German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier presented the award which is named after the famous 1648 agreement which ended the Thirty Years' War and ushered in a new era of diplomacy and co-existence between neighboring sovereign states.
"In the century since gaining independence, your countries, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, to which we are awarding the Peace of Westphalia Prize today, have stood out – they have stood out for their unwavering love of freedom!" said Steinmeier, who was a frequent visit to the Baltics during his time as German foreign minister.
“The Peace Prize is a reminder to the whole world about the strong spirit and perseverance of the people in the Baltic States on their way to freedom. Looking at the 21st century, the Prize is a powerful stimulus behind to remember the most important thing, the importance of peace in Europe, in our everyday hurry and the individual interests of each country,” said President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis when receiving the Prize alongside his Estonian and Lithuanian counterparts.
“I am convinced that our common future lies in a united Europe where close cooperation, solidarity, and determination to achieve the goals set rule. A united Europe based on common values, freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. We can only be so strong in order to take advantage of today's opportunities and face up to today's challenges," he said.
The prize was founded in 1998 by the Economic Society for Westphalia and Lippe and is awarded every two years for peace-building in Europe and in the wider world. It comes with €100,000 in addition to a statuette and previous winners have included Vaclav Havel, Helmut Kohl, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Kofi Annan, and Daniel Barenboim.