MEP awards 2018: A word from the winners

Greek deputy Eva Kaili hosted the Parliament Magazine's annual MEP awards ceremony recognising MEPs for their outstanding work over the last year.

Eva Kaili - MEP Awards 2018 | Photo credit: Jean-Yves Limet

MEPs were once again recognised for their hard work at the 14th annual MEP awards, which took place last night in Brussels' Concert Noble.

The ceremony was hosted by Greek S&D group member Eva Kaili, who also took home the New Technologies award.

Kicking off the proceedings, Kaili said, "I feel privileged to have met MEPs who are hard workers, open-minded and driving forces of change for good - thinkers and leaders who do whatever is possible to move the EU forward, and to move it forward together."

Below, a few words from our winners - congratulations to all, and many thanks to our sponsors and judges.

Agriculture and rural development
Angelique Delahaye,EPP, France
“I am surprised to receive this but will cherish it in my heart for a long time. It is my first mandate and I am a new MEP but I am very glad to be here and will continue this work until the end of my term, whenever that may be.”

Culture and media
Ilhan Kyuchyuk, ALDE, Bulgaria
“I am very honoured and privileged to win this. Culture is an important part of our history and future and can also play an important part in foreign relations.”

Doru-Claudian Frunzulica, S&D, Romania
"This prize is not just for me but the development committee, its members and staff who are all strongly committed to cutting poverty through development. 2017 was a fruitful year for Parliament in terms of tackling poverty and, together, we have got to promote development and seek solidarity among our nations.”

Digital single market
Reinhard Butikofer, Greens/EFA, Germany
“I am very grateful for this award. I want to stress the importance of international cooperation and togetherness and we will do all we can to foster this. Innovation in the digital sector and eco-efficiency go hand-in-hand.”
Economic and monetary affairs
Jan Olbrycht, EPP, Poland
“This is a very important reward for my team who work so hard and our families too. Some might see budgetary issues as extremely boring, but the MFF is at the heart of the EU. I could be lost in this work but am not thanks to my team, without whom I would not be able to do it.”
Employment and social affairs
Brando Benifei, S&D, Italy
“I dedicate this award to those young people everywhere who continue to work in unfair and indecent working conditions. This includes some in the EU institutions and this is not acceptable. I will continue to work for a better social Europe and more solidarity, all day and every day.”

Morten Helveg Petersen, ALDE, Denmark
“If we are to live up to Paris climate change agreement we need to cooperate. We need to combat climate change and we need to do it together.”

Nils Torvalds, ALDE, Finland
“This is a huge surprise and great honour, but the real work is done by assistants - we need awards for them, and for MEPs’ wives and husbands.”

Foreign affairs
Petras Austrevicius, ALDE, Lithuania
“I’d like to acknowledge Guy Verhofstadt and David McAllister for their work. Our work underlines the importance of  working together and building coalitions.”
Internal market and consumer protection
Marlene Mizzi, S&D, Malta
“I have made a lot of speeches in my life but I am finding this one difficult, but I am honoured and humbled. It is something I will cherish all my life. MEPs do a thankless job and this is acknowledgment of the hard work we do. The biggest challenge for me is to do something that will affect the lives of citizens. Brussels can seem a long way away but it should not be forgotten that MEPs do hard working jobs.”

International trade
Laima Liucija Andrikiene, EPP, Lithuania
“Trade is not about building walls, but building bridges, and no one is better at that than the EU. I am proud to receive this award and would like to thank my team for their hard work.”

Justice and civil liberties
Soraya Post, S&D, Sweden
"I am honoured to receive this and accept it with pride, not least on what is International Day for the Elimination of  Racial Discrimination. I have worked in this field all my life and will not stop until Muslims, Jews and others can practice religious freedom, until migrants are treated as equals and refugees are not demonised. We should also acknowledge that violence against women is a security issue.”
New technologies
Eva Kaili, S&D, Greece
“I did not expect this but it is a great honour and I’d like to thank my hard-working team. I am working closely on artificial intelligence and we need to work together on this issue, not least at a time when people are afraid that their jobs will be replaced by robots.”

Public health
Soledad Cabezon Ruiz, S&D, Spain
“Health is one of the most important values for our citizens and we will seek to continue work to improve peoples' lives. However, what is needed is a better balance between the private and public sectors.”

Regional development
Younous Omarjee, GUE, France
“The more we strengthen cohesion policy, the more we strengthen Europe’s future.”

Research and innovation
Franc Bogovic, EPP, Slovenia
“I’d like to thank the jury and the hard work of my team. Bio-based industries are a very important pillar in the circular economy. We need more innovation and also to foster smart villages and digital skills.”

Peter Kouroumbashev, S&D, Bulgaria
“I’m surprised - I’ve only been in office a year.”

Women’s Rights & Gender Equality
Biljana Borzan, S&D, Croatia
“Having just won the EU ‘Oscar’ for women's rights, I dedicate it to all women across the Balkans."

Outstanding Achievement
Andrey Kovatcev, EPP, Bulgaria
“We should have a vision for our Union, we need to stay strong and united, fast and effective and be everything our citizens want from us - We need to ask ourselves, why don’t we have a directly elected EU President?”

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