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Janez Lenarčič made Officier de la Légion d’Honneur

Vienna, 16 January 2009 – French Ambassador to the OSCE Eric Lebèdel today awarded Ambassador Janez Lenarčič the title Officier de la Légion d’Honneur. Ambassador Lenarčič received the decoration mainly for his activities during Slovenia’s EU Presidency.



Ambassador Lenarčič is currently Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. Before that post, during Slovenia’s EU Presidency, he held the position of State Secretary for European Affairs.


The French President awards the French Légion d’Honneur to French citizens for outstanding merit, as well as to foreign citizens sharing and acting towards European ideals that are also supported by France.


French Ambassador Lebèdel described the recipient of the decoration as a true friend of France, who even during his studies showed great interest in French literature and culture. He emphasised that Ambassador Lenarčič has developed and supported European values and democracy throughout his entire career, from his work at the Permanent Representation of Slovenia to the UN in New York at the time of Slovenia’s UN Security Council membership, to the position of State Secretary for European Affairs during Slovenia’s EU Presidency. Ambassador Lebèdel added that Ambassador Lenarčič’s current success as ODIHR Director mirrors his excellent presidency of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna in 2005.


In his address, Ambassador Lenarčič said that the decoration was a symbol of Slovenian–French friendship, the excellent cooperation between Slovenia and France during their EU presidencies, and also proof of France’s support of the work and principles of the institution he currently heads. He said he was particularly honoured by the fact that the last Slovene to receive this decoration before him was author Boris Pahor, who also shares the European ideal and the values of tolerance, cultural diversity and mutual respect. 


The ceremony was attended by several notable figures, including OSCE Secretary General Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, Slovenian Ambassador to the OSCE Stanislav Raščan, Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Vienna Tatjana Kovačič, and representatives of the diplomatic corps and the Slovenian community in Vienna.