With the reform of CAP and its surrounding policy areas, agriculture and rural affairs continue to remain high on the EU political agenda. This award aims to recognise the work of an individual MEP who has made a significant contribution to promoting agriculture across Europe.

Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos – S&D, Portugal

Born on 22 August 1951 in Montemor-o-Nov in the Alentejo region of Portugal, Luis Manuel Capoulas Santos was elected to the European parliament in 2004. He is an influential member and coordinator for the S&D group in the parliament’s agriculture and rural development committee. The Portuguese deputy is a former state secretary for agriculture and minister of agriculture and fisheries for his national government. Capoulas Santos is the rapporteur of two reports on the common agricultural policy reform on rural development and direct payments and rural development regulations for farmers. The final approval of CAP after two years of negotiation is, by itself, the recognition of the “merits and the impact” of the tireless work of Capoulas Santos over the past few years in parliament. He is credited as having “contributed decisively to mitigate negative impacts” of some of the policy measures initially proposed.

Alyn Smith – Greens/EFA, UK

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1973, Alyn Smith was initially elected as a member of the European parliament in 2004. He studied law and European law at Leeds university and graduated from Nottingham law school in 1996. The Greens/EFA MEP also gained a Master's degree in European studies from the college of Europe in Warsaw. Smith, who is an active member of the committee on agriculture and rural development, is a tireless campaigner for the agricultural community. The issue of farm support payments in Scotland has been a huge issue which Smith has been credited with “spearheading” in Brussels and Strasbourg. He is an honorary associate of the British veterinary association, and his efforts in promoting the rights of farmers in Europe’s agricultural sector have been praised. Recently, he was the recipient of an "outstanding contribution to Scottish agriculture" award from Scottish farmer magazine.

Elisabeth Köstinger – EPP, Austria

Elisabeth Köstinger, born in 1978 in Wolfsberg, Austria, was elected as a member of the European parliament in 2009 and sits on the committee of agriculture and rural development. Köstinger has been the vice-chair of the Austrian farmers' federation since 2009. The EPP deputy has a history of involvement in rural development issues, having held positions of leadership in the Austrian rural youth movement at local, district and regional level from 1995 to 2005. She has also been federal head of the Austrian young farmers' association since 2007. The EPP parliamentarian studied journalism, communication and applied cultural studies at the University of Klagenfurt and has also taken part in courses organised by the Austrian rural youth organisation and the young farmers' organisation. She has been nominated for her “very professional manner” during the reform of the common agricultural policy, which she “mastered” as shadow rapporteur.

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This awards recognises an MEP who has tweeted the most effective and entertaining tweets and who has used Facebook to inform, amuse and provoke debate amongst their followers.

Andrew Duff – ALDE, UK

In the run up to the 2014 European elections, ALDE deputy Andrew Duff has been one of the most active MEPs on Twitter. His account is personally managed, and, according to those who have nominated him, is a great attribute to interactive communications. The Cambridge graduate has also been recognised as an older user in the young-user dominated field of social media, which is both inspiring and worthy of a mention. The regular Twitter user, who received an OBE in 1997 for services to politics and is currently president of the Union of European Federalists, boasts nearly 7000 followers and is also very active on Facebook too.

Sajjad Karim – ECR, UK

Sajjad Karim has been nominated for his very proactive use of social media for informing the public of the work he and other MEPs are undertaking in the European parliament. In addition, the British MEP is keen to break down the democratic deficit and sees Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and more as the best way to disperse information about what goes on in Brussels. He has grown his Twitter followers from 800 to almost 3000 in less than two years; has over 1200 likes on his Facebook fan page, has over 100 videos on his YouTube page, with the ECR deputy engaging regularly with citizens across these networks.

Marietje Schaake – ALDE, Netherlands

Marietje Schaake has been particularly active on social media, where she freely shares information about her work in the European parliament. However, according to those nominating her, she understands that social media is not only about advertising or self-promotion. She often communicates on EU and world affairs in a highly instructive way, aiming to raise awareness of many issues among her followers. She has also proven very responsive on these various platforms and her daily use of social media demonstrates that it is not just an additional campaigning platform during election times: social media can be used as a participatory tool at any time, helping to bridge the gap between voters and politicians.

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In this increasingly interconnected and globalised world, digital technology remains at the forefront of EU policy and is a key driver of economic recovery and in the promotion of growth and jobs in Europe. With increased focus placed on cyber security and data protection, this award aims to recognise excellence in completing Europe's digital agenda and in promoting a return to growth for Europe

Amalia Sartori – EPP, Italy

Amalia Sartori, born in 1947, in Valdastico, Italy, was elected to the European parliament in 1999. As chair of the industry, research and energy committee, the Italian deputy has been a dedicated advocate of promoting the European digital agenda's goals. Moreover, Sartori has worked continuously to promote the participation of women in the information and communications technology sector, saying "Europe can't afford to waste women's talents". The EPP politician has produced important work on major pieces of legislation, such as the security of gas supply in times of international crisis and ensuring greater protection for vulnerable consumers. She has remained highly active in the areas of internet governance, broadband and roaming. As a previous winner in this category, Sartori has once again been recognised for her intense work in this area.

Seán Kelly – EPP, Ireland

Born on 26 April 1952 in Killarney, Ireland, Seán Kelly has long championed digital rights and data protection regulation, with particular attention paid to protecting the rights of children in the online environment and guaranteeing the rights of data subjects. Kelly, elected to the European parliament in 2009, served as rapporteur for the industry, research and energy committee on justice commissioner Viviane Reding's proposals for the overhaul of the data protection regime across the EU in 2013. The Irish deputy has also highlighted the rise of cyber bullying by hosting a number of events in parliament campaigning “vigorously” against this issue. He has been dedicated to promoting digital skills in Europe including organising in the parliament the first EU CoderDojo, an open source, volunteer-led, global movement of free coding clubs for young people. He remains dedicated to promoting an online digital single market that breaks down barriers between member states, encouraging innovation and enterprise..

Marielle Gallo – EPP, France

Since her election in 2009, Marielle Gallo has worked relentlessly on a single digital agenda for Europe. Gallo, born in 1949 in Lons-le-Saunier, France, has furthered digital rights specifically in the field of intellectual property rights. In using her expertise as a qualified lawyer, Gallo has led the way in providing a balanced approach between copyright holders and consumers in the EU digital market. In November 2011, the French politician also championed the creation of a new platform in the European parliament –the intellectual property forum. This platform aims to trigger a dialogue among the different parties, experts and policymakers in the areas of copyright and industrial property. In 2013, her proposal on a directive on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online uses was unanimously adopted in first reading by the commission, parliament and council

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The Eurozone and economic crisis in Europe has had a devastating effect on many European countries making Economic and Monetary affairs an increasingly important policy area to promote a return to growth for the European economy. This award aims to recognise an MEP who has made an outstanding contribution in this area. 

Derk Jan Eppink – ECR, Belgium

Derk Jan Eppink, born in 1958, has been a member of the European parliament since 2009 and is a vice-president of the ECR group. He began his career as a journalist, first in Holland then in Belgium. Elected to the European parliament as a Dutchman running for a party in Belgium, he is originally from Steenderen, and studied Dutch law at university in Amsterdam before later studying European law and international politics. He has previously held a position in the cabinet of Siim Kallas – from Estonia and, at the time, vice-president of the commission responsible for administration, audit and anti-fraud. He is a member of the economic and monetary affairs committee, and is a substitute on the budget and budgetary control committees. He was rapporteur on the European semester for economic policy coordination and has consistently raised awareness about the “extraordinary actions” of the European central bank both before and after the financial crisis.

 Anne Jensen – ALDE, Denmark

Anne Jensen is a Danish politician and MEP who sits on the parliament's committee on budgets. Born in 1951 in Kalundborg, the ALDE deputy successfully steered the 2014 budget through Parliament. The MEP, since 1999, was rapporteur on the joint text on the draft general budget of the EU for the financial year 2014, which was approved by the conciliation committee. Jensen labelled the outcome as “an austerity budget” given that it is almost six per cent down on 2013 levels. However, she did note that she was “glad we managed to secure more funds for growth policies for research, education and innovation and for humanitarian aid in the Middle East”. The Danish politician is credited as one of Brussels' “most hardworking MEPs” and praised for her role as a rapporteur on parliament's budgets, by doing an “excellent job on a key issue”.

Arlene McCarthy – S&D, UK

Arlene McCarthy was elected to the European parliament in 1994 and later appointed as a vice chair of the economic and monetary affairs committee. Born in 1960 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the S&D deputy was rapporteur on a proposal to tackle banker bonuses after the libor scandal. McCarthy was hailed for her steering of the legislation through parliament and she personally praised the support the bill received. The result was the first law to introduce tough EU-wide criminal penalties for market abuse, with a minimum jail sentence of four years for serious offences such as insider dealing and market manipulation. Under the new rules, legal persons, such as investment firms, operating in the financial services sector across the EU will be criminally liable for offences of market abuse. McCarthy has been credited for providing an “important first step in holding companies criminally to account”.



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Employment and social affairs remain an important issue for EU Policy makers with high levels of unemployment across a number of Member states and the risk of social exclusion to many European citizens. This award aims to celebrate an MEP who has worked tirelessly to promote the rights of EU citizens through sound social policy and the promotion of employment initiatives

Edite Estrela – S&D, Portugal

Edite Estrela was born in Belver, Portugal, in 1949 and is nominated for her longstanding commitment to women's rights and equality in Europe. The S&D MEP is acknowledged for the “diligence and perceptiveness” of her role in the European parliament. Estrela graduated with a degree in classical philology and later received a Master’s degree in media studies in 1987. She taught Portuguese literature from 1973 to 1986 and was a presenter of television and radio programmes about the Portuguese language. She served as vice chair of Lisbon city council from 1995 to 2002. Currently, the Portuguese deputy is a vice chair of parliament's women's rights and gender equality committee. And Estrela has also received particular praise is for being a strong and active advocate for sexual and reproductive health and rights in Europe and the world.

Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg – S&D, Poland

Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg, born in 1957 in Wrocław, Poland and was first elected to the European parliament in 2004. Geringer de Oedenberg's current activities in the parliament include her position as a quaestor, as well as her membership of the committee on legal affairs and parliament’s bureau. Female entrepreneurship, gender equality in boardrooms and equal representation of women in public life are several themes that the Polish politician has voiced her support for. Moreover, Geringer de Oedenberg has taken an active position in the fight against domestic violence and participated in the global coalition of the ‘peace one day 'campaign to reduce domestic violence. The S&D MEP also co-hosted a three-day event on ‘women entrepreneurs: five pillars for growth’ in February 2013 which focused on five themes which were identified essential for the successful development of female entrepreneurship in Europe.

Csaba Őry – EPP, Hungary

Csaba Őry, born in 1952 in Budapest, Hugary, is parliament's EPP group coordinator on the employment and social affairs committee. He is a past winner of this category, winning this MEP award in 2006. Őry was elected to the parliament in 2004, after gaining a PhD in political science and law from Eötvös Loránd university in Budapest. He has been commended for his “excellent work” in promoting the youth guarantee programme which was adopted by parliament in February of last year. The Hungarian deputy is a substitute member of the development committee and was also shadow rapporteur on the proposal for a regulation of the European parliament and council on the fund for ‘European aid to the most deprived’ which was adopted by the parliament in June 2013, and which he later hailed as “a great success”.

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Energy policy is one of the EU's biggest challenges balancing the need for more supply in Europe with the promotion of more sustainable and green forms of energy. This award recognizes the concerted effort of an individual MEP in this dynamic and challenging policy area.

Anne Delvaux - EPP, Belgium

Belgian MEP Anne Delvaux has received a nomination in the energy category for her work in leading the negotiations in the European parliament as co-rapporteur on the own-initiative report on the 2030 climate and energy package of the EU, overcoming many obstacles along the way to reach an ambitious and forward-looking text. The former journalist was previously a Belgian senator and also worked as a lecturer following her degree in communications from the Catholic university of Leuven. In addition to her work on the own initiative report, the EPP member has argued for a single EU representative for energy, saying that this would make the EU more credible at an international level. She also feels that an internal energy market is essential as the EU is too dependent on energy, and has frequently raised this issue in parliament.

Christa Klaß - EPP, Germany

EPP deputy Christa Klaß has been nominated for the energy award this year for taking a "very balanced and constructive approach" during the negotiations on the commission's proposal for a reduction of the biofuels' target in the transport sector and for tackling indirect land-use change. Her work to bring in all relevant stakeholders informed her approach and ensured better outcomes for Europe's citizens. The mother of three has been a member of the European parliament since 1994. During her time in parliament she has served on the environment, public health and food safety; agriculture and rural development and women and gender equality and rights committees. She is also an active member of the cross-party Intergroup on wine and, interestingly, a qualified master in winemaking.

Konrad Szymański -  ECR, Poland

Polish MEP Konrad Szymański has been nominated for taking an active role in the definition of our future climate and energy policy, in particular as co-rapporteur on parliament’s own-initiative report on the 2030 framework for climate and energy policies. The report draws attention to the need for more energy security, the role of the energy sector in regards to competitiveness, high energy prices in the EU and the need for a fair distribution of the burdens of climate policy. The ECR deputy has supported a balanced and realistic approach, as well as cost-effective policies, while also paying attention to the competitiveness objective and the need to protect industry from carbon leakage. Szymański has been vocal on Europe's energy policy during his time in parliament.

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Environment policy has become an important policy area in promoting a more sustainable and cleaner Europe for all citizens. This legislative area has become a key component in shaping the EU's policy framework. The winner of this award will be recognized for their continued significant contribution in this area..

Chris Davies – ALDE, UK

It is for his commendable work on the common fisheries policy (CFP) that British deputy Chris Davies has been nominated. The UK MEP has been praised for putting the conservation of fish stocks at the heart of the new CFP and helping to ensure a long-term future for the industry. Along with a group of MEPs, he created a cross party coalition called 'Fish for the future', which sought to end overfishing and discards. More than a third of all MEPS, from across the political spectrum, joined the coalition, and the movement resulted in parliament voting to end discards and overfishing by 2015. Davies, a member of parliament's environment, public health and food safety committee, has also promoted the use of carbon capture and storage as a means to reduce CO2 emissions with his report on the issue.

Reinhard Bütikofer – Greens/EFA, Germany

Co-chair of the European Green party, Reinhard Bütikofer has been recognised for his support against illegal waste shipments. The German deputy's report on an effective raw materials strategy for Europe emphasised the need to combat the illegal shipment of recyclable materials and of waste containing useful raw materials, in particular electronic waste, and called on member states to give "urgent attention to this task". The member of parliament's industry, research and energy committee also urged the commission to study illegal waste streams and to report regularly on the successes in fighting illegal waste exports. Bütikofer continues to work hard to improve resource efficiency, promoting sustainable use of materials, a reduction in waste and, where possible, the use of fewer materials in the first place and has been praised for "levelling the playing field" on the issue of waste materials.

Maurice Ponga – EPP, France

This outspoken French MEP has been nominated for his engagement in overseas biodiversity conservation in particular, and during his time in office Maurice Ponga has worked tirelessly on environmental issues. As a member of parliament's development committee, he has promoted strategies to counter climate change and biodiversity loss in both the EU and its overseas territories. He has also been particularly active in ensuring an effective common fisheries policy and illegal fishing, again both within Europe and beyond, providing many opinions on reports in these areas. The ECR deputy, born in Kouaoua, New Caledonia – an overseas territory of France, previously had a long career as a politician on the island, including holding positions in agriculture, fisheries and maritime. He has since promoted the Pacific region as a home to "European ambassadors", embodied by the overseas countries and territories, such as New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, French Polynesia and Pitcairn.

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The European Parliament continues to drive action in health policy which has become a major issue especially in areas that affect citizens such as the safety of Pharmaceutical products and promoting debate surrounding Europe's aging population. The individual who will receive this award will be celebrated for their tireless work to promote policy in this important area.

Linda McAvan – S&D, UK

The efforts of environment, public health and food safety committee member Linda McAvan have been highlighted due to her hard work in delivering parliament's revised tobacco products directive. The British deputy fought a determined campaign to ensure that tobacco products are not made attractive to young people, in an attempt to tackle what she describes as an "important public health problem in Europe". Among the adopted measures is a requirement for all tobacco packets to carry a health warning covering 65 per cent of their surface. Those nominating the S&D MEP also praised her commitment to the directive in light of "fierce" lobbying by the tobacco industry, and for doing it within the current legislative period of the European parliament. McAvan has also produced noteworthy efforts on many parliament reports on pharmacovigilance and drug safety.

Antigoni Papadopoulou – S&D, Cyprus

Antigoni Papadopoulou has been recognised for the particular attention she has paid to health issues. During her time in the European parliament the S&D MEP has organised many events in this policy area, with a special focus on heart problems. A key example of her hard work in this area is the written declaration which she initiated on establishing a European cardiac arrest awareness week which was unanimously adopted by the majority of the European parliament, pressing for common programme; systematic data collection; awareness raising; harmonised legislation and national strategies for equal access to high quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation to improve survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest throughout Europe. Within this she established the European restart a heart day, which aims to raise awareness of the condition and help increase number of people surviving out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

Alojz Peterle – EPP, Slovenia

Over his term in office, EPP MEP Alojz Peterle has been a consistent and valued champion for health, and cancer in particular. As a member of parliament's environment, public health and food safety committee, and co-chair of the working group on health, he has been selected for his determination to keep health on the political agenda in the EU, and is a staunch supporter of civil society. Special attention has also been given to his efforts as president of the informal all-party forum, MEPs against Cancer. His commitment to battling cancer is proven by his tireless and active promotion of cancer prevention, care and control and, according to those who nominated him for this award, this activity and commitment is highly valued across many sectors. The Slovenian deputy's interest in complementary and alternative medicines has also received praise.


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The Single Market and its free movement of people, goods and services is one of the absolute foundations of the EU. In these difficult economic times, it has become more important to ensure that the internal market remains barrier free to promote business and growth and protect consumers. The award will recognise an MEP who has displayed concerted efforts to promote a barrier free, single European internal market.

Jürgen Creutzmann – ALDE, Germany

Born in Speyer, Germany, in 1945, Jürgen Creutzmann studied business administration at the university of Mannheim before entering politics in 1983. From 1998 up until his election in 2007 as an MEP, Creutzmann was member of the landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate in his native Germany, including holding the position of vice-president. Nominated for his role as parliament's ALDE group shadow rapporteur on the consumer product safety regulation (CPSR), the German MEP's "outspoken and effective" approach has drawn particular praise. Creutzmann has pushed for the safeguarding of "openness and access to the European single market for all economic operators such as manufacturers, authorized representatives, importers, as well as retailers", while ensuring a "high level of consumer safety and protection". The ALDE deputy has also "consistently advocated the principle of simplification and smart regulation in regards to CPSR".

Malcolm Harbour – ECR, UK

British ECR deputy Malcolm Harbour has been nominated for his role in "ensuring consumer issues are again uppermost in the institutional agenda". Harbour has been praised as being "hugely adept and exceptionally" fair during his tenure as chair of parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee. The UK MEP, who was first elected to the European parliament in 1999 and will retire after the close of this legislature, has been a driving force in improving the functioning of the single market, including pushing for initiatives which form the bedrock of the digital single market. A previous winner of this award in 2010, Harbour's work as a parliamentarian has benefited "both business and societal interests", with his native Britain recognising his services to the UK economy by appointing him commander of the order of the British empire last year.

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt – EPP, Sweden

Since her election to the European parliament in 2009, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt has been striving continuously to enable the single market to realise its full potential. Nominated for her efforts in resolving the "sensitive issue of unfair practices in business to business relations across the food chain", the EPP deputy has put in the hours collecting all relevant opinions so that she can understand every side of this subject. She galvanised stakeholders by actively supporting the 'supply chain initiative' – a voluntary joint action aimed at increasing fairness in commercial relations. Praised for her "thoughtful and constructive" contributions to parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee, Corazza Bildt stands out as one of the institutions "most hard-working and effective legislators". The Swedish MEP also campaigns on a number of other issues outside of parliament, including here tireless work to tackle food wastage and the need to tackle climate change.

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The development and application of shared principles, rules, decision-making procedures and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the internet are at the heart of the current topical debate on data security and internet freedoms. The aim of this award is to recognise the MEP who has made a significant contribution in this key field on behalf of EU citizens over the last year.

Róża Thun - EPP, Poland

Born in Kraków in 1954, Róża Maria Gräfin von Thun und Hohenstein was elected as an MEP in 2009 and sits on parliament's influential internal market committee. A former chair of the Polish Robert Schuman foundation, Thun was also the head of the European commission's representation to Poland between 2005 and 2009 and is also currently a vice president of the European movement international. Twice previously shortlisted - in 2011 and 2013 - for an MEP award, this year Thun has been proposed for, "being actively involved in all aspects of the digital society," and in particular for her efforts in developing Europe's digital single market including her role as rapportureship on the online dispute resolution for consumer disputes regulation and for her work on roaming, copyright and ACTA.

Jan Philipp Albrecht - Greens/EFA, Germany

Born in Brunswick in Lower Saxony in 1982, Jan Philipp Albrecht is Germany's youngest MEP. After studying law in Bremen, Brussels and Berlin, he graduated from the universities of Hanover and Oslo with a degree in ICT related law. He became an MEP in 2009 and quickly established himself as a champion of 'digital' civil liberties. Currently leading parliament's negotiations with member states over the EU's general data protection regulation, Albrecht has also been a key player in the EU-US data protection framework agreement and has been instrumental in formulating the assembly's responses to the US NSA-Prism scandals. Earlier this year he successfully steered parliament's LIBE committee into agreeing a call for NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden to testify in front of MEPs.

Edit Herczog - S&D, Hungary

Cutting the cost of building broadband infrastructure across Europe has been a key issue for Hungarian deputy Edit Herczog over the last few years. Her report on measures to reduce the cost of deploying high-speed electronic communications networks – currently in the final throes of negotiation with member states – has always, at its heart, been people and business focussed, with Herczog herself telling the Parliament Magazine recently that, "the EU cannot afford to leave its citizens and businesses lagging behind the technical developments across electronic communications of the world we live in today, the internet must be for all". Born in Budapest in 1961, Herczog has been an MEP since 2004.

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Antoniya Parvanova – ALDE, Bulgaria

This forthright Bulgarian has proven to be a strong and constant supporter of women’s rights in the area of sexual and reproductive rights, and access to healthcare. In this, she has focused on the right and access to in-vitro fertilisation treatments for women and couples. Parvanova, a deputy leader of ALDE who joined parliament along with her native country's EU accession in 2007, has shown leadership in promoting respect and protection of the rights of ethnic minority and migrant women. Nominated for her efforts throughout her parliamentary career in upholding citizens' rights and gender equality with "vehement commitment", her endeavours on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime directive was considered "crucial in reaching a successful outcome". She has also been applauded for her key role on dossiers such as such as "the gender pay gap, the role of women in business leadership, work-life balance and gender equality".

Kinga Gál – EPP, Hungary

Born in 1970 in Kolozsvár, Romania, Kinga Gál has been a member of the European parliament since 2004. The holder of a university degree in law from the faculty of law of ELTE in Budapest, Gál worked for four years as a research fellow in the European centre for minority issues in Flensburg, Germany. Nominated for her work in favour of "linguistic diversity" in Europe, particularly for minority languages, the EPP deputy has been praised for "available and approachable" attitude while a vice-chair of parliament's civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee. She has also been recognised for maintaining an "impeccable discourse" across the whole of her parliamentary career. Gál has also pursued her work through the European parliament's traditional national minorities, constitutional regions and regional languages intergroup, where she has made the EU's motto of 'united in diversity' a driving force in her endeavours to push for greater inclusion and integration for Europe's peoples.

Eija Ritta Korhola – EPP, Finland

Chair of the First Step Forum human rights organisation since 2002, Eija-Riitta Korhola has been nominated for being a "champion of civil, political and women's rights applying equally inside and outside the European Union". First elected to the European parliament in 1999, Korhola has committed herself tirelessly to a number of policy areas. One of Twitter's most outspoken and entertaining parliamentarians, this Finnish deputy is being celebrated for her work on advocating for European companies and governments to display "equal behaviour" in their activities at home and abroad. A great believer in promoting "Europe's leadership in justice and civil liberties", Korhola, however, is unafraid to speak her mind or to highlight the hypocrisy of first world nations and organisations when it comes to issues of universal human rights and dignity for all.

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Regions within the EU provide their own public policy issues, including making use of EU structural and development funds. The winner of the regional development award will have made an influential contribution in this area over the past year. 

Cornelius de Jong – GUE/NGL, Netherlands

Cornelius de Jong, born in 1955 in Delft, Netherlands, was elected as an MEP in 2009. Currently, the Dutch deputy sits on the internal market and consumer protection committee. It is through his work for this committee that he has been nominated for the regional development award. As rapporteur on the European retail action plan, he has promoted the concept of independent SME retail entrepreneurs reaching “their full potential”, while retaining their independence, by joining groups of retailers. This inclusive business model allows independent retailers to assist each other, and achieve economies of scale, by using their group network. Given the local and regional business that flourish as a result, de Jong has been nominated for the regional development award.

