Romanian President Klaus Johannis is to be honored with the Aachen Charlemagne Prize in 2020. According to the Karlspreis Directorate, Johannis receives the prize for his commitment and success with which he led Romania to a pro-European and rule of law policy. The head of state strengthens the European Union, acknowledges its goals and promotes cooperation between the member states. His achievement was one of the greatest integration advances since 1989, it said in the justification. Johannis is the 62nd recipient of the Charlemagne Prize.
Aachen Mayor Marcel Philipp (CDU) and Jürgen Linden, the chairman of the board of directors of the Society for the International Charlemagne Prize in Aachen, see the award as "a encouragement to Klaus Johannis to pursue his European path with determination". In a first reaction, Johannis was honored and pleased on the phone.
Johannis has made his country, Romania, which was able to overcome a "brutal dictatorship", the "most European in Southeast Europe", the jury said. According to CEO Linden, what Johannis has done for Romania is "one of the greatest advances in integration since 1989". Mayor Philipp called Romania a reliable partner in Europe and an important part of the community.
Johannis had only been re-elected in November
Johannis was born in Sibiu in 1959 and belongs to the Romanian-German ethnic group of the Transylvanian Saxons. He considers himself an "ethnically German and Romanian citizen". In November 2019, he was re-elected in a run-off election with two thirds of the votes. He wants to keep the country on a pro-European course.
The Charlemagne Prize will be awarded on Ascension Day, May 21, in the coronation hall of Aachen City Hall. The Charlemagne Prize has been awarded since 1950 for particular services to European unification. This year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres was honored, and in 2018 French President Emmanuel Macron received the award. The namesake is Emperor Charlemagne (742-814), whose throne is in Aachen.