The International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen will go to Pope Francis, the prize committee announced December 23. The prize is awarded for “exceptional work performed in the service of European unity,” the Charlemagne Prize website says.
While so many of the European Union’s founders saw their work through a Catholic lens, many today do not. Yet at this crucial juncture, as Europe struggles for unity, the one who has been singled out as offering hope for the future is the pope.
“I knew that I could never win a referendum in Germany,” he said. “We would have lost a referendum on the introduction of the euro. That’s quite clear. I would have lost and by seven to three.”
The interview was conducted by Jens Peter Paul, a German journalist in 2002, the year when the Deutsche Mark was replaced by euro notes and coins, but has only been published now. Continue reading
The once-divided city of Berlin now has the task of holding Europe together and, for Chancellor Angela Merkel, this will require a difficult balancing act.
Angela Merkel does not do trick or treat. She does slow and steady – not shock and awe.
But over the past year or so, she has made greater efforts to reach out to countries where strict austerity measures are being imposed to persuade them that yes, she does care. Germany cares.
And she is trying to make the same case to her core constituency. Continue reading