Last Saturday, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) was awarded the prestigious European Prize for Political Culture by the Hans Ringier Foundation for her political courage in standing up to Russian aggression and her influential role in ensuring a robust response from the West.
"Kaja Kallas is a courageous woman, but she is also much more than that — Estonia's prime minister represents the courage of a small country in perilous times," Hans Ringier Foundation president Frank A. Meyer said according to a press release.
"She is calling for resolute resistance by the West against [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's unjust war: negotiations with the dictator should be avoided 'until Ukraine is free,'" he quoted. "Kaja Kallas speaks for a country barely larger than Switzerland, which, as Russia's immediate neighbor, is vulnerable to the aggression of the Kremlin and has previously suffered 50 years of violent repression at the hands of Moscow's regime. Together with 1.3 million Estonian citizens, the stateswoman stands, if you will, at the forefront of freedom in the Western world."
In his presentation speech, President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis likewise paid tribute to the Estonian head of state.
"By speaking out strongly about injustice where it happens, by speaking out strongly when human rights are violated, you have become a powerful European figure," Cassis said. "You have been standing up for our Western values, our common values, throughout your one and a half years as prime minister. Democracy is about keeping the truth alive. But if we want to do this, we must have the courage to reveal what is false."
Click here to read Kallas' speech in full.
Honoured to receive this year's #European Prize for Political Culture by @ringier_ag.— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) August 6, 2022
My message: we must rise to the challenge of stopping Russian imperialism. For this we need political courage and make it clear: no impunity for war crimes and crimes of aggression. pic.twitter.com/PMpOUAfcCW
Worth €50,000, Kallas' marks the 16th European Prize, which has previously been awarded to Margrethe Vestager, Zuzana Caputova, Jean-Claude Juncker, Donald Tusk and Mario Draghi, among others.
The award was presented at the traditional "Diner Republicain," which is hosted annually by Frank A. Meyer in Ascona, Switzerland.
Editor: Aili Vahtla