Macron wins Charlemagne Prize for vision to rebuild Europe


Berlin (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron will be awarded next year's Charlemagne Prize for his vision to rebuild Europe at a time when the bloc is battling instability, organisers of the award said Friday.

The selection committee of the German award said it picked Macron "in recognition of his vision of a new Europe and of the re-establishment of the European project, of a new European sovereignty and a close, restructured cooperation between peoples and nations."

"His passion for and commitment to Europe, his advocacy of cohesion and commonality, and his decisive stance against all forms of nationalism and isolationism set the right example, show the right way forward, and promote the right kind of contagious enthusiasm needed to overcome the European crisis," it said.

Macron, 39, was elected on a pro-European ticket, soundly beating his opponent, the eurosceptic far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Since taking office, he has championed an ambitious plan to reform the bloc including pushing a "protective Europe" agenda to make it a shield against globalisation for the EU's 500 million citizens.

He also wants greater integration through the creation of a common eurozone finance minister and budget.

But his hopes for swift action have been dampened by Germany's inconclusive elections in September, which have left Chancellor Angela Merkel struggling to form a new government.

Macron, France's youngest president, will pick up his award on Ascension Day, May 10, next year.

Previous winners of the prize -- awarded yearly since 1950 by the western city of Aachen, where Charlemagne is buried -- include Merkel, former French president Francois Mitterrand and Pope Francis.