"I was very happy to accept the franconian medal of merit and, like my colleague frank rebhan, feel extremely honored. We both accepted the award on behalf of all the citizens of sonneberg and neustadt who made franconia day such a success with their efforts in front of and behind the scenes." These were the words of sonneberg’s mayor, heiko voigt, when he was honored by the french federation at the thuringian state chancellery on wednesday.
And voigt went on to say: "I see this award as a great sign of the growing together of sonneberg with our french neighbors and I am sure that this honor can give rise to strength for many more joint french projects. In this respect, the french medal of merit awarded today is a kind of accelerator for us to consistently continue our path of cooperation across national borders."
Since 2008, the french medal of merit has been awarded by the french federation association to individuals and organizations that have rendered outstanding services to franken. This year, for the first time, the french federation honored three people: thuringia’s prime minister bodo ramelow (the left), the mayor of the city of neustadt bei coburg, frank rebhan (SPD), and heiko voigt for the city of sonneberg.
Cultural emblazonment emphasized
In his laudatory speech, former bavarian member of the state parliament wolfgang hoderlein emphasized on behalf of the french federation that the three honorees had "rendered outstanding services to franken by organizing the first cross-border franken day". They had thus underlined "that historical-cultural pragmas of regions are not cancelled by political-administrative borders".
Thuringia’s minister-president bodo ramelow was also very happy about the award, during his visit to the "day of the french" the franken day was a great event for me, where the community between east and west could be experienced. The francophone part of thuringia is a great asset for me and i am proud of this honor."
In a next step, concrete joint project proposals of the intermunicipal cooperation sonneberg – neustadt are to be examined with the minister president for their feasibility. Here, too, ramelow signaled the state government’s goodwill and active support.