Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny has been named as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious ‘European of the Year’ award by a German publication.

The German Magazine Publishers Association (VDZ) said the award was in recognition of Kenny’s “strong contribution to Europe and commitment to European ideals both as prime minister and throughout his many years in public life.”

“In these difficult times, Europe benefits from the open, outward-looking character of the Irish State and people and from the calibre of its prime minister, Enda Kenny,” said the VDZ.

VDZ President Prof Hubert Burda said the accolade was a show of appreciation for the pro-European attitude of the Irish.

“Ireland’s determined response to the current economic and financial crisis has been widely respected, particularly in view of the genuine hardship being experienced by many Irish people.

“Despite being located at the western edge of the continent, the green island has always been at the heart of Europe.”

The Irish Prime Minister will be presented with the award at a ceremony in Berlin on November 8.

Last year the prize was awarded to Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, and in 2010 European Commission President José Manuel Barroso was the recipient.

Enda Kenny on the front cover of TIME magazine