ANGUS Robertson, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, has received a prestigious award at a ceremony at the Austrian Parliament in Vienna.

The Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria is rarely given to non-Austrians, but was decreed by outgoing Austrian president Heinz Fischer.

It was presented by the parliamentary leader of Austria’s governing coalition People’s Party (ÖVP), Reinhold Lopatka, and Martin Eichtinger, the Austrian ambassador to the UK.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka attended the award ceremony, along with senior diplomats and former journalist colleagues of Robertson from the Austrian media. Robertson, who worked for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation and as BBC correspondent in Vienna during the 1990s, has served as chairman and secretary of the Austrian Parliamentary Group at Westminster since 2001.

He is also a regular German-language commentator on Austrian media.

“It is a huge honour to be granted this award by the Austrian president and to receive it in the Austrian Parliament,” Robertson said.

“I have a huge affection for the Alpine republic and am fortunate enough to have lived and worked there for a decade.

“Co-operation between European nations is really important to me and I have worked to foster relations between Austria and the UK in the Westminster Parliament since 2001.

“This award is recognition of the value of European co-operation which I will continue to support into the future.”

Eichtinger said: “Angus Robertson is a good friend of Austria and Europe. We are hugely indebted to him for his efforts to foster relations between Austria and the UK at Westminster.

“This award is rarely bestowed on non-Austrians and it is a valued token of our appreciation for his work as chairman and secretary of the Austrian Parliamentary Group as well as his promotion of Austria at home and abroad.”