'European of Year' award for Taoiseach
DAYS AFTER Angela Merkel agreed to revisit Ireland’s “special case” bank debt, Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been announced winner of a prestigious “European of the Year” award.
Mr Kenny will be presented with the “Golden Victoria” at a ceremony in Berlin next month hosted by the German Magazine Publishers Association (VDZ).
The association said the accolade, announced yesterday, was in recognition of Mr Kenny’s “strong contribution to Europe and commitment to European ideals both as prime minister and throughout his many years in public life”.
“In these difficult times, Europe benefits from the open, outward-looking character of the Irish State and people and from the calibre of its prime minister, Enda Kenny,” said the VDZ. Association president Prof Hubert Burda said the award was a nod of respect to the pro-European attitude of the Irish.
“Ireland’s determined response to the current economic and financial crisis has been widely respected, particularly in view of the genuine hardship being experienced by many Irish people. Despite being located at the western edge of the continent, the green island has always been at the heart of Europe.”
Next month’s ceremony will be Mr Kenny’s second trip to the German capital in a week. On November 1st, chancellor Angela Merkel will receive him for a lunch of “extra sausage”, otherwise known as talks on the bank debt burden. Work over, he returns on November 8th for a more pleasurable event: the award ceremony.
For his acceptance speech, Mr Kenny will have the eyes and ears of Germany’s media elite.
It will be a one-off chance to tell them how the euro crisis looks from Ireland and give a preview of Ireland’s 2013 EU presidency by reminding them of a previous presidency.