Bulgaria Showers Merkel with Honors

Diplomacy | October 11, 2010, Monday // 17:28|  views

German Chancellor Merkel looks at Bulgarian President Parvanov seconds after he presented her with the highest Bulgarian state order. Photo by BGNES

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been honored with special medals and titles during her first ever visit to Bulgaria.

After her talks with Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Merkel headed to the Bulgarian Presidency where President Georgi Parvanov awarded her with Bulgaria's highest state medal, "Stara Planina, 1st Degree."

Parvanov explained Merkel grabbed the medal for her contribution to the release of the seven Bulgarian medics jailed in Libya (1999-2007), to the deepening of Bulgarian-German relations, and to the support that Germany granted Bulgaria for the latter's accession to the European Union.

"Bulgaria is on a very good road, with a future. The fact that I am awarded this order will make me speak more about Bulgaria, about our political cooperation, especially in the region of the Western Balkans where we work together to encourage peace and stability. A lot of Germans are not aware of our culture relations, and of how many Bulgarians study in Germany," the German Chancellor said upon receiving the Stara Planina (i.e. "Balkan Mountain") medal.

Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov in turn elaborated that there are many facts behind the general statement that Merkel has been awarded the medal for her "contribution to the Bulgarian-German relations."

"This state order is a recognition of the role that Chancellor Merkel has played in Bulgaria's contemporary history as one of the key European leaders," Parvanov declared.

He explicitly emphasized her diplomatic initiative and tact for the rescue of the seven Bulgaria medics who got sentenced to death in Libya in an almost decade-long trial that attracted global attention.

In a separate ceremony, Angela Merkel was awarded the title of doctor honoris causa of Ruse University "Angel Kanchev."

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Tags: Angela Merkel, Germany, German Chancellor, Bulgaria President, Georgi Parvanov, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Bulgarian medics, EU accession, Stara Planina Order 1st Class, Western Balkans


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