The President of the European Commission, Ms Ursula von der Leyen, has expressed in a video message her deep regret for having to make changes to her scheduled attendance of the inaugural award ceremony for the Empress Theophano Prize.
Following her recent participation in a meeting where one of the attendees tested positive to the virus, the President of the European Commission has been placed in self-isolation; she is not allowed to travel and therefore cannot follow the itinerary of her visit to Thessaloniki, where she was set to accept the inaugural Empress Theophano Prize. Nevertheless, having warmly embraced this Theophano Foundation initiative as well as the decision to award the inaugural prize to the Erasmus Programme, she will take part in the ceremony remotely, delivering her address via video connection. The prize will instead be accepted on her behalf by the European Commission’s Vice President for Protecting our European Way of Life, Mr Margaritis Schinas.
The unprecedented, difficult circumstances of the pandemic in no way detract from the great enthusiasm for the introduction of this new and innovative award, which aims to promote the European idea and collaboration.
The text and video of the statement by the President of the European Commission, Mrs Ursula von der Leyen’s, follows:
“Dear organisers of the of the Theofano Prize and dear citizens of Greece. I would have loved to visit Greece as planned on Wednesday and Thursday, first in Thessaloniki and then in Athens. Everything was ready, everything was arranged, and I was so much looking forward to be present at the award ceremony for the Theofano Prize. But coronavirus is making things difficult. I am in quarantine last now because last week I was in a meeting with a person who tested positive. This is the reason I am taking this video with my mobile phone in self-isolation. I cannot travel to Greece right now. I am very sorry for that. But we have to be careful and we have to do everything possible to reduce the spread of the virus. But I will be with you on Wednesday evening in Thessaloniki for the Theofano Prize via video. I am very much looking forward to that and I promise, I will visit Greece as soon as things get better. Thank you.”