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The 20th edition of the annual MEP awards celebrated the outstanding contributions of seven Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to EU policymaking. Brando Benifei and Dragoş Tudorache were jointly awarded MEP of the mandate for their work on the groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence Act. Othmar Karas received the lifetime achievement award for his expertise in financial regulation after serving as an MEP for 25 years. Former European Commission President Jacques Delors was posthumously recognized with a special award. Dragoș Pîslaru won the Youth Champion award for his work on the One Europe, One Youth initiative. Additionally, 20 rising stars in EU politics were also recognized, including Katalin Cseh and Nathalie Loiseau.

The winners were selected from a shortlist of public nominees by a panel of judges representing various sectors. The MEP awards come just three months before voters head to the polls in the EU’s 27 member states to elect new representatives to the European Parliament. The awards are based on the work of lawmakers during the current five-year mandate, which began in 2019. The ceremony also recognized MEP Abir Al-Sahlani for delivering the best speech by cutting off her hair in solidarity with Mahsa Amini, a victim of Iran’s strict dress code. MEPs Evin Incir and Frances Fitzgerald were named champions of ‘European values’ for their work on an EU Directive to combat violence against women.

Incir and Fitzgerald were lead negotiators on the EU Directive that criminalizes forms of violence against women, including forced marriage and female genital mutilation. While they were unable to include rape as an EU-wide crime due to opposition from certain member states, the new laws aim to protect women from all forms of violence, including cyber violence and AI-generated porn images. Jacques Delors, a prominent figure in the history of the EU institutions, was posthumously recognized at the ceremony for his contribution to European integration, particularly in the areas of the EU currency and single market. Enrico Letta accepted the award on behalf of the Jacques Delors Foundation.

Other individuals recognized at the ceremony included Katarzyna Biniaszczyk, who received the award for parliamentary assistant of the mandate, and Raffaella De Marte, who won the award for outstanding contribution to the work of the parliament as the head of the media services unit. The MEP awards highlight the important work and dedication of European lawmakers in shaping EU policies and legislation. The event serves as a platform to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of MEPs who have made significant contributions to the European Parliament during their mandate. The awards also recognize emerging leaders in EU politics and aim to inspire future generations of lawmakers to continue working towards a more united and prosperous European Union.

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