THE WHITE HOUSE
the Press Secretary
President Clinton To Receive The
The Charlemagne Prize is being awarded to
President Clinton in Aachen, Germany, for his contributions to peace and
integration in Europe and for having furthered the close partnership that has
existed between the United States and Europe over the last five decades.
The Charlemagne Prize was established in 1949 to recognize "the most
meritorious contribution serving European unification and the European
community, serving humanity and world peace." The Prize was conferred for the
first time in 1950. Recipients have included Jean Monnet, Konrad Adenauer,
Winston Churchill, Francois Mitterrand, Helmut Kohl, Vaclav Havel, King Juan
Carlos of Spain and Tony Blair. President Clinton will be the first American
president to receive the Prize and only the third American after George
Marshall and Henry Kissinger.
The Charlemagne Prize award ceremony,
rooted in tradition, serves as an occasion for putting forward new ideas and
perspectives on European integration. Honorees typically use the occasion to
reflect on Europe - a review of achievement and an appraisal of what remains to
be done. The body responsible for selecting the recipients of the Charlemagne
Prize is made up of ex officio members and citizens. The Mayor of Aachen, a
representative of the Catholic C hurch and the rector of the Technical
University of Aachen serve as the committee's permanent members. The other
eight members, elected for life, are Aachen citizens, representing the city
council, the university, major businesses and foundations.
ancient capital of Charlemagne, has been at the heart of the European identity
for over twelve centuries. It was severely damaged during World War II, though
its historic cathedral remained intact, including the chapel originally built
by Charlemagne. In 1944, Aachen was the first German city liberated by the U.S.
Army. Its citizens issued the following proclamation in 1949: "having suffered
dreadful experiences, our citizens are ready to urge European unity [and] have
agreed upon establishing an International Prize of the City of Aachen."
The Prize includes a cash award of DM5000, a certificate and a medal
engraved on one side with the old town seal of Aachen (dating from the 12th
century and depicting an enthroned Charlemagne) and inscribed on the reverse
with a dedication to the recipient. President Clinton has asked that the
monetary prize be donated to the student exchange program between the sister
cities of Aachen, Germany and Arlington, Virginia. Since 1993, German students
from Aachen high schools go to Arlington during Easter break for three weeks,
and Arlington city high school students return the visit in the summer.
The Charlemagne Prize celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2000, but was
not awarded every year. In ten instances the Prize was not awarded because the
committee could not find a suitable honoree. President Clinton will be the 40th