On 6th February,
on his visit to
Luxembourg, the then Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk (now
President of the European Council since 1 December 2014) was awarded
the “Mérite Européen” by Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker for his
achievements as a “great European.”
“The Polish Premier is one of the few statesmen who can reconcile
national patriotism with European patriotism,” Juncker said in his
speech of honour on Wednesday. He added that it was due to Tusk's
efforts that Poland's voice in the EU was being heard today.
President of the “Mérite Européen” foundation, Jacques Santer, also
praised Tusk. He also pointed out the fact that Germany had
nominated Tusk for the award, saying that this was a clear sign of
the success of the politics of reconciliation.
In his acceptance speech, Tusk frequently spoke about Europe's
values, which were all the more important to Poland as its
population was deprived of democracy under communist rule. He added
that the road to becoming a member of the European Union had been
long, but that all efforts had been worth it as Europe had always
been a “Land of Dreams” for the Polish people.