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Now Germans put Taoiseach on a pedestal

THE Germans are feting Enda Kenny for his efforts to fix Ireland's economy.

The Taoiseach will next month be recognised by an influential German business group with a statuette depicting Nike, a figure from Greek mythology.

Mr Kenny has been chosen by the German magazine publishers' association as its European of the Year.

It comes after US magazine Time put the Mayo man on the cover of its European edition, with the headline The Celtic Comeback.

The latest accolade is not just for the Taoiseach, but for "Ireland and the Irish people", the association says.

It recognises the "genuine hardship being experienced by many Irish people" under austerity policies.

The award is evidence of Mr Kenny's rising stature on the international stage.

He will be hailed as the Golden Victoria European of the Year 2012 in Berlin next month and be presented with a 12-inch bronze statuette of Nike, the winged goddess of victory of the ancient Greeks.

During the same trip, Mr Kenny will meet Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss Ireland's forthcoming presidency of the EU.

It is likely the key issue of a deal on Ireland's bank debt will also be discussed.

The Verband Deutscher Zeitschriftenverleger (VDZ), will give Mr Kenny the award at a gala on November 8. The VDZ is an umbrella organisation of German publishers, representing 90pc of the market.

Previous recipients include Polish PM Donald Tusk and EC President Jose Manuel Barroso.

Mr Kenny is being recognised for his "strong contribution to Europe and commitment to European ideals both as prime minister and throughout his many years in public life".

The VDZ added: "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."