On Saturday, the Hans Ringier Foundation awarded Hans-Dietrich Genscher the «European Prize for Political Culture ». The jury honoured Hans-Dietrich Genscher as a great European statesman and for his contributions to the reunification of Germany and a united Europe.
The German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle praised the 84 year-old Hans-Dietrich Genscher in a very personal laudatory speech: «Today we honor Hans-Dietrich Genscher in recognition of his lifetime achievement as a true European.» In his eulogy the German Foreign Minister emphasized the paramount importance of the European idea: «Faith in Europe means the faith of Europeans in their own creative power. European development will only become irreversible when those generations, which don’t have first-hand experience of the horrors of World War II, wholeheartedly stand up for Europe.»
The 50’000 Euro prize from the Hans Ringier Foundation was presented at the traditional «Dîner républicain» at the Castello del Sole in Ascona (Switzerland) by the journalist Frank A. Meyer.
Since 35 years the «Dîner républicain» has taken place on the occasion of the International Film Festival of Lugano. Among others, guests attending the presentation were the Swiss Federal President Micheline Calmy-Rey, Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann, EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger, member of the French Constitutional Council Jacques Barrot and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.
With this year, the European prize has now been awarded for the sixth time. In 2010 it went to the President of the European Central Bank Jean-Claude Trichet, 2009 to the WTO Director Pascal Lamy, 2008 to the philosopher Jürgen Habermas, 2007 to the Serbian President Boris Tadic and in 2006 to the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker.