The Agriculture, Rural Development & Fisheries Award
Angélique Delahaye MEP
Angélique Delahaye has been an MEP since 2014 and has earned a reputation as a staunch defender of farmers’ interests, through, for example, her own-initiative report on price volatility, the labelling of Spirits’ Geographical Indications and on protecting agriculturally sensitive products in trade agreements.
She has also made a name for herself through her fight to prevent food waste.
As Parliament's EPP group shadow rapporteur on the dossier, Delahaye worked on making it mandatory for supermarkets to donate unsold food to charity.
As a farmer herself - she cultivates endives in Saint-Martin-le-Beau in central France - she was severely impacted by the 2011 E. coli crisis. Along with many other farmers in Europe, she had to throw away a huge amount of produce that may have been contaminated. She vowed there would be no repeat of this event, in 2013 becoming Chairwoman of SOLAAL, the Solidarité des producteurs agricoles et agro alimentaires, an organisation that helps connect farmers, food cooperatives and agri-food industries with relevant charities.
The Development Award
Doru-Claudian Frunzulică MEP
Doru-Claudian Frunzulică has been an active member of Parliament’s DEVE committee since his election in 2014. A former diplomat, he advocates developing value implementation in both external and internal EU policies.
Among a number of Frunzulică’s reports and opinions, a recent notable achievement was his role as rapporteur on the European Fund for Sustainable Development Regulation in addressing the root causes of the migration crisis.
Dedicated to achieving the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals, he has been instrumental in advancing European development policy and regulations for eradicating poverty, combating inequalities and fighting injustice.
As a strong defender of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, Frunzulică prefers to assess the situation on the ground in partner countries in person wherever possible to ensure that programmes supported through the EU’s instruments in these areas are working well.
Considering how poverty and terrorism present interlinked threats to today’s European security, his DEVE work can be seen as being complementary to his activity in the recently created Special Committee on Terrorism.
The Digital Single Market Award
Reinhard Bütikofer MEP
Reinhard Bütikofer has been an MEP since 2009.
As a member of Parliament’s ITRE committee, he was recently rapporteur on the own initiative report on Digitising European Industry, which cleared plenary with a substantial cross-party majority late last year, he authored ITRE’s opinion on Parliament’s report on Towards a Digital Trade Strategy. During the German government formation negotiations in late 2017, he helped draft an ambitious digitising policy for Germany.
Bütikofer is an advocate of a shared European vision for the Digital Single Market, including implementing the right framework conditions, developing new key technologies with a specific European emphasis on cybersecurity and strong social resilience by focusing on skills, education and social innovation.
Digitisation, he believes, is a transformative challenge. For European industry to bolster competitiveness, it will be essential to combine innovation with the pursuit of sustainability. He warns that the EU’s industrial leadership in this field should not be taken for granted, however he believes Europe has all the assets it needs to be a global leader.
The Economic & Monetary Affairs, Taxation & Budgets Award
Jan Olbrycht MEP
Jan Olbrycht was first elected as an MEP in 2004, when Poland joined the EU.
In the current legislative term, he has concentrated primarily on his work in European Parliament’s BUDG committee as vice-coordinator of the EPP group and as the standing rapporteur for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). In this role, he negotiated the revision of the current MFF (2014-2020) on behalf of the Parliament and he has worked on its position on the recently presented new multiannual framework.
Since first entering Parliament, Olbrycht has been also involved in the REGI committee. He was rapporteur on the reports on the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation and the European Regional Development Fund regulations.
Regional policy remains a key focus and he is dedicated to the urban dimension of different EU policies, which is why he established and presides over the Parliament’s URBAN Intergroup.
The Education, Culture & Media Award
Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP
Ilhan Kyuchyuk is the youngest MEP in the ALDE Group.
He is one of one of the leading members of Parliament’s CULT Committee on youth policies, social inclusion for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and promoting youth entrepreneurship through education and training.
