2010, on the 40th anniversary of the Foundation, a major event.
its medals, particularly the gold medal, the Fondation du Mérite
européen has been able to reward numerous people who have
contributed to the construction, development and prestige of the
European Union. In 2010, buoyed by an international reputation built
up over the years, the Foundation created, for its 40th anniversary,
two new awards modelled on national orders, the “grand collier” and
The “grand collier”, of which
there is only one, was awarded, at a prestigious academic ceremony,
to HRH Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, who accepted it, on behalf of
the Luxembourg people, who have been renowned for their commitment
to Europe since the common market was created in 1958. As an
exception for this particular occasion, four “colliers” were
awarded, for the first time, to the Presidents of the political
institutions of the European Union, Jerzy Buzek, President of the
European Parliament, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European
Council, José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission,
and Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Minister of
State and President of the Eurogroup.
At the presentation ceremony
for the “grand collier” and “colliers”, impassioned appeals were
made in their speeches by:
HRH Grand Duke Henri of
cannot be built by treaties
alone but above all by the individual actions of its citizens”.
Jerzy Buzek, President of the
“Europe must not be afraid
of exporting its values. The European Union has a great capacity for
promoting its model, its standards, its values and its culture of
Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European
Council: “With regard to the values on
which the European Union was founded, too little time is spent
talking about our values and too much about our interests”.
• José Manuel Barroso, President of the
European Commission: “The European
spirit must also be present in the decisions of the politicians at
the national level; this is not the time for national
• Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister
and Minister of State of Luxembourg:
“The European Union is an affair of the heart that must be cared
for, respected and cherished. European leaders must show themselves
to be more intergovernmental in a Community way”.
• Jacques Santer, President of the
Board of Directors of the Fondation du Mérite européen, Honorary
Minister of State and former President of the European Commission:
“The European Union is a key factor in the gradual and peaceful
expansion of democracy”.
• Bruno Turbang, President of the
Executive Board of the Fondation du Mérite européen:
“Europe has a capacity for union in every field – history, humanism,
the social sphere, culture, art, the sciences and its young people –
to preserve a sense of well-being, it’s her revenge on history”.