23 projects from the EU and the UK have received the award for their outstanding contribution to fighting COVID-19 and its disastrous consequences.
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) announced the laureates of its Civil Solidarity Prize, launched in 2020 as a one-off award with the theme “Civil Society against COVID-19”.
In a virtual award ceremony held on 15 February, the EESC honoured 23 civil society organisations, individuals and private companies whose projects have excelled as examples of remarkable solidarity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each winner received a prize worth EUR 10 000.
Handing out the prizes, the EESC’s vice-president for communication, Cillian Lohan, said:
“The EESC has repeatedly stressed that solidarity and targeted shared action are key to surviving such a pandemic. The only effective response to a crisis such as this pandemic is to act quickly, decisively, and together. There are lessons here for dealing with other crises whether they are social, economic or environmental.
Civil society has been at the forefront of all solidarity actions and without their help on the ground, the price paid for this pandemic would be much higher. All the projects we received are proof of selfless citizen and grassroots engagement, showing the contribution of civil society in this fight to be enormous. With this prize, we are acknowledging the people and organisations making a difference in these unprecedented times. It is an honour to be able to celebrate together”.
The awards went to the winning entries from 21 countries of the European Union. One prize was given to a project with a cross-border focus and one to an organisation from the United Kingdom, as a gesture meant to show that the EESC wanted to keep close ties with UK civil society despite the fact that the country has left the EU.
Although the EESC aimed to find a winner in each EU Member State and in the UK, it received no eligible entries for projects in six countries.
The full list of the winners is available below and on our webpage.
The winners were selected from a total of 250 applications submitted by civil society organisations, individuals and private companies. All of the projects had solidarity as their driving force and displayed creative and effective ways of rising to the often daunting challenges posed by the crisis.
Most projects targeted vulnerable groups or people most affected by the crisis such as the elderly or young people, children, women, minorities, migrants, the homeless, medical personnel or employees and employers.
As regards the content of the projects, they focused on five main themes: food supply and assistance to vulnerable groups, medical equipment, advisory services, educational services and information on the pandemic, and culture.
Detailed information about all of the winners and other candidates can be found in our brochure, which is available upon request.
The EESC hopes the Civil Solidarity Prize will enhance the visibility and raise awareness not only of the winning projects but also of many other creative citizens’ initiatives taking place in the EU.
“Today, we are not applauding only our 23 winners. We are taking our hats off to all of Europe’s civil society and to so many of its organisations, companies and individuals who have shown and who keep showing unprecedented solidarity, courage and civic responsibility in these difficult and trying times”, Mr Lohan said.
The projects and initiatives run by citizens and civil society in many ways complemented efforts undertaken by Member States to cushion the blows of the crisis and were even ahead of them in some areas, such as the production of face masks at local and regional level, the EESC said.
Compared to the entries received for the Civil Society Prize in previous years, the EESC saw an increased number of applications from informal or less well-established organisations, which clearly demonstrates the spirit on the ground. There were also fewer entries from some countries that were less severely hit during the first wave of the pandemic or from those with stronger welfare systems.
Source: The EESC reveals the winners of its Civil Solidarity Prize | European Economic and Social Committee (europa.eu)
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