As chair of Bulgaria’s largest youth movement, he has worked closely with numerous international youth organisations and contributed significantly to the report on a new skills agenda for Europe.
Kyuchyuk believes he has managed to reflect his belief that investing now in developing skills, encouraging and supporting community participation and building the confidence and resilience of young people will deliver a lasting effect on the EU’s future shape, development and competitiveness.
Through his experience and activity on social inclusion and labour market integration for refugees, he is a strong advocate of greater efforts in recognising the competences and qualifications of refugees.
The Employment, Social Affairs & Regions Award
Brando Benifei MEP
Brando Benifei is one of the Parliament’s youngest and most active MEPs and this year marks his third consecutive nomination to the MEP Awards short list.
His main legislative areas are in employment and social affairs, foreign policy and defence. He is co-chair of the Parliament’s Youth Intergroup and vice-chair of its Disability Intergroup. He has been responsible for key reports on youth employment, including the Youth Guarantee and on the integrating refugees into the labour market.
As EMPL rapporteur, he recently successfully concluded the work on the European Solidarity Corps, a European Commission flagship initiative, soon to be discussed in trilogue. A true technology ‘geek’, he has been designated eSkills4Jobs ambassador by the Commission and is currently a StartUp Europe Awards ambassador.
Benifei is a passionate pro-European, and earlier this year was appointed as a board member of the Spinelli Group. He was also recently elected vice-president of the European Movement International.
The Energy Award
Morten Helveg Petersen MEP
Morten Helveg Petersen has been an MEP since 2014 and serves as a vice-chair on the Parliament’s ITRE committee.
He has played an active role on the Energy Union, currently as rapporteur for the ACER file and shadow rapporteur on the gas directive.
As well as his work on different legislative files, in 2015 Petersen established the ‘Energy Solutions Network’. This aimed to bring together MEPs from across the Parliament’s political spectrum with a broad representation of different stakeholders, ensuring a more holistic approach to the challenges of realising the Energy Union.
He holds a degree in Economics from the University of Copenhagen.
Petersen was a member of the Danish Parliament for the Social Liberal Party for 11 years. In 2009, he left politics and became CEO of Foreningen af Danske Interaktive Medier subsequently becoming vice-CEO of Danske Medier.
The Environment Award
Nils Torvalds MEP
Nils Torvalds has been an MEP since 2012 and last year became vice-chair of the Parliament’s Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group.
Politics, reading and writing have always been important parts of Torvalds’ life, through his years as a journalist and correspondent and now in the European Parliament.
An exceptionally active member of Parliament’s ENVI committee, Torvalds is currently shadow rapporteur on the renewable energy file, on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry, on the circular economy package and on monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.
Torvalds’ work on sustainable forest management has been widely acknowledged, always emphasising the key role of the forest when moving towards a fossil-free EU.
The Health Award
Soledad Cabezón Ruiz MEP
Soledad Cabezón is one of the ENVI Committee’s most active and enthusiastic MEPs. Since her election to the Parliament in 2014, she has been heavily committed to helping and improving the treatment of people affected by Hepatitis C.
She pushed for an own-initiative report on improving Access to Medicines, of which she was rapporteur. In addition, she is also closely involved - as both a politician and a cardiologist - with the victims of thalidomide. In the 50 years since the greatest health scandal in Europe, her efforts to encourage the EU to better recognise thalidomide victims are well documented.
She is also a fierce defender of European health systems as a key basis of the EU’s social pillar. Working on R&D is also a current priority for her, where she is calling to reinforce health research.
Cabezón currently co-chairs the Parliament’s cross-party Health Intergroup and is involved in the committee’s opinion on AMR.
The Industry, Research & Innovation Award
Franc Bogovič MEP
Over the last year, Franc Bogovič has hosted or participated in a number of conferences focusing on the circular economy potential of new technologies, primarily in the agriculture sector.
