Skopje, 23 June 2020 (MIA) – Zoran Zaev and Alexis Tsipras, the former prime ministers of North Macedonia and Greece respectively, are this year’s winners of the International Peace of Westphalia Prize, which recognizes their efforts in settling the name dispute with the Prespa Agreement, but the awards ceremony has been postponed for 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The event originally was scheduled on September 19 as part of the Münster Summit, where the two former prime ministers were slated to address a panel.
“After careful consideration and with a heavy heart, the Economic Society for Westphalia and Lippe (WWL) board decided to cancel the ceremony due to the corona pandemic this year,” said WWL chairman Dr. Reinhard Zinkann.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has agreed to give a speech to honor both Zaev and Tsipras.
Zinkann said they lacked adequate conditions to organize a large-scale event. August 28, 2021 or October 2, 2021 are being considered as alternative dates.
The recipients have been informed about the decision over the phone, who have shown understanding about the postponement.
Zaev said he was quite honored by the award, which by the Macedonian public ‘is perceived as an important signal.’
“These times of major joint challenges have underscored the need to increase cooperation,” Zaev has stated.
“Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev achieved a feat of diplomacy with the Prespa Agreement, resolving a long-standing name issue and significantly contributing to the stability of the entire Balkan region,” said Reinhard Zinkann announcing the winners this past February.
Established in 1998 by the Economic Association of Westphalia and Lippe, the Peace of Westphalia Prize is awarded every two years for outstanding merits in enhancing European and global peace. The prize has been previously presented to former president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, former chancellor of Germany Helmut Kohl, former Hague Tribunal chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, the crew of the ISS space station, the Baltic states, etc.
The prize is also awarded to youth organizations. This year, besides Zaev and Tsipras, the prize is also awarded to the Plant-for-the-Planet organization.