President Dalia Grybauskaitė

International Westphalia Peace Prize awarded to Lithuania

2018-07-14

Saturday, July 14, Münster, Germany – On behalf of the Lithuanian people, President Dalia Grybauskaitė received the prestigious Peace of Westphalia Prize at a festive ceremony in the Town Hall of Münster. This year, the three Baltic states were selected for the award in recognition of their exceptional model of democratic development and contribution to peace in Europe.

In her speech of acceptance, the President emphasized that the Baltic States, which restored their statehood one hundred years ago, knew very well that peace did not come for free. Having endured 50 years of occupation, our three nations had never been defeated because the spirit of freedom was always alive. Freedom can be attained by singing revolutions, therefore we are afraid of no one – even an aggressive neighbor – because we have reliable friends, the President said. 

Dalia Grybauskaitė expressed her pride that the Baltic States were awarded for dedicated work and achievements. She forwarded the gratitude of the Lithuanian people to Germany for contributing to Lithuania’s security and preserving peace across Europe in the face of evolving threats. The President underlined that the prize was a token of bonding between our nations and their joint commitment to peace. 

The ground-breaking Westphalia treaties ended religious wars in Europe, providing the foundation for a modern system of sovereign states. It is symbolic that it was Germany that preserved the historic Declaration of Independence of February 16 and handed it back to Lithuania.

The Federal President of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, delivered congratulatory remarks to the three Baltic States. President Raimonds Vējonis of Latvia and President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia also attended the ceremony. The Peace of Westphalia Prize is awarded biennially for outstanding merits in enhancing European and global peace. It has been previously presented to such outstanding figures as former President of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kofi Annan, King Abdullah II of Jordan, former Chancellors of Germany Helmut Kohl and Helmut Schmidt.

The prize was established by the Economic Association of Westphalia and Lippe, which unites 60 German companies operating at global level, including Lithuania. Among them are Schmitz Cargobull AG, Miele, CLAAS, and others. Lithuania sees relations with the federal land of North Rhine-Westphalia as very important. It is Germany’s center for energy generation, car-making and electronics industry, linked with Lithuania by close economic contacts. The land of North Rhine-Westphalia is Lithuania’s main trading partner in Germany, with ongoing 14 partnership agreements between their cities. North Rhine-Westphalia offered shelter for many Baltic refugees fleeing from the brutality of Soviet occupation. Today Bonn is home to a large Lithuanian community in Germany.

Press Service of the President

Last updated 2018.07.14 16:45

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