Robert Schuman Medal awarded to László Tőkés MEP by EPP Group Chairman Joseph Daul MEP
In the context of the twentieth anniversary of the fall of Communism in Europe, the EPP Group Chairman Joseph Daul awarded the Robert Schuman Medal in a formal ceremony during an EPP Group meeting in Strasbourg to László Tőkés MEP in recognition of the decisive role he played in the Revolution of 1989 in Romania, overthrowing the Communist dictatorial regime of Nicolae Ceausescu.
On 16 December 1989, a protest broke out in Timisoara. An effort to transfer László Tőkés from his post as an Assistant Pastor in Timisoara and to evict him from his Church accommodation helped trigger the Romanian Revolution of 1989. As a result of the bloody revolution - which counted close to over one thousand victims - Nicolae Ceausescu was overthrown and the Communist era was ended in Romania. The people of Timisoara were the spark of the Romanian Revolution. During the following days, thousands of people from all over the country joined forces in solidarity against one of the most oppressive Communist regimes in power in the world at that time.
Awarding the prize, Joseph Daul emphasised the historical role played by Lásló Tőkés in the liberation of Romania from Communist rule. "Men of your courage and your strength made the reunification of Europe possible. Men like you best symbolise the humanistic vision of society that we, the EPP Group, do not cease to defend since the time of the Fathers of Europe. With all my heart, for Romanians and for Europe, I thank you."
The Schuman Medal is an honour presented to people who have made outstanding contributions to European Integration, Democracy and Human Rights. László Tőkés was honoured to accept this medal of great importance.
Receiving the medal, Tőkés declared: "I feel honoured and privileged to receive the Robert Schuman Medal today as we commemorate twenty years since the fall of the brutal Communist regime in Romania where the solidarity of people made the regime fall. It bears rare significance that the revolution broke out in Timisoara, in a city where about ten ethnic communities and as many religious denominations live together, in a spirit of shared empathy and tolerance. The multi-ethnic and multi-religious community joined forces against the common enemy, the 'Genius of the Carpathians'. We refer to these happenings as 'the spirit of Timisoara', a spirit that came in advance of the unity in diversity that we all believe in Europe today."
Among the previous laureates of the Schuman Medal are Elena Bonner-Sakharov, Pope John Paul II, Jean Claude Junker, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, and Michel Barnier.