Peter Balazs, professor in the Department of International Relations and director of the Center for European Neighborhood Studies, received the Knight Commander's Cross of the Republic of Germany in recognition of his significant contribution to German-Hungarian relations and the development of Europe. Balazs received the distinction from Lieselore Cyrus, charge d'affaires of the German Embassy in Budapest, in a ceremony May 24.
Professor Balazs played a significant role in shaping Hungary's European and foreign policy, and has been committed to Hungarian-German relations over the past 20 years, the embassy said in a statement. Balazs was named Hungarian ambassador to Germany in 1997. Later he was state secretary in the Hungarian Foreign Ministry and ambassador to the European Union, contributing to Hungary's accession to the EU. Post-accession, he became the first Hungarian commissioner to the EU. He has stood for the rule of universities in representing freedom in higher education and as places for debate, first as the chairman of the board of Andrassy Universitat Budapest, and since 2005 as a professor at CEU, the statement said. As co-chair of the German-Hungarian Forum he contributed to honest dialogue between the two countries, the statement said. Balazs later became Foreign Minister.
"As a committed European, [Professor Balazs] has contributed greatly to his country's integration into European structures," Cyrus said in her address.