The Economia Circle has decided to grant II Cercle d’Economia award for European construction to the president of the European Comission, Ursula von der Leyen. The jury is chaired by Teresa Garcia-Milà, member of the board of directors, and part of the jury is Javier Faus, president of the Cercle d’Economia; Núria Mas and José González Páramo, members of the board of directors; Pol Morillas, director of CIDOB; Xavier Prats Monné, General Director of Health and Food Safety at the European Commission between 2015 and 2018; Nathalie Tocci, director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali and expert in International Relations; and Mercè Franquesa, general secretary of the Cercle d’Economia and secretary of the European Construction Award.
The current presidency of the European Commission began in December 2019, a few months before the declaration of the pandemic caused by covid-19. During this period, President von der Leyen “has led the coordinated action with all member states contributing to the strength and construction of Europe”, according to the jury.
With this award, we want to value the initiatives promoted by the European Union (EU) to face the pandemic and its consequences. First, the launch of the funds Next Generation EU, an ambitious program to support the recovery and resilience of the EU countries in the face of the crisis caused by the pandemic, financed with the issuance of joint debt.
This program breaks with a double barrier in the traditional policies of the Union; on the one hand, for the solidarity contribution of transfers to the countries most affected by the crisis; and on the other, for its financing through the issuance of debt with the guarantee of the Commission’s own budget. This is how Teresa Garcia-Milà, the president of the jury, highlights it.
The second initiative has been to develop a series of health proposals, including an EU strategy for vaccination against covid-19, in order to accelerate the development, manufacture and distribution of vaccines. An important action within this strategy has been the joint purchase of vaccines to guarantee uniform access and a single price for all Member States. With this, a crucial advance has been achieved in the coordination and control of the pandemic.
According to Faus, the award “seeks to recognize the trajectory of those people who, due to their political leadership or presence in European institutions, have contributed to the construction and integration of Europe, to its culture, to its strength, and to the presence of the Union in the world”. This year marks the second edition of this award dedicated to recognizing the careers of those people who have contributed to the construction of the EU.
During the 2021 Cercle d’Economia Meeting, Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government, and Javier Faus, president of the Cercle d’Economia, presented the first award to Mario DraghiPresident of the Council of Ministers of Italy. At the time of the award resolution, Draghi held the presidency of the European Central Bank (ECB) and agreed to collect the award during the Cercle d’Economia Meeting scheduled for the end of May 2020. The outbreak of the pandemic led to the postponement of this delivery and was delayed until last June.