Admin l Sunday, February 19, 2023
MUNICH – Sweden and Finland have been awarded Germany’s Ewald von Kleist Prize for their applications to join the NATO defence alliance at the Munich Security Conference. The reason given was that both countries had made a “historic decision” in the wake of the Russian war on Ukraine.
The keynote speech at the award ceremony in the Munich Residence palace on Saturday evening was given by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.
The award is presented every year at a large state reception organized by the Bavarian government.
For Sweden, former prime minister Magdalena Andersson, who started the process, and current Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson accepted the award. The Finnish side was represented by President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
The conference is the world’s largest meeting of experts on security policy. Kleist had founded the predecessor of the Security Conference, the Wehrkunde Conference, in 1963.
The prize honours personalities who have rendered outstanding services to conflict management.
Previous winners include former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt and former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.
In 2020, the prize went to the United Nations, in 2021 to former German chancellor Angela Merkel and last year to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.