Netherlands, April 22: German Chancellor Angela Merkel was honored Thursday for her leadership in a series of crises that have hit Europe in recent years, from the financial meltdown to the migration influx.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte lauded Merkel as she was presented with the International Four Freedoms Award at a ceremony in the southern Dutch city of Middelburg.
In her acceptance speech, the German leader said the migration crisis “touches our European values in a special way.”
She praised the European Union’s deal she helped to broker with Turkey on the return and admission of migrants, a key measure in the continent’s efforts to stem the flow of people fleeing conflict, poverty and persecution.
“Too many people already lost their lives during their escape,” Merkel said. “The EU-Turkey agreement therefore really didn’t come soon enough. It is now important that we continue our efforts, especially when it comes to a fair distribution of refugees in Europe and a common approach against the roots of escape and expulsion.”
Four Freedoms medals are presented in alternate years by the Dutch-based Roosevelt Foundation and the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York.
The Dutch foundation said in Europe’s migration crisis, “Merkel is committed to Europe’s humanitarian duty to protect those fleeing war and conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Asia and to tackle the causes of the crisis by working for peace in Syria and the region.”