The European Union has an opportunity to recover from the crisis and build a better future for the following generations, European Commission President Ursual von der Leyen said on Wednesday, in a broadcast from Brussels during the live award ceremony for the first-ever Empress Theophano prize.
The award recognizes the EU's Erasmus student exchange program, and was received by European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas, who will hand it to von der Leyen in Brussels. Empress Theophano is awarded to individuals or organisations for their contribution to the understanding and strengthening of the notion of the modern European identity.
Named after the Byzantine empress whose contribution was critical in the cultural rebirth of the Western European region, the award was held at the city's historic Rotunda, as signifying the combined Roman, Byzantine, Orthodox, Ottoman and Greek influence on the shaping of Europe.
The event was addressed also by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Schinas and honorary European Council president Herman von Rompuy.