German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to be awarded the Charlemagne Prize in 2008 for promoting European Unity, the prize committee's board announced Wednesday, Nov. 14.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been widely praised for bridging differences in the EU
The prize committee said it based its decision on Merkel's stewardship of the European Union during the first six months of 2007 when Germany held the bloc's rotating presidency.
"She led the European idea back out of the valley," said Walter Eversheim, a spokesperson for the Charlemagne Prize's board of directors.
The committee added that "the path to a new start for the union" was "decisively linked" to the chancellor's integration-oriented policies.
Merkel key to reform treaty agreement
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana received the 2007 Charlemagne Prize
Merkel succeeded in lending new impetus to the idea of a European treaty during Germany's presidency of the EU earlier this year.
After plans for an EU constitution stalled when a draft of the document was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005, Merkel led negotiations on an EU reform treaty, which is expected to signed in December. Like the failed constitution, the new treaty will have to be unanimously ratified by the EU's 27 members.
Merkel is to receive the Charlemagne Prize in the western German city of Aachen sometime in spring next year.
The prize was created in 1949 to honor service to European unity and is named after the eighth-century Frankish emperor who ruled over a kingdom covering much of western Europe.
Previous recipients include EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President Bill Clinton.