He also hosted, with cooperation from the European biotech industry association EuropaBio and the EU-backed BBI-JU public-private partnership, a 'European Biotech Week' exhibition in the Parliament. This aimed at educating the public on new plant-breeding techniques and highlighting the potential of reusing biomaterials.
Along with fellow AGRI Committee MEP Tibor Szanyi, he was also successful in acquiring €3.3m of EU funding for a Preparatory Action “Smart rural areas in the 21st Century”, aimed at implementing successful practices, ICT and online processes, such as digital hubs. This ‘Smart Villages’ idea is, he says, closely linked to the Digital Single Market, digital platforms, urban-rural links, the sharing and collaborative economy, rural mobility and the bioeconomy and looks to improve quality of life, education and employment.
The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Award
Marlene Mizzi MEP
Marlene Mizzi has worked as a rapporteur and shadow-rapporteur on a number of Digital Single Market dossiers covering issues including roaming charges, net neutrality, European Standards, European Electronic Communication Code and the Single Digital Gateway.
As lead IMCO committee rapporteur on the European Standards of the 21st Century report, she highlighted the importance of ICT standardisation as a crucial element in the EU’s Digital Single Market and stressed the importance of creating the right environment and greater opportunities for consumers, SMEs and micro-enterprises.
As the Parliament’s S&D group spokesperson on the telecom sector in both the IMCO and CULT committees, Mizzi has called for existing rules to be improved for the benefit of consumers and citizens, such as providing affordable and accessible internet as a universal right to all.
As rapporteur on the Single Digital Gateway, she has sought to provide citizens, SMEs and start-ups with a single access point to quality information and procedures across the EU’s different Member States.
The International Trade Award
Laima Liucija Andrikienė MEP
An acknowledged expert in international trade and investment, veteran MEP Laima Andrikienė was elected to Parliament in 2004. This followed a career in Lithuanian politics, where she served as a trade and industry minister and as the country’s European Affairs minister.
During the current parliamentary term, she has focused on the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy, with a special focus on Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. Her recent initiative on providing Eastern Partnership countries with association agreements and Free Trade Areas with the EU will allow them the opportunity to join the Customs and Energy Unions in the future, a move that has been strongly supported by Parliament.
She has also dedicated much of her time to EU-Belarus cooperation in efforts to combat illicit trade. Andrikienė has also been outspoken regarding China’s controversial ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy and the associated challenges.
Recently, she was appointed as EPP group rapporteur on the SEDE subcommittee Opinion for establishing a framework for screening foreign direct investments into the EU.
The Transport & Tourism Award
Peter Kouroumbashev MEP
Peter Kouroumbashev has used the arsenal of powers the EU treaties confer on MEPs to leverage the potential of the transport sector in transitioning towards clean energy by promoting mobility and hydrogen mobility.
Although an MEP for only a little over a year, Kouroumbashev has nonetheless managed to include an emphasis on transport in several reports while advocating for financing innovation aimed at developing infrastructure, including plug-in and storage solutions for hydrogen and electric vehicles.
He has also spearheaded empowerment of local authorities, tax reductions and tax exemptions for electric and hydrogen vehicle owners as well as initiatives promoting electric vehicles such as price reductions, bonus payments, premiums for buyers and free parking spaces.
Kouroumbashev says he supports the development of further clean transport initiatives such as the Europe-wide electromobility initiative and the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking.
The New Technologies Award
Eva Kaili MEP
Eva Kaili is a member of Parliament's ITRE committee and chairs the delegation for relations with the NATO parliamentary assembly.
She is also Chair of Parliament's STOA science panel, which works to provide MEPs with impact assessments on new technologies as well as organising meetings with politicians and representatives of the scientific community.
Kaili studied architecture and politics, and worked as a journalist and anchor for major Greek Mega TV Channel before being elected to the Greek Parliament in 2007 as her party's youngest MP.
An MEP since 2014, Kaili is the leading voice in the Parliament on blockchain as a trust mechanism, aiming to return control of data to citizens. She is also active in assessing the challenges of artificial intelligence and new technologies.
