Luxembourg Air Rescue (LAR) together with its German counterpart DRF Luftrettung have been awarded the 2020 Adenauer-De Gaulle Prize for their cross-border achievements during the COVID-19 crisis.
The prize recognises the efforts of both organisations in transporting and repatriating French coronavirus patients to and from German hospitals.
“This solidarity of civil society across borders was particularly important at a time of heightened fear and tension in the everyday lives of people in the border region,” said Michael Roth, member of the Bundestag and Minister of State for Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office, and Clément Beaune, State Secretary for European Affairs at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
René Closter, CEO and President of LAR, added: “Especially at a time when European values are being openly attacked and challenged, we are particularly keen to underscore our attachment to France and our European neighbours”.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020, LAR carried out rescue flights from regions in eastern France that were badly impacted by the first wave, making a significant contribution to the relief of overcrowded intensive care units.
René Closter explained: “This award is awarded not only to LAR as an organisation, but above all to the LAR-staff who, even during the pandemic, stand ready to intervene day and night to save lives, in Luxembourg, the Greater Region and around the world” .
The Adenauer-De Gaulle Prize was established on the 25th anniversary of the Elysée Treaty on 22 January 1988 and is awarded to persons, initiatives or institutions who, through their work, have made an outstanding contribution to the consolidation of Franco-German friendship. A binational jury, co-chaired by the Commissioner for Franco-German Cooperation selects the award winners.
LAR shares the €10,000 prize with Germany’s DRF air rescue team. If coronavirus restrictions allow, the prize will be handed over to representatives of both organisations at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris in the first quarter of 2021.