Baltic leaders awarded for defending democracy, liberal economic policies
The leaders of the Baltic states received the Friedrich August von Hayek Foundation prize for defending democratic values and exercising liberal economic policy on Sunday.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform), Latvian Prime Minister Krišjanis Karinš and Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonyte were presented with the award in Berlin by Horst Köhler, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany and chairman of the Hayek Foundation.
The prize is given to "persons whose activities have been outstanding in creating, strengthening, or fostering a liberal economic, and social order in Germany, Europe, or elsewhere in the world".
Kallas said she was "honored" to receive the award and that "defending European democratic values is as topical today as back when we built up Estonia".
"When we emerged from the totalitarian prison 31 years ago, we had to build a free and open society, from scratch. This was not an easy task – despite the relief that people were finally free. Re-establishing a democratic relationship between the citizen and the state is not something you do overnight and it is not something you can simply learn from books," she said in a speech.
She ended by saying, in reference to Russia: "While building up our democracy, along the lines of Friedrich August von Hayek´s principles, we were listening to our international friends and advisers. And maybe now is the time to listen to us."
Honoured to receive International Prize from the Hayek Foundation together with my Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues for defending European democratic values.— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) September 4, 2022
Said in my speech that defending European democratic values is as topical today as back when we built up Estonia. 1/8 pic.twitter.com/DozGFEdp6N
Previous recipients include former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and former President of the Federal Republic of Germany Joachim Gauck.
It was last awarded to Margrethe Vestager, Danish politician and the European Commissioner for Competition in 2019.
Andrus Ansip, former Prime Minister of Estonia, along with Valdis Dombrovskis, former Prime Minister of Latvia, were also awarded the prize in 2011.
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Editor: Helen Wright