German Chancellor Angela Merkel was on Thursday awarded the renowned Four Freedoms Award for her "moral leadership" during Europe's debt struggle, the Ukraine conflict and the migration crisis.

While accepting the prize, whose previous winners include John F Kennedy, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, Merkel repeated that it was essential that Europe finds a collective solution to the migration crisis.

During the award ceremony in the Dutch city of Middelburg, the chancellor also defended the bloc's controversial migration deal with Turkey, which she said offered a real possibility of putting an end to the business of people smuggling.

The name of the annual award refers to a speech in 1941 by US President Franklin D Roosevelt, in which he listed four core freedoms: the freedom of speech and worship, as well as freedom from want and fear.

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