Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel has been awarded this year’s Charlemagne Prize in recognition of her contribution to European integration. The annual ceremony is held in the German city of Aachen, near the Belgian and French border. French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Merkel’s qualities. She is a Protestant from former Communist east Germany.
Sarkozy said: “I imagine that, coming from where you come from, dear Angela, you measure with modesty the road you have travelled. And yet it is yours, this path of hope for all Europeans.”
Merkel’s brokering of agreement on the EU’s Lisbon reform treaty won her the honour, named after the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, who united a vast stretch of Europe from France to northern Germany.
Earlier, the Catholic bishop of Aachen criticized the treaty’s non-mention of Judeo-Christian heritage.