Order Honoured at European Parliament in Brussels

On Wednesday, February 26, Brother Jesus Etayo, the Prior General of the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of God, receivied the “First European Citizen Prize” for 2014 in Brussels, The ceremony was held at the European Parliament in Brussels in the presence of theVice President of the European Parliament, Sylvie Guillaume, and numerous distinguished members of the other European institutions.. The Prior General was  accompanied by the General Councillor responsible for the Europe Region, Brother Rudolf Knopp, the General Councillor, Brother Giampietro Luzzato, and the director of the Order’s“Hospitality Europe” European Office, Dr Carlo Galasso.

This award is made annually by the European Parliament to pay tribute to individuals or institutions that have excelled in their commitment to fostering coexistence and integration between the peoples of the Member States through their daily deployment of the values of human dignity, solidarity and tolerance.  Consideration is also given to particularly meritorious work by individuals and organisations belonging to the European Union for the benefit of Third Countries, to put into practice the values of solidarity and international cooperation.

The Order was nominated as a candidate by the Spanish MEP, Gabriel Mato, and was selected for the award as one of the winners for 2014 by a jury made up of the leading officials of the European Institutions, including the former President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and two former Presidents of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pöttering and Enrique Barón. 

The award has been made not only to honour the 500-year-old mission that the Brothers have been performing to provide social and health care in Europe andin other continents for the benefit of millions of sick and marginalised people, and those with disabilities, but also the physicians and nurses belonging to the Order working in the front line as missionaries in the countries of West Africa stricken by the Ebola epidemic. The relief and care provided to the populations of Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the Brothers have been managing two hospitals for many years in the cities of Monrovia and Lunsar, has been at a huge price,  causing the deaths of 13 Co-workers (physicians and nurses), one missionary Sister and four Brothers of the Order, including Brother Miguel Pajares and Brother Manuel Viejo. These are the only European citizens to have lost their lives combating the epidemic: this is yet another reason why Europe wishes to express its gratitude to the Order for this admirable example of courage and solidarity. 

The prize-giving ceremony will be held in the European Parliament at the first plenary session in 2015 in Brussels. At the end of the ceremony, an exhibition will be inaugurated dedicated to the 2014 prize-winners of the First European Citizen prize 2014, coming from the 28 Member States of the European Union. 



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