Jerzy Buzek awarded Germany's highest honour
PR dla Zagranicy
Former President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek was decorated with the Grand Cross of Merit of the Republic of Germany on Monday.
Professor Jerzy Buzek (L) with Ambassador of Germany Rolf Nikel. Photo: PAP/Bartłomiej Zborowski
Buzek, who also served as Poland's prime minister (1997-2001), received the honour at the German Embassy in Warsaw.
“German-Polish relations under your aegis as prime minister developed very swiftly,” noted Ambassador Rolf Nikel.
Thanking the ambassador, Buzek said that “if we talk about reconciliation, for me as a Silesian born during the war, very near the place where the Auschwitz camp was built, I know how difficult this path was.”
He added that Polish-German reconciliation is “extraordinary, but you have to work on it, because nothing is ever given to us once and for all.
“This also applies to the European Union, which we are striving to be the foundation of, from Paris, via Berlin to Warsaw.”
Prior to the fall of communism, Buzek was an engineer and he was active in the Solidarity movement, going into hiding after martial law was declared in December 1981.
After 1989, he continued his engineering career at the Polish Academy of Sciences and was elected an MP in 1997, the same year he became prime minister. In 2004 he was elected as an MEP, and he served as President of the European Parliament from July 2009 to January 2012.
Other foreigners to have received the Order of Merit include Queen Elizabeth II and Mikhail Gorbachev. (nh)