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Liberal lawmakers take the lead at this year's MEP Awards

Dita Charanzová, a prominent Czech lawmaker, was among the winners of this year's MEP Awards.
Dita Charanzová, a prominent Czech lawmaker, was among the winners of this year's MEP Awards. Copyright European Union, 2023.
Copyright European Union, 2023.
By Euronews
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Lawmakers from Renew Europe, the European Parliament's third-largest group, snatched four prizes at the 2023 MEP Awards.

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The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) and the European People's Party (EPP) tied for second place, with three accolades each, while the Greens brought home two.

The MEP Awards is an annual ceremony that honours lawmakers for their legislative and political work in the European Parliament.

The prizes, chosen by a nine-member jury, were handed out at a gala hosted by Hungarian lawmaker Katalin Cseh on Tuesday evening.

Among this year's winners was Dita Charanzová, a high-profile Czech legislator who serves as one of the parliament's vice-presidents and received the "Digital Strategy and the Single Market" award.

Since entering office in 2014, Charanzová has worked extensively on a wide array of digital topics, such as social media, artificial intelligence, health data, the audiovisual sector and fundamental rights in the online world.

"Truly honoured to win the 2023 MEP award for my work to strengthen the internal market. A tribute not only to me, but also my staff. Thank you all so much," Charanzová said on social media.

Her fellow liberal colleague, Barry Andrews, from Ireland, was given the "Defence, Security and Space" award, a prize of special significance at a time of war in Europe. 

Andrews, who sits on the committees of development (DEVE) and international trade (INTA), could not attend the ceremony in Brussels and delivered his remark remotely.

"It is nice to see work recognised in an area that I have dedicated a lot of time to," Andrews tweeted, adding a link to his paper about Irish neutrality.

The other award-winning liberals were Nils Torvalds, from Finland, in the field of environment and climate action; and Vlad Gheorghe, from Romania, who shared the award for "Promoting European Values" with Evin Incir, a Swedish socialist.

The S&D group, which is still reeling from the aftermath of the corruption scandal that has engulfed four of its former members, was also represented by Spain's Clara Aguilera and Poland's Robert Biedroń. 

Aguilera won the "Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries" award while Biedroń, a vocal defender of women's and LGBTQ+ rights, took home the trophy for "Diversity, Inclusion and Social Impact."

"It is an honor, but above all, motivation to keep going!" Biedroń said.

For its part, the EPP triumphed in the health category thanks to Greece's Stelios Kympouropoulos and secured the Youth Champion award for Portugal's Lídia Pereira.

"For a long time I have been advocating to bring young people to the heart of decision-making! Let’s keep pushing for it!" the 31-year-old Coimbra native said in reaction.

Kai Zenner, chef de cabinet of Axel Voss, a long-serving lawmaker from the EPP group, was recognised as the year's best assistant.

The Greens prevailed in two fields in which they are deeply involved: energy, science and research, which went to Ireland's Ciarán Cuffe; and infrastructure, transport and mobility, bestowed upon France's Karima Delli.

"My fight continues: the climate, the inclusion of the working classes, women and future mobility," Delli said, celebrating the recognition.

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Following a long-standing unwritten rule, far-right parties were excluded from the list of winners.

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