EurActiv Awards Winners

The winners of seven different prize categories of the Fondation EurActiv Awards for Debating Europe Nationally were announced on 12 November at the very heart of European democracy – the European Parliament.

A Special Award for European Democracy was given to the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek, former Prime Minister of Poland, for his role in Poland’s transition towards a free and democratic country and as a sign of confidence of that he will guide the Members of the Parliament in bringing the EU closer to citizens. Buzek said: “European democracy is more than European elections once every five years. It is about engaging with national politics on daily basis. It is about making EU’s policies even more relevant to Europe’s citizens. I’m glad that my role in Poland’s transition has been recognised.” President Barroso, of the European Commission, also declared about Mr. Buzek: “Le 9 novembre symbolise la réunification de toute l’Allemagne et de toute l’Europe… L’un des symboles de cette re-unification et de notre démocratie, c’est précisément Jerzy Buzek. Pour son parcours personnel – ancien militant de Solidarnosc, ancien premier ministre de Pologne – et pour son élection comme Président du Parlement Européen. Je le félicite de recevoir le ‘prix pour la démocratie européenne’ de la Fondation EurActiv.”

MEP Guy Verhofstadt, former Belgian Prime Minister, won in the category of Politician or Political Organisation. Members of the VIP Jury referred to him as “one of the most able politicians of his generation, a thinker and writer, a motivator and a doer highly focused on Europe and a real inspiration for future European leaders across the continent”.

In the category of NGO Leader or Organisation, the Network European Movement Germany was recognised as a model for the other national chapters of the European Movement. It is fostering a nationwide platform for improving European political communication.

EuroAtlantic Centre Slovakia was the laureate of the Academic Initiatives category. This student organisation was recognised for its support for discussions in Central Europe on European and Atlantic integration over the last ten years. It also contributes to constructive debate between Hungarians and Slovaks.

In the category of Media Professional or Organisation, ARTE, the French-German bilingual broadcaster was distinguished for its contribution to cross-border debate on Europe’s culture, heritage and future. “A public that shares media experiences and is capable of debating issues across languages is an important step in the creation of a truly European public forum,” the Jury said.

The rail pass InterRail was greeted as the winner of the category of Services & Others for, the Jury said, “enabling since 1972 millions of young European citizens to explore 30 European countries in a green and affordable manner with one single train pass”.

The Special Award for Originality was given to Coffee Futures, a Turkish documentary which the Jury cited for “powerfully weaving the fates of individual characters with the story of Turkey’s decades-long effort to join the EU.” With July 31, 2009 marking the 50th year anniversary of Turkey’s original agreement with the EEC, “Coffee Futures renders the emotional texture of a society whose ‘Europeanness’ has long been debated nationally and internationally”, the Jury said.

The final winners were selected from among the 37 national awards winners by a VIP Jury. In total more than 110 nominations were submitted in 11 languages. National winners were announced earlier this Autumn.

Fondation EurActiv Secretary General Julian Oliver said: “Fondation EurActiv is proud to give its Awards to the winning individuals, organisations and other enablers of national debate nominated by citizens across Europe. We hope that the public recognition of the winners will inspire other political leaders, NGOs, academic world, private sector and the media to engage in boosting debate on Europe at national level.”

The Awards were sponsored by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, The Coca-Cola Company and EURid, which manages the Internet domain .eu. The event’s media partners were Euronews and The International Herald Tribune. The travel partner was Thon Hotels.

The Awards is an initiative of Fondation EurActiv, which provides EurActiv.com with guidance on editorial strategy and coaches non-Brussels-based online media to get a foothold in EU circles.

The objectives of the EurActiv Awards were set out in an earlier press release.

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