauskaitė was presented the prestigious International Charlemagne Prize. The award, also known as "Oscar in Politics", has been extended to President Grybauskaitė for Lithuania's contribution to uniting the European Union and building the economic stability of the whole Europe.
"I dedicate the Charlemagne Prize, awarded by the people of Aachen, to the Lithuanian people. It signifies the recognition of our united efforts as we fought for Lithuania's freedom and its place in Europe as well as to overcome the economic crisis. This award is also a commitment to assume responsibility for bringing all the nations together to shape the future of Europe," the President emphasized at the award ceremony.
The laudatio in honor of President Dalia Grybauskaitė was delivered by President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. The official patrons of the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize are the King of Spain Juan Carlos I, the King of the Belgians Albert II, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer, and President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck.
President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that all Europeans must stand together, step over their differences, learn from each other, listen in, negotiate and find common solutions in their acknowledgement of the efforts by Charlemagne, Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet, and Konrad Adenauer to unite Europe.
She underlined that the people of Lithuania who not long ago fought for their right to freedom and a future of their own know very well that the European Union is "not a given thing". One has to fight for it and for a place in it. Nobody but Europeans can solve their own problems.
According to the President, Europe needs to live within its means, seek social consensus, maintain people's trust in financial policies and provide young people with real opportunities to establish themselves because twenty years from now they will stand at the helm of Europe.
"We have to invest today to enhance trust in Europe. We must act together because European action comes from solidarity and from extending a helping hand to each other in times of difficulty. However, solidarity also means responsibility. We must make decisions together and act on them together. Brussels cannot do all the work for us," the President said.
The President was congratulated by European leaders - President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, 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 - Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, former President of the European Parliament Pat Cox, and former President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet. Among the other participants of the ceremony were members of the European Parliament, ambassadors of the EU member states, diplomats, representatives of the Lithuanian community in Germany, Lithuanian politicians - Česlovas Juršėnas, Chair of the Seimas Committee on European Affairs Gediminas Kirkilas, member of the European Parliament Vytautas Landsbergis, member of the Seimas Andrius Kubilius.
Earlier in the morning, the President attended the Holy Mass at Aachen Cathedral, celebrated by Bishop Jonas Kauneckas from Panevėžys.