What do Bill Clinton, King Juan
Carlos of Spain, the Euro and Angela Merkel have in common? They are all
recipients of the prestigious Karlpreis or Charlemagne Prize given by the German
city of Aachen where Charlemagne, leader of the Carolingian empire, is buried.
Wilhelm Staudacher Director, Konrad Adenauer Foundation Today the
Karlspreis is the Nobel prize for the political unification of Europe. I think
it's the most respected prize in that regard.
Since 1950 the prize has
been awarded to politicians, but this year it was awarded to Andrea Riccardi who
founded the Community of SantEgidio.
Wilhelm Staudacher Director,
Konrad Adenauer Foundation We elected a non-politician because we think after
establishing institutions and social markets all over Europe, now we need to
turn to the unification in the European Union sense and better cooperation and
better understanding on the basis of value.
institution, The Konrad Adenauer Foundation, postulated Riccardi for the award
because of Sant'Egidio's commitment to work on peace and relief to those less
fortunate regardless of their political or religious
Wilhelm Staudacher Director, Konrad Adenauer
Foundation So they said, not only will we have social ethics but we will do
something and not wait for a country or a state, just that Christians should do
Andrea Ricardi is not the first non-politician Catholic to receive
the prize. In 2004 Pope John Paul II received a special lifetime achievement
Charlemagne Prize. The only one of its kind.