Europe is only strong as it is united, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during the acceptance speech of the Carlos V European award with which she was presented by King Felipe VI in a ceremony held in Spain.
I won't be here anymore but will watch closely how far the ability to compromise goes in Europe. Centrifugal forces have been at work in the European Union for several years now, arguing that divisions arise when the Eu does not fulfill its promises and inequality is allowed to advance.
On bestowing the award the Spanish king said Merkel was a personality that was always ahead of her time.
Among those present at the ceremony in the Royal Monastery of Yuste, in the province of Caceres was Spanish president Pedro Sánchez, several Spanish ministers and foreign diplomats.
The award honors individuals, organizations and projects that enhance Europe's cultural and historic values. It has been awarded since 1995, and former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl received it in 2006.
Merkel also called for an EU updated approach to climate change. People speak much too often about the costs of climate protection and much too little about the cost of failing to protect the climate, she said, recalling July's devastating floods in Germany. However the German caretaker chancellor praised EU for working to become carbon neutral by 2050.