Revealed: The 50 Europeans of the Year

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Series Details Vol.7, No.40, 1.11.01, p1
Publication Date 31/10/2001
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Date: 31/10/01

By Craig Winneker and Martin Banks

What do Silvio Berlusconi, Louis Michel, Bono, George Bush and the 'Metric Martyr' all have in common?

They are all members of the EV50, a new European Voice annual listing of the people who have had the biggest impact on the EU.

Among those selected by a distinguished international panel of European experts and journalists are five Commissioners, seven MEPs, five heads of European governments, three business executives and a footballer.

The 50 'Europeans of the Year' are also in the running for ten special awards to be chosen by European Voice readers and given out at a gala dinner on 4 December at the Palais d'Egmont in Brussels.

These include the Commissioner of the Year, Campaigner of the Year and European of the Year. Balloting for the awards will take place over the next two weeks via the website.

The 50 nominees will be featured in a glossy magazine published by European Voice in early December, called Presenting the EV50. The publication will consist of short profiles and specially commissioned photographs of of the EV50 members. The magazine will also include the reasons for why each nominee was chosen, as well as a foreword written by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency. "This is an exciting new project for us," said European Voice publisher Dennis Landsbert-Noon. "EV has been the newspaper of record for the EU since 1995. As such we are uniquely positioned to compile this list every year and to present these new awards."

Most of the nominees reacted with surprise and appreciation upon being told they were among the Europeans of the year. "It is an honour and encourages me to pursue my mission towards peace in the Middle East on behalf of the European Union and the European people," said Miguel Ángel Moratinos, the EU's special envoy to the Middle East. Another nominee, Beate Lindemann of the Berlin-based organisation Atlantik-Brücke, which fosters dialogue between Europe and North America, said she was "sincerely touched by such a gesture of recognition".

The list is almost as notable for its omissions as it is for those included. Among those not chosen, for example, is Commission President Romano Prodi. "His absence is rather astonishing, particularly as I believe he has had an enormous influence on this organisation's work," said Commission spokesman Jonathan Faull, himself an EV50 nominee.

Of his own selection, Faull said modestly: "It is nice, of course, but I have an important job and I just try to do it to the best of my ability." But Giles Merritt, secretary-general of Friends of Europe and a member of the panel of experts that helped compile the list, said Prodi's absence from it "must send something of an alarm signal to him and, perhaps, reflects the way in which he is perceived to have done his job".

Another nominee, Tony Bunyan, editor of Statewatch, which monitors civil liberties in the EU, said: "It's nice to be in the 50 - I just hope I don't come 49th!" Bunyan added that he was surprised at the inclusion of President Bush on the list. "To be honest, I fail to see what part he has played in the advancement of Europe," he said.

Launch of the EV50, a new European Voice annual listing of the people who have had the biggest impact on the EU.

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