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Europe

Europe bank head Trichet wins Charlemagne Prize

The head of the European Central Bank is to receive Germany's prestigious Charlemagne Prize for services to European unity. Jean-Claude Trichet was credited for his efforts to resolve the European debt crisis.

Jean Claude Trichet

Trichet was formerly head of the Bank of France

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet was named on Saturday as the next recipient of the prestigious German prize for contributions to European unity, the Charlemagne Prize.

The Charlemagne Prize

The Charlemagne Prize is presented yearly in Aachen

The prize committee said that the 67-year-old Frenchman was being honored for his contribution "to the cohesion of monetary union, the stability of the euro and the maintenance of competitiveness in Europe."

Committee chairman Juergen Linden went as far as to say that Trichet symbolized the solidarity of the eurozone project.

The prize, which was first awarded in 1950, is to be presented to Trichet in Aachen next year.

As head of the central bank, Trichet has been responsible for overseeing its efforts to provide assistance to countries hit by high debt levels - in particular Greece and Ireland.

Need remains for financial assistance

On Thursday, the ECB admitted that fiscal assistance was still needed just months after indicating that it would wind down the program.

Former US president Bill Clinton

Former US president Bill Clinton is one past winner

Trichet has been head of the Frankfurt-based ECB since 2003, having previously served for 10 years as president of the Bank of France. He is due to step down from the post in October 2011.

Former prize winners have included Chancellor Angela Merkel (2008) and US President Bill Clinton (2000) and, most recently, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.

The prize for services to European unity is named after the Frankish emperor Charlemagne (742 to 814), whose empire, centered on Aachen, unified much of western Europe. The winner receives 5,000 euros (6,600 dollars), a medal and a certificate.

Author: Richard Connor (AFP, AP, dpa)
Editor: Joanna Impey

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