MEP Awards 2020: Reaction and comment from our winners

Last night’s ‘virtual’ MEP Awards ceremony celebrated the contribution that MEPs make to the everyday lives of Europeans.
Eva Maydell, MEP Awards 2020 host

By Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson is Managing Editor of The Parliament Magazine

02 Dec 2020

Last night’s ‘virtual’ MEP Awards ceremony celebrated the contribution that MEPs make to the everyday lives of Europeans.

Hosting the 16th annual Parliament Magazine’s MEP Awards ceremony, Bulgarian EPP Group deputy Eva Maydell - herself a two time former award winner - said the awards helped “shine a light” on the achievements of her colleagues.

Opening the event, Maydell said, “The MEP awards also encourage new MEPs to use their parliamentary mandate as an opportunity to contribute, on the one hand, to the better functioning and more prosperous European Project, and on the other hand, to show how our work makes a difference to the everyday lives of Europeans.”

“As someone who has already been awarded an MEP award twice, I want to express my very warm congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted, and whatever the outcome I truly hope we will enjoy ourselves this evening.”

This year’s ceremony was a virtual show with Maydell hosting from the European Parliament’s VOX Box studios.

The event was interspersed with competitions and prizes for participants and surprise guest presenters, including European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič, Jobs and Social Rights Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, and Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter.

“As someone who has already been awarded an MEP award twice, I want to express my very warm congratulations to everyone who was shortlisted, and whatever the outcome I truly hope we will enjoy ourselves this evening” Host of this year's MEP Awrds, Eva Maydell MEP

Maydell was ably assisted on the night by The Parliament Magazine’s Editor, Brian Johnson, who also thanked the awards’ judging panel for their work in selecting this year’s shortlist.

Congratulations to all of our winners and many thanks to our sponsors and guest presenters.

Here are a few words from some of last night’s winning MEPs.


Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries

Niclas Herbst (EPP, Germany)

“Fisheries policy is important across the whole sector, for fishermen and fisherwomen, tourism and also for recreational fisheries. Millions of European love to go angling so thank you very much for casting a spotlight on this vital policy”

Digital Single Market

Martina Dlabajová (RE, Czech Republic)

“This year has not been easy for anyone and it’s kind of symbolic to win an award in the Digital Single Market category as we have all gone digital. So I believe we are all digital champions”

Economic & Monetary Affairs, Taxation & Budgets

Ernest Urtasun (Greens/EFA, Spain)

“It has been a year of hard work for me and my team. I’m happy to receive this recognition. Thank you”

Employment, Social Affairs & Regions

Romana Tomc (EPP, Slovenia)

“This award came as a big surprise and a great honour for me. It’s also proof that Europe didn’t forget about its people during these difficult times. I strongly believe that the EU must remain a place where every individual matters. This award is a recognition of my work so far and an incentive to strive on”


Henna Virkunnen (EPP, Finland)

“Thank you for rewarding me with the energy award: it’s a great honour for me. Thanks to the Green Deal, energy is very topical and at the heart of all European policymaking. Europe has to now take the lead in the global energy transition”


Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, Netherlands)

“I am very happy that environmental policies are at the heart of the European political agenda again after quite some years of silence on these issues. But the real legislative work needs to still start and 2021 promises to become a crucial year for that. In that sense I see this reward as a stimulus to work even harder on all this next year, in order to make our planet the real winner of the MEP Environment award”

Food Safety

Irene Tolleret (RE, France)

“Food safety is vital and should be a top EU priority. I am very happy to have been able to actively participate in all the food safety debates during this mandate. I promise to use all my energy to continue participating in the food safety decision-making process. Remember, we are what we eat and there is no healthy mind without a healthy body”


Sara Cerdas (S&D, Portugal)

“We have been hit by a pandemic that uncovered the fragility of EU Member States’ healthcare systems. We must not forget that health goes far beyond the provision of healthcare and that the European Parliament is committed to creating and working for a true European Health Union that leaves no one behind”

Industry, Research & Innovation

Seán Kelly (EPP, Ireland)

“This is a great honour. I didn’t expect it and maybe I don’t deserve it, but I take it on behalf of all MEPs who work so hard, especially this year where we’ve all been confined to working largely online. It’s a collective effort and all our efforts together make the EU what it is, and so I’m delighted to accept this award”

Internal Market & Consumer Protection

Dita Charanzová (RE, Czech Republic)

“We need to keep breaking down the barriers in Europe, both old ones, new ones and also offline and online ones. This has always been my goal and I will continue fighting for it. Thank you for this acknowledgement of my work, for this recognition and for the encouragement that this award provides”

International Trade

Kathleen Van Brempt (S&D, Belgium)

“Over the past year, I've had the pleasure and the honour to lead the trade team of the S&D Group in its fight for a progressive trade agenda. And while thanking you for awarding me with this year’s International Trade Award, I would like to dedicate it to my colleagues, the staff and all people in civil society who have joined us in changing the course of our EU trade policy”

Justice and Gender Equality

Petra De Sutter (Former member of the Greens/EFA)

“I’ve always been an advocate for sexual and reproductive rights. We’re talking about access to contraception and also issues like child marriage and the fight against female genital mutilation. I think that giving girls and women the right to make their own autonomous reproductive choices empowers them and gives them more equal opportunities in life”

Transport & Tourism

Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP, Romania)

“Thank you very much for this award and I shall continue to work in my way, for the benefit of the Transport Committee sector and for the benefit of the people in the Parliament. I’d also like to thank the jury members for appreciating my work in the transport sector. It’s nice to know that people are following what you are doing in the parliament”

Best Social Media User

Anna Julia Donàth (RE, Hungary)

“In the 21st century, social media gives me the best platform to do this. I’m really honoured to be the first MEP to receive an award in this new category.  Thank you so much.”

Best Assistant

Carmen Dinu

“I think it is very important that this year for the first time, one of the awards is dedicated to parliamentary assistants. I believe that this award is recognition of our contribution to the work and achievement of our deputies”

Best Newcomer

Evin Incir (S&D, Sweden)

“This award means a lot to me and to my team and it gives us strength to continue the work that we have been doing for more than a year and a half on delivering an equal EU for all citizens. So thank you very much to The Parliament Magazine”

Outstanding Achievement

Jerzy Buzek (EPP, Poland)

“I’m truly honoured to receive the Outstanding Achievement award from the Parliament Magazine.  I’m happy that in the end, this House has always managed to win, not a war, but peace and the better prosperity of Europeans.”


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