Grybauskaitė gave a keynote speech at dinner in honor of the French president, laureate of Charlemagne Prize 2018, on the eve of the award ceremony.
“Today for my region, for young countries who came here only 30 years ago, Europe still is a passion, and belief, love, trust and everything what we wanted to achieve for us and for our people,” the Lithuanian leader said.
“And sometimes it’s painful to hear and to see that not everybody in Europe is happy about Europe, not everybody believes in Europe,” she said.
“I think we are very lucky that we have got in France a new leader, a person who is not ashamed to admit that Europe is important, that his loves Europe, that he wants a Europe that we believe, a Europe that will survive, a Europe that will be strong,” Grybauskaitė said.
“It’s not fashionable to be European sometimes,” she added.
The Lithuanian president underlined that Europe has to take increasing responsibility for defense and security, nuclear non-proliferation, climate change and other global issues.
“We have to rely on ourselves more, be united and work together; and Emmanuel Macron’s leadership helps to deliver it,” she said.
Grybauskaitė received the International Charlemagne Prize five years ago.
The people of Aachen instituted the International Charlemagne Prize in 1950 to promote peace, unity and concord among European nations. It is one of the most prestigious awards in politics.