Caputova Receives European Prize for Political Culture

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President Zuzana Caputova (stock photo by TASR)

Ascona/Bratislava, August 11 (TASR) – Contemporary political culture needs less marketing and more truth and authenticity, Slovak President Zuzana Caputova stated at a ceremony held in the Swiss town of Ascona, where she was awarded the European Prize for Political Culture late on Saturday.

Caputova harbours the conviction that politicians are responsible for facts in their public speeches, their tone and the climate they inspire. She perceives the Brexit campaign and dissemination of hoaxes about migrants as a warning. “The stakes are high and the enormous responsibility is bigger than our candidacies and posts; it influences whether people will even believe in democracy and political representatives anymore,” thinks Caputova, who believes that the lack of trust shakes the very foundations of all Europe.

Caputova cited public protests in the wake of the murders of journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kusnirova as an example of positive change. “People are calling for change in other European countries as well, but the crowd of tens of thousands displaying peacefulness and decency is not always a given. People in Slovakia have demonstrated their maturity,” she added.

In her speech, the President also touched on the lingering dividing line in EU between the East and West. She attributes its continuing existence to the lack of trust and understanding. “It’s necessary to perceive the historical context of Eastern European countries and simultaneously not ease up on the required EU values. However, compliance with these values must be expected from everyone equally, irrespective of their geographical location or duration of EU membership,” she claimed.

The European Prize for Political Culture is awarded to figures from European politics every year by the Hans Ringier Foundation. Previous laureates include, for instance, German president F.W. Steinmeier, Serbian president Boris Tadic, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk.