Saturday, 28 August 2021, Münster, Westphalia, NRW, Germany: After a hiatus of almost a year due to the pandemic, the International Prize for the Peace of Westphalia 2020 was awarded in person, jointly to Alexis Tsipras, former Prime Minister of Greece, as well as Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of Northern Macedonia, for their agreement in settling the North Macedonian name dispute.
The recipients share the prize of 100,000 euros with the climate ambassadors of “Plant-for-the-Planet” NGO, who received the Youth Prize.
The Peace Prize is awarded every two years by the Economic Society for Westphalia and Lippe (WWL), in commemoration of the end of the 30 Years’ War in 1648. Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the award ceremony was held for the first time in the atrium of the State Museum of Art and Culture on the Cathedral’s Square as it offers more space for guests than the historic City Hall of Münster where the ceremony is normally conducted.
Tsipras and Zaev received the award from the hands of Latvian President Egils Levits. In 2018, the three Baltic states were accorded the Peace Prize, laudator Levits representing the Baltic countries, symbolically handed over the bronze sculptures of the Westphalian horse to Tsipras and Zaev.
During his eulogy the Latvian head of state stated that the two laureates had made a significant contribution to the Prespa Accord, which in 2018 sealed an agreement in the long-running Macedonian name dispute. Thereby “not only signing a legal document, but also ending a problem for an entire region”.
Levits emphasized the parallels between the Peace of Westphalia and the Macedonian settlement. “What we have in common is the spirit and will to overcome long-standing antagonisms and to find creative power together to create something the new, the better.” This spirit of good compromise that characterises the Prespa Agreement is what makes Tsipras and Zaev “worthy recipients of the Westphalian Peace Prize”.
In their acceptance speeches, the two politicians acknowledged their amiable cooperation, for which they had unselfishly put their own political careers on the line. Zoran Zaev also pointed out to parallels between the Prespa Agreement and the Peace of the Peace Treaty of Westphalia.
“In fact, the first article of the Treaty of Westphalia does not really speak of peace but of friendship between its signatories”, Zaev said. “This is also what the Prespa Agreement stands for!”
For further information:
Economic Society for Westphalia and Lippe: https://www.wirtschaftliche-gesellschaft.de/presse/friedenspreis-2020/
Embassy of North Macedonia in Germany (HE Ambassador Ramadan Nazifi): https://www.mfa.gov.mk/en/page/37/europe/embassies
Embassy of Greece in Germany (HE Ambassador Maria Marinaki): https://www.mfa.gr/germany/de/
Embassy of Latvia in Germany (HE Ambassador Inga Skujiņa): https://www2.mfa.gov.lv/berlin/vestnieciba
Picture by WWL