Elisabeth Schroedter – Greens/EFA, Germany

Elisabeth Schroedter, born 1959 in Dresden, Germany, was elected to the European parliament in 1994, and is currently a vice chair of the employment and social affairs committee and a substitute member of the regional development committee. In 2013, the German MEP worked on the EU's multiannual financial perspective in relation to Europe's future regional policy and she has been lauded as being “instrumental” in promoting the systematic integration of a gender equality perspective in the implementation of the structural funds. Also, the Greens/EFA deputy was shadow rapporteur for the regional policy common provisions regulation and supported gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting in the negotiations with the commission and council.

Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid – EPP, France

Marie-Thérèse Sanchez-Schmid, born 1957 in Perpignan, France was first elected to the European parliament in 2009, and is currently a substitute member of the regional development committee (REGI). In 2013, the French politician was rapporteur on the interoperability directive on rail transport in the REGI committee and drafted a very “consistent opinion” which included 50 amendments later adopted by vote and included in the transport report. The EPP deputy was nominated due to her positive contribution, and it was agreed that “her opinion significantly contributed to reinforce the railway connection” and her work had aided the development of a trans-European network, through the removal of the current “technical and administrative burden”.

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Research and innovation continues to contribute significantly to developing European Industry and promoting higher standards in innovation across all manufacturing and production sectors. This award looks to recognise the work of an individual who has made an influential contribution in the area of research and innovation policy.

Christian Ehler – EPP, Germany

Born in Munich in 1963, Christian Ehler has been an MEP for nine years. In that time he has promoted the Brandenburg region, where he formerly sat in the regional parliament, as a business and innovation hub, pushing for the formation of networks that provide an economic boost. Parliament's rapporteur for the rules for participation and dissemination on Horizon 2020, Ehler has been nominated for his "crucial role" in the negotiations on the EU's €72bn 2014-2020 research and innovation programme. Recognised for his work in representing key research stakeholders, including "universities, research and technology organisations and SMEs", the German deputy is chair of parliament's EPP working group on research. A former managing director of Biotech GmbH, Ehler has experience in innovative industries and also been praised for fighting in parliament for a "fairer" research programme that is to "the full benefit of Europe and its citizens".

Marian Jean Marinescu – EPP, Romania

Born in 1952 in the city of Râmnicu Vâlcea in his native Romania, Marian-Jean Marinescu studied at the faculty of aircraft design in the Polytechnic university of Bucharest. The EPP deputy began his career as an engineer before moving into politics in 1992 when he became a member of Craiova city council. Formerly a Romanian member of parliament, Marinescu joined the European parliament in 2007 as one of his country's first MEPs. Nominated for his work on European satellite navigation systems: implementation and exploitation 2014-2020, Marinescu has been praised for his work in "making provisions for a broad societal uptake and exploitation of the system". His work in "laying the foundations" for possible investment in the development of satellite-based applications was also highlighted, as well as his ability in securing support from across the political spectrum.

Vicky Ford – ECR, UK

A former banker and businesswoman turned politician and campaigner, Vicky Ford was born and grew up in Omagh in Northern Ireland and has been an MEP since 2009. As parliament's ECR group spokesperson on the industry, research and energy committee, she has campaigned tirelessly for enhanced EU investment in innovation, where she has utilised her knowledge of the business world to push for more efficient use of European funding. Nominated for her "assiduous" work in helping to steer the Horizon 2020 programme through the legislative process, her "scrutiny and advocacy" have been underlined as playing a crucial part in simplifying the rules of participation while ensuring enhanced funding. Drawing particular praise for her "intensive and diligent" endeavours in tackling the issues surrounding the Horizon 2020 programme, Ford has been noted for her recognition of innovation's key role in "delivering sustainable economic growth".


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With 90% of time spent indoors for the average European, our built environment plays a crucial role in our daily lives. As we take on energy and resource efficiency challenges, solutions can be found in our communities, buildings, infrastructures and landscapes. The winner of this award has embraced the complex world of construction and contributed meaningfully to policy affecting its sustainability.