The Women’s Rights & Gender Equality Award
Biljana Borzan MEP
Biljana Borzan has been a staunch advocate of women’s rights and gender equality. Building on her experience as a medical doctor, she has also campaigned for sexual and reproductive health and rights.
She is a strong campaigner against violence against women and girls and for ratifying the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
She is also the standing Rapporteur for EU Funds to improve Work-life Balance. Borzan is also dedicated to improving women’s rights in third countries, as well as in the EU.
She was the S&D group shadow Rapporteur on the rights of women in Eastern Partnership countries and shadow rapporteur on the FEMM committee opinion on the 2016 Annual Report on Democracy and Human Rights in the World. Borzan also pushed for the report on women’s rights in Western Balkan countries, garnering the support of her FEMM colleagues.
In addition, she also takes a keen interest in women in business and was a shadow rapporteur on the FEMM committee report on external factors presenting hurdles to European female entrepreneurship.
The Justice & Civil Liberties Award
Soraya Post MEP
Soraya Post was the first Roma person in Sweden to stand as a candidate for a political party.
She founded the International Roma Women’s network and co-founded of the European Roma and Travellers Forum.
She is S&D group coordinator on the subcommittee on Human Rights. She is also chair of the Parliament’s Anti-Racism and Diversity Intergroup and member of the Disability and LGBTI Rights Intergroups.
Post is Parliament’s rapporteur on the 2015 resolution that recognised, for the first time, anti- Romani discrimination and saw the EU recognise the Roma genocide during World War II. She is also rapporteur on the report on fundamental rights aspects in Roma integration in the EU: fighting discrimination against people. She also worked to have Parliament adopt new Rules of Procedure that strengthened hate speech sanctions.
In the LIBE committee, Post is currently co-rapporteur on the own-initiative report on the implementation of the European Protection Order and rapporteur of the Passenger Name Records with Mexico. She is also working on an own-initiative report on Conflict prevention and mediation in the AFET committee.
The Regional Development Award
Younous Omarjee MEP
Originally from the island of La Réunion, one of the French Overseas Territories, Younous Omarjee is a strong advocate of EU regional policy and its future after 2020.
He is coordinator for the GUE/NGL group in the REGI Committee and was a member of the Parliament’s negotiating team for the current cohesion policy regulation. As first Vice-President, he led in 2017 REGI delegations to the Azores and Sicily, and took part - on behalf of the committee - in formal and informal EU Ministers’ meetings on regional development.
A champion of the EU’s Outermost Regions, Islands and Peripheral Regions, Omarjee was also the rapporteur on the 2017 report on a new EU strategy for the Outermost Regions - which was outlined by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in French Guyana in October - and shadow rapporteur on all key legislative reports.
As a member of both the BUDG and CONT committees, he is also active in EU policies aiming to implement regional policy.
The Outstanding Achievement Award
Andrey Kovatchev MEP
Throughout his two mandates in the Parliament, Andrey Kovatchev has been highly engaged in both foreign affairs and healthcare issues. In this regard, 2017 has marked the culmination of his activities in these topics. For many years, he has shaped and led the improvement of Bulgarian-Macedonian relations and the recognition of Bulgarian minorities in the Western Balkans. In 2017, the landmark Treaty of Good Neighbourly Relations between Macedonia and Bulgaria was signed after 18 years of delay. Additionally, the Bulgarian minority in Albania was finally recognized after 104 years of impasse. These two bilateral breakthroughs opened way towards European integration for both Macedonia and Albania.
Concerning healthcare, Kovatchev played a pivotal role in shaping the Parliament’s report on Access to Medicines. As the EPP group rapporteur in the ENVI committee for the next Multi-annual Financial Framework, Kovatchev has fought to increase the budget for health collaboration and to expand EU engagement in the field of healthcare. He has also helped develop the Patient Access Partnership, a patient-led platform for advancing innovative solutions to reduce inequality of access to healthcare.