Schröder Hails Pope's Role in Europe's Unification

AACHEN, Germany, MARCH 23, 2004 (Zenit.org).- German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said that John Paul II has been a bridge between East and West and has contributed decisively to the peaceful unification of the Continent.

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Schröder expressed this conviction in a letter he wrote to the Pope to congratulate him on the award of the Charlemagne Prize offered by the city of Aachen, which he will receive on Wednesday.

The award is given to individuals and institutions that have played a key part in the process of European unification.

“The Pope has the extraordinary merit of having contributed to the peaceful unification of Europe, of having tirelessly promoted contacts and dialogue, acting in a decisive manner as a bridge between the East and West,” the letter states, parts of which were reported on Vatican Radio.

“The faith that encourages the citizens of the countries of the East has given them the courage and strength to overcome the Communist regimes and to make difficult reforms,” the German chancellor wrote, referring to the forthcoming enlargement of the European Union.

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ZENIT Staff

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