Heide Ruhle – Greens/EFA, Germany

Recognised for her key role in a number of important parliament dossiers, Heide Rühle has been an MEP since 1999. Born in the city of Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg, Rühle studied psychology at Tübingen university before entering politics in 1987 as chair of the Greens in Baden-Württemberg. The Greens/EFA deputy, who is not standing in the next European elections, has devoted a large portion of her time to the internal market and consumer protection. Nominated for her sterling work as her political group's shadow rapporteur on the construction product regulation, Rühle has also been admired for her accomplishments "on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, on the improvement of the European standardisation system, on product safety requirements and market surveillance rules". This committed environmentalist has also been nominated for her work as rapporteur on the modernisation of public procurement package.

Catherine Stihler – S&D, UK

First elected to the European parliament in 1999, Catherine Stihler has been nominated for her work in bringing together all relevant experts and stakeholders when she assumed responsibility for the construction products regulation (CPR). Stihler maintained her support in the field of construction in the build up to the CPR entering into force in July 2013. Born in Bellshill in 1973, Stihler attended St Andrews university where she was awarded a Master's in geography and international relations and sat as president of the institution's students association. Stihler has also helped on several important reports – including the EU Life programme, Horizon 2020 – and has been an active member of parliament's internal market and consumer protection committee. Praised as a steady hand who can steer "very technical and legal" dossiers through the legislative process, the S&D deputy is also recognised for her tireless work throughout her parliamentary career.

Jan Olbrycht – EPP, Poland

As president of the European parliament's urban intergroup, Jan Olbrycht has been a champion of towns and cities as "engines driving national and regional economics". Born in Rybnik, Poland, in 1952, the Polish MEP has been deeply involved in urban and regional politics throughout his career, including a stint as mayor of Cieszyn. Olbrycht has been nominated for his "horizontal approach to urban development" and his inclusive approach, bringing together more than 70 MEPs from across the member states and around 100 partners from the local, national, regional and European level. Olbrycht's work has seen him tackle number of issues, including the European innovation partnership in smart cities and the European regional development fund projects on affordable housing and energy efficiency. A previous MEP awards winner in the regional development category, Olbrycht is a committed campaigner, a natural conciliator and network builder, and one of parliament's hardest working deputies.

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Transport has continued to promote commerce in Europe and is a key component of achieving a functional and efficient single market. This award looks to recognise the work of an individual who has made an influential contribution in the area of transport policy.

Jim Higgins – EPP, Ireland

Jim Higgins, born in May 1945 in county Mayo, Ireland has been nominated, in particular, for his own initiative report on ‘a strategy for an electronic toll service and a vignette system on light private vehicles in Europe’, which was adopted by the European parliament in June 2013. The Irish deputy is commended for working continuously to improve Europe’s transport sector as a whole, while being described as having an “EU-wide outlook” combined with “pragmatism” and an “in-depth understanding of the economic realities” faced by the transport sector. He was educated at St. Jarlath's college, Tuam and at university college Galway. The EPP politician is a former member of the Council of Europe, and was elected to the European parliament in 2004.

Brian Simpson – S&D, UK

Brian Simpson, born in February 1953 in Lancashire, was first elected to the European parliament in June 1989 and is presently the chair of the parliament's transport and tourism committee. The UK deputy was the spokesperson on transport parliament's S&D group, before being made committee chair in 2009. He had been described as an “excellent chair” working to ensure that rail transport, in particular, plays its part in transport across member states. Specifically in the committee’s approval of the fourth railway package which aims to lift market entry barriers in order to improve passenger services. The S&D member is a previous winner of this category having, in 2010 and 2012, been selected as the MEP of the year for transport.

Peter van Dalen – ECR, Netherlands

Peter van Dalen was born 1958 in Zwijndrecht, Holland. The Dutch politician is former civil servant and was elected to the European parliament in 2009. Van Dalen was educated at Develstein college in Zwijndrecht, and later studied history and international relations at Utrecht university. The ECR deputy is a vice chair of the transport and tourism committee and has been described as having “an ear for the interest of European seafarers, shipmasters or captains” in particular. The Dutch MEP was shadow rapporteur on the transport committee’s report entitled ‘blue growth, enhancing sustainable growth in the EU’s marine, maritime transport and tourism sectors’ which was adopted in July 2013.

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