Pere A Serra, president of the Grup Serra, received the Cross of Commander of the Order of Merit of Germany at a ceremony held at the Balearic Parliament yesterday. The honour was granted by German president Johannes Rau. The ceremony was attended by more than 100 guests, including the leading local authorities, businessmen, family and friends. The Cross was presented by the German Consul in Barcelona, Michael Glotzblach. Former Ambassador Joachim Bitterlich made a speech in which he outlined Serra's role in the evolution of the Balearics into an exemplary European centre. Writer Pere Bonnin praised Serra's work in promoting understanding between the island and German cultures. He said that Mallorca Magazin, the weekly German paper founded by Serra in 1971, had contributed greatly to this. In his acceptance speech, Serra underlined the importance of recovering the German market for tourism, and said that it was a task for the government, media, business and society in general. He called on the politicians present to make an effort for Majorca to continue beating records for the number of German visitors. He also recalled his first visit to Germany more than 50 years ago, with the Bartomeu Ensenyat folklore school.