Lithuanian president wins The European of the Year award
Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus was announced absolute leader during the awards ceremony of The Europeans of the Year in Brussels on November 27.
The Lithuanian leader was originally nominated in the category of Statesman of the Year 2007, however, received the main title of the awards – the European of the Year.
This is the first time when the main title went to an official of a new member of the European Union (EU), the presidential press service said.
The awards ceremony held in the Egmont Palace in Brussels in late hours on Tuesday was attended by about 200 top-ranking officials including members of the European Parliament, commissioners, state leaders and prominent EU officials. Adamkus said with joy that even a small country can achieve much.
“I am honoured and humbled by accepting the European of the Year Award. This award is a symbolic expression and support for the efforts through which we have always sought to advance and strengthen European values. These values are essential to live by if we want Europe to remain both as the hope and the reality of peace, freedom, and prosperity for millions of people not only on the continent, but across the globe,” said the Lithuanian president. “The European Union Reform Treaty agreed on a step toward the realization of this goal. The European leaders came together, united in their desire to have a strong Europe, and presented to the citizens of Europe a new Reform Treaty, which makes the European Union better positioned to translate the challenges of today into the opportunities of tomorrow. For these I would like to pay special tribute to my colleagues Mrs. Angela Merkel and Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy.”
He also thanked the Europeans who supported his candidacy and efforts.
“I will admit that together with you I feel strong for taking the mission of negotiator. It is a sign and mandate for all – don’t fear challenges and overcome difficulties together,” said the Lithuanian leader.
The European of the Year awards is organized since 2001 by the European Voice weekly of The Economist group. Every year, European Voice nominates 50 Europeans for their merits in nine fields – Commissioner, MEP, Statesman, Diplomat, Campaigner, Business Leader, Achiever, Journalist and Non-EU Citizen. One of the nominees becomes the European of the Year.
Nominees are selected by senior editors of European Voice in cooperation with a special jury, which this year included Swedish foreign minister, Belgian and Maltese presidents, professors and representatives of The Economist group. Internet votes had a decisive vote in the selection of winners.
Adamkus is not the first official of Lithuania to win the honourable title. In 2005, EU Financial Programming and Budget Commissioner Dalia Grybauskaite became the Commissioner of the Year.