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Europeans of the Year 2010

The EVawards will honour the 'Europeans of the Year 2010' in the following categories

  • National politician of the Year
  • Commissioner of the Year
  • Member of the European Parliament of the Year
  • EU official of the Year
  • Inspiration of the Year


Voting is now closed. We would like to thank our readers for casting so many votes.

The results of the public vote will be announced at a gala dinner on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 at the Palais de la Bourse in Brussels.

Photos will be available on this site on Wednesday, 1 December.


This year's nominees:

National Politician of the Year:

Andrus Ansip, Estonia's prime minister.
Despite the economic difficulties, Ansip's government brought Estonia to the point that it could join the eurozone and will do so on 1 January. At a time when the credibility of the eurozone had been called into question, Estonia's application to join was important.

Anders Borg, Sweden's finance minister.
Borg's influence in the Council of Finance Ministers has grown. Sweden decided to contribute to the European Financial Stability Facility, despite being outside the single currency; it has pioneered a model for dealing with failing banks and has extended support to banks of the Baltic countries.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the UK's prime minister and deputy prime minister.
The decision by the leaders of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties to form a coalition government freed Cameron from his Eurosceptic rightwing and put the UK in step with the norm in Europe.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Germany's defence minister.
Guttenberg is modernising Germany's military and is modernising attitudes to the military. He described Germany's presence in Afghanistan as a war, which confronted national sensibilities, and suspended conscription in a bid to professionalise the military.

George Papaconstantinou, Greece's finance minister.
Papaconstantinou has won the respect of his fellow finance ministers and of the markets as he battles with Greece's sovereign-debt problems. Without him, the plight of Greece, and of the eurozone, would have been worse than it was.

Commissioner of the Year:

Kristalina Georgieva, co-operation, humanitarian aid and crisis response.
Last to be nominated as European commissioner, Georgieva has outperformed many of her fellow commissioners. She has mastered her dossier and proved authoritative and competent. Her humanitarian aid office has had to respond to disasters in Haiti and Pakistan.

Siim Kallas, transport. 
The Spanish government, which chaired the Council of Ministers at the time, was slow to respond when air traffic in northern Europe was grounded by a cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland. Kallas stepped in to co-ordinate the response of national transport ministries and air traffic controllers.

Cecilia Malmström, home affairs.
When the Parliament voted down temporary arrangements allowing the US authorities to see bank-transfer data, it fell to Malmström to put in place a workable replacement. She navigated between the imperative for good relations with the United States and demands for data protection.

Viviane Reding, justice and fundamental rights.
Her outspoken attack on France's treatment of Roma provoked a fierce backlash, but Reding made the plight of the Roma an issue that the European Council could no longer ignore.

Member of the European Parliament of the Year:

Jean-Paul Gauzès, French centre-right.
Gauzès drafted the Parliament's response to the proposal to regulate hedge funds, the alternative investment fund managers directive. He has improved what was initially a poor draft and hammered out a common Parliament position on a controversial issue.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, Dutch Liberal.
Before she left to join the Dutch national parliament, Hennis-Plasschaert was the MEP taking the lead on the SWIFT dossier about the use of data on bank transfers. Her report, critical of the lack of safeguards for EU citizens, led the Parliament to use the powers given by the Lisbon treaty and vote down the temporary arrangements between the EU and the US.

Eva Joly, French Green.
A newcomer to the Parliament, the Norwegian-born Joly led the Parliament to victory over the member states and Commission. She chairs the Parliament's development committee and presided over the hearing for Rumiana Jeleva, Bulgaria's nominee for European commissioner. MEPs refused to accept the candidacy of Jeleva and Barroso was forced to ask Bulgaria for another candidate.

Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian Liberal.
Under his leadership, the Liberal (ALDE) group in the European Parliament is punching above its numerical weight. Verhofstadt has been influential on a number of inter-institutional questions – the reappointment of the Commission president, the agreement between Barroso and the Parliament and the EU's diplomatic service – and helped the Liberals secure important portfolios in the new Commission.

EU Official of the Year:

Poul Skytte Christoffersen, adviser to Catherine Ashton.
The construction of the European External Action Service was going badly until Christoffersen was brought on board. He had reserves of experience and trust that Ashton, the foreign policy chief, badly needed. The negotiations took a turn for the better soon afterwards.

Jean-Claude Piris, head of the legal service of the Council of Ministers.
Piris retires at the end of this year, during which he has made two notable contributions. One was his book explaining the Lisbon treaty; the other was his advice at the height of the sovereign-debt crisis on what was and was not legally possible.

Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank.
The meeting of EU finance ministers of 9 May that created a eurozone emergency loan vehicle – and bought some time for the eurozone governments – was accompanied by a change of policy by the European Central Bank. But Trichet has preserved the ECB's reputation for independence, even though it has been under great political pressure.

Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council.
The role of Council president was for Van Rompuy to define. He has increased the importance of the European Council (and the frequency of meetings), established a taskforce on economic governance (which he chairs) and not seriously put a foot wrong.

Maarten Verwey, director of international co-operation, Dutch finance ministry.
Verwey is credited with helping the EU's finance ministers achieve their breakthrough on the night of 9-10 May to protect the eurozone. He came up with the proposal that became the European Financial Stability Facility, which met the German objections to a Commission-led loan.

Inspiration of the year

Herta Müller, Nobel laureate.
Müller has confronted both Germans and Romanians with her merciless depiction of fascism among her own ethnic German community in Romania, and Communism under Ceausescu. She has used the Nobel prize for literature as a platform to continue her fight for human dignity.

Bertrand Piccard, leader of the Solar Impulse project.
In July, Solar Impulse achieved the first-ever night flight by a solar-powered plane. It was also the longest and highest flight in the history of solar-powered aviation. Piccard's aim is to fly around the earth in a solar airplane “to promote the immense potential of renewable energies and their new technologies”.

Spain's national football team, winners of the World Cup.
For four weeks in the summer, the EU's eyes were diverted to football's World Cup tournament being held in South Africa. In its closing stages, the contest was dominated by European teams. Although the final was not the best advertisement for the game of football, Spain triumphed.

The bond market.
The bond market was ignored by many for a long time – arguably the first decade of the eurozone – but in 2010 it forced the EU to confront flaws in the eurozone's construction. It has exerted influence over the eurozone in a way that the EU's finance ministers and the stability and growth pact had previously failed to do.

Aurélie Valtat, website editor, Eurocontrol.
When a volcanic ash cloud was ruining the travel plans of many Europeans, they turned in growing numbers to Valtat for information and advice. Part of Eurocontrol's press team, she made Eurocontrol into an information hub, providing a striking example of how the instruments of new media, particularly Twitter, could be mobilised to beneficial effect.

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