The Charlemagne Prize this year was awarded to the Ukrainian people

The Charlemagne Prize this year was awarded to the Ukrainian people

In the German city of Aachen, the International Charlemagne Prize was awarded to the Ukrainian people for their contribution to strengthening European unity and defending freedom on the European continent.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy received the award on behalf of Ukrainians. “Millions of people who are fighting and working for our values and freedom, for our free Europe – all Ukrainians, each of our heroes deserve to stand here and receive this award,” he stressed.

The award ceremony took place at the Aachen City Hall. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the European Union, including President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, ambassadors of several European countries and the United States, members of governments and representatives of the parliamentary corps, representatives of churches and religious organizations.

As noted by Mayor of Aachen Sibylle Keupen, the winners of the Charlemagne Prize in previous years were invited to the ceremony, including former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, President of Lithuania in 2009-2019 Dalia Grybauskaitė, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Ukrainian human rights activist Oleksandra Matviychuk.

“For the first time, the Charlemagne Prize is being awarded to a President and an entire nation. And it is with great courage that your country is defending itself against such total aggression by Russia, repelling the Russian onslaught with unprecedented strength day after day. The Russian war has brought European nations closer than ever before. United and in solidarity, we stand with Ukraine,” Olaf Scholz said.

[Credit: Office of the President of Ukraine]

In his speech, President Zelenskyy urged to support Ukrainian warriors defending Europe with weapons and to join the implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula.

“Everyone who joins our formula actually makes it their own. And I am sure that the Ukrainian formula for peace can become a German formula for peace, a European formula for peace, a formula for peace for the world,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted.

“We stand by your side, united in solidarity with Ukraine,” said Chancellor Scholz. Russia’s brutal war of aggression is “a war that is bringing the people of Ukraine pain, suffering and sacrifice the like of which we could scarcely imagine any more. A war that is directed against everything Europe stands for. But also a war that makes it crystal clear to Ukraine, the European Union, and its member states: We stand together. We belong together. And our story will continue together”.

President Zelenskyy emphasized that European unity is becoming a superpower, so it is time to enshrine this unity by deciding on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union and defining the algorithm of our country’s accession to NATO.

[Credit: Office of the President of Ukraine]

“Everything depends on our unity, on our speed, on our determination to win. So my main appeal to you today is to be worthy of Charlemagne’s character! Win,” the President urged.

“Ukraine can count on our full support,” reiterated Olaf Scholz.

“Humanitarian support, economic support, and support with weapons. Above all, however, our enduring support!” he emphasised.

“The start of our continued integration in Europe, along with Ukraine, the countries of the Western Balkans and the Republic of Moldova and, in the longer term, Georgia too,” underlined Chancellor Scholz.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that the Ukrainian people are fighting for freedom and peace and are ensuring the future of their children and the children of other European nations with their blood and lives.

“President Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine know exactly what they are fighting for,” Ursula von der Leyen said.

Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki called the awarding of the Charlemagne Prize to the Ukrainian people one of the symbolic examples of Ukraine’s integration into the European family.

“Europe will only become fully united when Ukraine joins us as a full member of the EU. I know that this is your dream and this is our wish as well,” he said.

“Let’s give Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people our full support. This is the only way we can really strengthen peace and security in Europe,” the Prime Minister of Poland emphasized.

The International Charlemagne Prize is named after the founder of the Frankish Empire and the actual founder of the Holy Roman Empire, who ruled the state from Aachen. The award has been given annually since 1950 by the German city of Aachen to people who have made a great contribution to the realisation of European ideals. The first winner of the award was the founder of the Pan-European Movement, Richard Nikolaus von Coudenhove-Kalergi.

The decision to award President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the entire Ukrainian people with the International Charlemagne Prize was made at the end of 2022 on the initiative of 177 members of the European Parliament, as well as with the support of President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola.


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