The Charlemagne Prize which recognises work carried out in the cause of European integration has been given to Italian president has been given to Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, at a ceremony in Aachen, Germany.
Ciampi is well known in the world of finance, and is sometimes referred to as Italy’s Mister Euro, the man who steered the home of the lira onto the common currency path.
Ciampi was also prime minister in the early 1990s, and became a symbol of new credibility in Italian politics.
Previous winners include the Spanish King Juan Carlos, in 1982.
Before Spain entered the European Community he was a key figure in anchoring his country on the road to democracy.
Other august winners also attended this year’s awards ceremony in the power centre of the medieval Holy Roman Empire.
European Parliament President Pat Cox won the Charlemagne Prize last year, with the late Pope John Paul II.